Are you getting your educational money's worth? Are you convinced that the annual cost of sending your child to college -- probably higher than your first-ever year's salary -- is in some way improving his mind and character? Well, depending on your definition of improvement, you may be right. Or incredibly wrong.
Short generations ago, sending kids to college was an easy choice. Your child either did or did not demonstrate the willingness and capability required to learn at the university level. This meant that he was prepared to hunker down to study in a serious manner in order to secure the education needed for a pre-chosen profession. If this was not the case, he got off his duff and found some other kind of work for which a degree was not needed.
If he was one of the few who did go off to college, he was expected to devote the majority of his time to his studies with perhaps some time spent on athletics or other school-related activities. But if his family was not very well financially endowed, he would work part-time to help out with the bills. And, if he was an exceptionally gifted at juggling all of this, he might enjoy some leisure time hoisting a few beers while singing the Whippenpoof Song or seeing how many of his fellows could fit into a phone booth.
Those days, as they say, are long gone. In modern America, a college degree is now almost a given, a birthright for the nearly two-thirds of all high school graduates who go on to higher education. And while many students still attend college to pursue a specific career, too many view it as an extended version of high school; living carefree lives on their parents' dollar, only with a lot less supervision and a lot more fun.
Although overshadowed by the injustice they received at the hands of political hack Mike Nifong, the unsavory exploits of the Duke Lacrosse team were pooh-poohed by many as being typical of college life. And while binge drinking on college campuses has become almost an afterthought in the past few decades, it is the explosion of sexual activity on campus that should cause the most concern for parents.
Two recent stories detail what seems to be the declared major for many students: hooking up. The first deals with a study commissioned by Trojan brand condoms to determine which schools best promote "sexual health." Given the study's sponsor, one doesn't have to be a genius, or even a college grad, to figure out what that means. One of the factors that differentiated the top-ranked schools was the availability of "free contraception including condom distribution."
After all, everyone knows that in order to be "sexually healthy" when engaging in what is naturally designed as a life-giving function, one must be "protected" from the results of that very function. This type of thinking equates pregnancy with AIDS, herpes, syphilis and other sexually-transmitted diseases and conveniently ignores the fact that most of these maladies were the product of the sexual revolution promulgated primarily on college campuses in the 1960s. Any thinking person would surmise that the remedy for all of this would be less pre-marital sex instead of more, but as P.J. O'Rourke said, "Seriousness is stupidity sent to college."
So, when you send your kids to college, they must be armed with the necessary tools. And so you pony up thousands of dollars for tuition, provide for housing, buy all the required textbooks, purchase scads of electronic devices like PCs, IPODs and cell phones and pack little Johnnie or Jane off to school with their own credit cards. But what if the monetary demands of academic life are such that they cannot afford "protection"?
Well then, of course, the government must step in. Which brings us to the second story concerning "sexual health" on campus. It seems that, although college dudes may have recourse to free condoms, the cost of protection for dude-ettes has become more problematic -- you guessed it -- due to the evil machinations of the Bush Administration. Cuts to Medicaid have apparently caused manufacturers of birth control to stop offering discounts to colleges and universities. Erudite New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney explains the coming catastrophic consequences:
It will mean that more college women will become pregnant in an unwanted pregnancy during their college student years. It will mean that many will have to drop out of school or face an abortion. It is a difficult situation to put college women in.
A better situation for many college-bound young ladies might be one in which they cross their legs upon arriving at school and keep them that way until they graduate. But of course this would negate the need for the numerous college programs designed to promote promiscuity and ready students for a lifetime of random and rampant sex: the very reason you slaved all your life to send them off to college.
But it could be worse. You could be paying a ton of do-re-mi to Columbia University to help finance the lunatic ravings of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or similar anti-American brainwashing by liberal faculties. But at least they'll be "sexually healthy."