Opinion

The WSJ Wrongly Blasts USC

The Wall Street Journal’s  Lisa Bannon and Andrea Fuller in a piece dated  Nov. 9, 2021 blast the University of Southern California, for using its prestigious brand and a for-profit outfit to “push” a two year $115, 00 online degree forcing students to rack up their student debt.  That is a gross misapplication of the theory of allocation. The education system in America does not need a reform.  It needs a complete makeover.  A paradigm shift. 

Brannon and Fuller write:

Over the past decade, the University of Southern California has used a for-profit company to help enroll thousands of students in its online social-work master’s program. 

The nonprofit school used its status-symbol image to attract students across the country, including low-income minority students it targeted for recruitment, often with aggressive tactics. Most students piled on debt to afford the tuition, which last year reached $115,000 for the two-year degree. The majority never set foot on the posh Los Angeles campus. While it is understandable for to the Wall Street Journal to push tabloid journalism, it condones financial illiteracy

  According to Literacy Inc Many of the United States ills are directly related to illiteracy. Here are just a few statistics:

  • Literacy is learned. Illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write.
  • One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.
  • 43% of adults at level I literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at level V.
  • Three out of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels.
  • 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts.
  • 16 to 19-year-old girls at the poverty level and below, with below average reading skills, are 6 times more likely to have out – of – wedlock children, who in turn will have below average reading skills or none at all.

While the Council of Graduate Schools says that 

Today’s graduate and undergraduate students are in a much different place financially than previous generations of students. In 2012, total student debt for the first time exceeded $1 trillion and is now over $1.3 trillion. 

Forget the financial place.  It is the financial illiteracy.  The root cause is that a good number of graduate and undergraduate students are financially illiterate and more high school seniors are functionally illiterate. The education system in America does not need a reform.  It needs a complete makeover.  I paradigm shift. 

Blaming USC for making poor financial decisions is like  Stacy Pincus, the Chicago woman who filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Starbucks in April 2016, claiming the company puts too much ice in its cold drinks.  The lawsuit was rightly dismissed by a Chicago federal judge in late 2016 

Or the group of Chicago plaintiffs  who filed a class-action lawsuit against Home Depot in 2017, because the store’s four-by-four lumber actually measures out to 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches on each side. 

Full disclosure:  One of my children went to USC and the other one to UCLA.  How did we get there?  I graduated high school with honors and very much wanted to attend UCLA.  Specifically, UCLA Medical School.  Because I could not afford it, I worked full time, went the community college route, transferred to State and warned an Engineering Degree with a minor in Bio-Medical Engineering, 

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