The unfortunate commodification of higher education

The return on investment of higher education is under increased scrutiny today. This has led to a narrowed emphasis by colleges and universities on providing marketable skills that lead directly to jobs. Andrew Delbanco, in his 2012 book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, suggests a broader set of qualities for colleges, however, beyond technical and vocational competencies. At the same time, we’ve experienced increasing economic inequality and a coarsening of our political discourse in the United States, so the diminishment of a “college” education as Delbanco describes it has profound implications for democracy.