The New Mexico state legislature is considering a bill that would require high school students to apply to college or commit to some post-graduation plan — military enlistment, enrollment in an internship or commitment to an apprenticeship — in order to graduate from high school. The goal, according to New Mexico’s do-gooder politicians, is to encourage students who might not otherwise consider college to give it a try.
House GOP floor leader Nate Gentry of Albuquerque said House Bill 23 would most likely lead to an increase in students pursuing education following high school graduation. At 71 percent, the state has the second-worst high school graduation rate in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Gentry also acknowledged that the legislation is based on behavioral economics and would likely lead to an increase in the number of New Mexico students pursuing postsecondary education.
Behavioral economics is code word for central planning. It’s a carrot-and-stick approach governments like to use to drive public policy. Public policy is government policy.
The Journal notes this little gem: Total enrollment in New Mexico’s public higher education institutions has declined in each of the past six years – from about 155,000 students in 2010 to roughly 134,000 students last year – per state Higher Education Department data.
In other words, New Mexico has a problem, but rather than address its broken public education system, legislators want to punish high school children. It can’t even properly educate three-fourths of its school-aged population, so the proposal to fix that is to force the few it does graduate into schools to pursue degrees that most often as not have little value while enslaving them to mountains of college debt.
This is of great value to the universities and state and federal governments, which reap great rewards off the debt. But it is of little value to the students who find themselves as debt slaves from the moment they graduate. And it’s even worse if they don’t actually graduate, which in New Mexico happens more often than not.
But while the government readily hands out loans to almost anyone seeking almost any college degree, finding loans to pursue a trade is difficult, at best. And expecting 11th graders to know “what they want to do when they grow up,” and locking them into that path through a commitment to an apprenticeship is boneheaded and ill-conceived policy. Some 50 percent to 70 percent of all college students change their major at least once while in school, and many of them change it up to three times.
The only other option is for the children to offer themselves up as cannon fodder for the military-industrial complex that goes abroad seeking dragons to slay whether they pose a direct threat to the U.S. or not.
Studies show that most college degrees are worse than worthless in that they provide a negative rate of return on investment (ROI). For instance, according to an analysis by PayScale, New Mexico’s flagship university, the University of New Mexico, has a four-year cost for in-state students of $80,000, but a graduation rate of only 48 percent. It takes the typical student five years to get a degree. The average student borrows $23,000 of that tuition while 98 percent is paid for by grants. Grants, of course, are paid for by taxing New Mexico residents.
But UNM is nowhere near the bottom on ROI. PayScale lists dozens or more schools that provide degrees that pay so poorly that, when the student’s indebtedness is factored in, the ROI is -$100,000 or more. In other words, after 20 years the college student is $100,000 or more worse off than if he never attended school. More than 100 have negative ROI’s after two decades.
New Mexico’s proposed bill will do nothing to address the fact that more than one-fourth of its children who enter high school will fail to graduate. Nor will it suddenly make all of those who do manage to graduate high school candidates for college. If anything, the policy of essentially forcing students who aren’t predisposed or intellectual enough to do what is required to obtain a college degree will simply drive down the state’s college graduation rates while putting those students in greater debt than they would be had they acquired a minimum wage job on graduation.
College degrees are no longer as important as they were a couple of generations ago – especially when you consider the nature of some of the degrees offered by colleges and universities today.
But having more students pursue college degrees is of great benefit to the universities, the banksters and the government, which gets a crack of four more (or five or six) years of indoctrinating state worship.