January 25th, 2011
Econintersect: Over the past 40 years the amount of effort expended by college students has declined and the results have diminished. Recent studies have made it clear that higher education has been getting lower. As put by George Leef, the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, "It has been accurately said that college is the new high school; the way we are going, soon it will be the new middle school." See the accompanying photo of university activity (Traci White/Daily News-Record via Associated Press).
Leef said, "At many colleges and universities, students who are academically weak and disengaged are in the majority, enjoying themselves at the expense of their parents and taxpayers."
The New York Times had a Room for Debate Round Table last August discussing whether the decline in time spent in class and studying was a problem or not. Even though a study by the Delta Cost Project found that over the past 50 years attending college saw a decline in the number of hours per week put in by full-time students declined from 40 hours to 27 hours, the August Times debate had arguments on both sides of whether students were slackers.
Today (January 25, 2011) anotherRoom for Debate found all six participants agreeing that the quality of University education has declined over the the past 50 years. Of course, there are parts of the educational system where high standards have been maintained. Ask anybody currently in an engineering degree program or in a pre-med undergraduate program. But once you get out of the "hard sciences" and engineering/technology curricula, many are arguing that numerous courses of study demand little effort and produce a mediocre result.