“While pursuing a PhD in “homicide studies” at the British taxpayers’ expense, a man with a long history of criminal violence became a serial killer, writes Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal. After Stephen Griffiths’ release from prison — and a mental hospital, in which he was diagnosed as an incurable psychopath — he was accepted by the University of Bradford; the government paid his fees and living expenses. Griffiths “killed and ate three women, two cooked and one raw, according to his own account.” He’s now serving a life sentence, giving him time to complete his doctorate on 19th-century murder practices, notes education expert Joanne Jacobs.
These true facts are so bizarre that you would expect them to be found only in absurd fiction. As Jacobs notes, “in the British series Wire in the Blood, a paroled killer enrolls in a PhD program while committing new murders. It was written in 2005, before Griffiths’ murder spree.”
While educators and the government subsidized a murderer, the U.S. Department of Education recently sent a SWAT team to the wrong house over misused student loans, handcuffing the innocent father of three young kids.
Wasteful education spending is nothing new. There’s no correlation between spending and educational outcomes in California’s schools, even adjusting for demographic factors. Is it because government is inherently wasteful? Graduates of the for-profit University of Phoenix earn more than graduates of traditional public and private universities throughout their careers, concludes the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
People are learning less and less in college even as government education spending skyrockets. Half “the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college,” according to a study cited in USA Today. “36% showed little change” even after four years. Although education spending has exploded, students “spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.” “32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.” States spend millions running colleges that are worthless diploma mills, yet manage to graduate almost no one — like Chicago State, “which has just a 12.8 percent six-year graduation rate.”
To justify saddling students with tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt, law schools deceptively claim that virtually all their graduates get jobs. But they inflate their jobs figures by treating as success stories even students who end up working in low-paying non-legal jobs like “waiting tables at Applebees,” “stocking aisles at Home Depot,” or babysitting — or in part-time temporary jobs. And they sometimes hide joblessness by “losing track” of easy-to-locate nearby graduates who are jobless. “‘Enron-type accounting standards have become the norm,’ says William Henderson of Indiana University, one of many exasperated law professors who are asking the American Bar Association to overhaul the way law schools assess themselves.” America already produces so many more liberal-arts graduates than it needs that 5,057 janitors have Ph.Ds or other advanced degrees. People who went to college due to rising college attendance rates mostly ended up in low-skilled jobs, even as their tuitions soared to pay for growing educational bureaucracies. Education spending in America — both public and private — is enormous compared to most countries.