Where Have All the Men Gone?

By Lloyd Graff

Why aren’t kids wanting to go to college, especially guys? 

I’ve been intrigued by this question since seeing the stats showing college enrollment continually dropping over the last decade. We are now at the point where women comprise almost 60% of college students, although in our politically correct world I am probably offensive to some if I choose a gender. 

We just received the latest bombshell from the esteemed Harvard College newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, which published an unsigned group editorial in support of boycotting Israel for its apartheid policies towards Arabs. 

I see this as related to the falling enrollment at many colleges. Harvard has given up on standardized testing because it would force them to admit too many Asian applicants with perfect scores and unblemished grades. That court case will be decided at the same time the abortion case will be ruled on by the Supreme Court. It probably will not be pretty for Harvard, which heavily favors the Bush and Obama kids and its many other legacies. Poor Harvard, but I am sure it will fight fiercely for its history, which also includes slavery.

Harvard’s fight song by Tom Lehrer

I can see the indifference about college in my oldest granddaughter who is an excellent student. She loves theater much more than the academic world. She is also having a problem finding a school where a Jewish woman who cherishes Israel can bond with a group of people who dare to come out as Jews. Can you blame her after last week’s Harvard Crimson unsigned group editorial? 

For men, the increasingly belligerent wokeism of college faculties makes the campus life I loved at the University of Michigan more of a nostalgic memory for alums than a real place for an 18-year-old kid, who also will face at least a $100,000 in school loan debt if he stays around to graduate. Heaven forbid he becomes a high school teacher or social worker. He will have debt until he’s 80 unless President Biden decides to forgive it. 

It also appears the well-publicized examples of billionaires like Marc Zuckerberg and Bill Gates who dropped out of school almost immediately to seek their fortunes as entrepreneurs may be influencing the career paths of young people. Noah recently did a podcast with a young man from Wisconsin who moved to Bozeman, Montana, at 21 after completing technical school. He worked at two machine shops for four years, making his own parts for bicycles on nights and weekends. At 26 he started his own 1-person machining company and made enough money to quit by age 40. Now he spends the majority of his time on his passions, snowboarding and mountain biking. He still does some machining as a hobby.

The old myth seems to be fading that going to college, getting a desk job in a big office, and collecting a gold tie clip after 40 years was a life to hope for. Even with the current decline in college enrollment, much because of obscene tuition costs, not enough desk jobs are available for the huge volume of college graduates trying to play that game. On the other hand, jobs in the trades are in demand and growing in popularity. 

The lefties have done a good job of turning good colleges into factories of AOC followers and Bernie Sanders lovers, but the trend seems to be shifting just when they thought they had won the culture wars and silenced questioners.

Thank you, Harvard, for making everything more clear this past week.

Question: Do you need to go college to be successful?

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7 thoughts on “Where Have All the Men Gone?

  1. Tim Daro

    Thanks for a refreshing slant on the situation today.
    I’m Catholic, was raised by nuns and priests and attended all boys high school and college. The training was rigorous, classical and not at all technical, yet I’ve run my industrial (mostly machine tool) agency for 40 years now and done ok. School fed my passion for writing, which has likewise served me well over the decades. My hobby IS my living and vice versa. Glad you and Noah are doing well.

  2. Robert Ducanis

    Times change. Methods change, including education. Much of what is taught today is useless for obtaining a job in the current marketplace. Liberal arts degree? Good luck with that albatross. Nothing against liberal arts. I think they have a place in today’s society, but how many open positions are there for philosophy or history majors? Enroll in a private college and you are looking at $50K+ per year. What is your ROI?

    I think kids are pretty savvy these days and tech oriented. I know that they run circles around me! Those that are really motivated can learn by themselves. There are so many educational opportunities thru the internet that someone may not need a college education these days (or should I say a college ‘degree’ sheepskin). There are online universities that can lead to a degree. I also believe that you can take engineering courses online from Ga-Tech for free, although it won’t lead to a degree.

    Lots of options out there today. Big universities do not have a monopoly on being the only source for education these days. I do believe that the large state and prestigious private universities provide excellent research facilities.

    Check out this site that describes online educational content…

  3. jo

    Lloyd, I agree with every thought in this post except your suggestion that student loans be “forgiven”. My son and daughter in law both ARE teachers, in one of the lowest paying states in the country, and paid off their student loan debt by scrimping, working summer jobs, using gift money to make extra payments, and financial planning. My son in law put himself through school – 2 years @ community college while working full time and then 2 years @ George Mason University. He’s paying off his student loans faster than required by making additional or larger payments whenever possible.
    1. When they took out these loans students and their parents knew they were obligating themselves to pay them back.
    2. Please define “forgiven”!! SOMEone will be paying that money back to the government or to the banks that purchased those loans. If its not the person who took out the loan, it will be the taxpayers – we the people and many young people like my “children” who either did not go to college or who worked hard to pay back what they owed.

  4. Paul Huber LSME

    We all know of many successful people who have not gone to college and many more who did not graduate.
    Being successful without college education does take a lot of initiative. Working yourselves up the ladder has become even more difficult recently.
    HR executives depent now on computer generated programs based on algorithms and AI to review applications. My application would be rejected as I do not meet the established criteria!
    We still grade our local schools based on the percentage of students railroaded into college while disregarding our college dropout rate of 40%.
    Only half of our states offer STEM curriculum and/or robotics programs. Learning a trade is very difficult as good trade schools have a waiting list and very few firms employ apprentices.

  5. Ridgely Dunn Post author

    I don’t regret my college education, but I do regret the debt it put me in. Not sure I would do it differently (maybe a little?), but I think that more folks in trades comes naturally from learning from their parents mistakes AND seeing that college debt is more talked about as a problem than it was 20 years ago. I don’t think there’s a “crisis of gender disparity” in college; even if there are fewer men these days, you would think you would see a higher percentage of women in advanced roles, but many industries remain male dominated. Maybe that landscape will look different in 20 years as more boomers retire or attrition out. But is it really an issue? I don’t think so…I would be most worried about kids like your granddaughter not feeling like schools are a place for her. It’s one thing to feel that academia is not for you, but it’s another to feel that you would be potentially alone or even unsafe in the environment.


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