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Graduation Season: Why Do Students Have to Wait Until 21 To Commence? by John McWhorter

John McWhorterJohn McWhorter ’83 summarizes the arguments in favor of early college education in a piece recently published in The New Republic.  Looking back through history, McWhorter’s insightful assessment of the evolution of the educational landscape in America draws on examples ranging from the Civil War era to the drastic policy changes ushered in by the post-World War II G.I. Bill, crafting a passionate, personal argument for the style of alternative education laid out by Bard College President Leon Botstein in his book, Jefferson’s Children.  McWhorter’s observations backed by his own experiences at Simon’s Rock and elsewhere, address fundamental questions regarding the nature of education and the role of colleges and universities in the modern world.

McWhorter asserts, like Botstein before him, that a college education has become a barrier rather than a key to entry into the workforce for too many positions for which undergraduate training is not required.  His vision includes an education system designed to provide capable, adaptable employees for the national and global workforce which would not rely so heavily on four years of higher education, instead favoring well-funded and highly esteemed vocational training programs coupled with more rigorous early education. 

Follow his analysis in his piece, “Graduation Season: Why Do Students Have to Wait Until 21 To Commence?” published on June 19 on The New Republic.

View John McWhorter's Commencement Speech at Simon's Rock, May 16, 2009.