Mike McPherson and Morty Schapiro have an essay on “Making Opportunity Real.”

The sources of unequal college opportunity in the United States run deep.

Finding effective ways to act is a matter of growing urgency and importance. There is every reason to think that success in higher education will become continually more critical for individual success in our economy and society. And a well-educated populace seems indispensable for a healthy and flourishing society in this new century, both in economic and in civic terms.

I disagree with much of this, but lack the time for a decent critique. But, quickly, at what point will the critics of US higher education be satisfied? Do 25% of people need to get college degrees? Or is it 50%? Why not 95%?

And, obviously, why stop at a BA? If “success in higher education will become continually more critical for individual success in our economy and society,” then shouldn’t 25%, or 50%, of US citizens get Master Degrees or, better yet, Ph.D.’s? Isn’t the failure of our system to produce more Ph.D.’s a sign of its fundamental unfairness?

As always, free people making their own choices, cognizant of all the benefits and costs associated with those choices, is the best answer. What evidence do M&M have that their estimate of the value of a BA is more accurate than the estimates made by the people who decide not to pursue one?

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