I read a disturbing book review regarding A Man for All Semesters by Dave Tomar. Mr. Tomar writes college & masters papers, even dissertations for students. His income was $66,000 in 2010.

The college and university students hire him to research and write the entire papers. Why should anyone go to college if they’re not going to learn? I thought that was the purpose. This only supports my personal opinion that a large percentage of college students should not even go to college.

But you know what, they basically just want the certificate that says “I’m a college graduate”.

Mr. Tomar is not alone. There are websites such as rushessay.com and college-paper.org that blatantly advertise they will due custom essays for ‘student’ clients. And guess what, some parents support this. Mr. Tomar calls them ‘cockpit parents’ that actually underwrite and support their children’s laziness and ineptitude.

A former Emory University president, William Chace, wrote an essay on the normalization of cheating in academics and stated there is a “suspicion that students are studying less, reading less, and learning less all the time.” The review in the Wall Street Journal states the numbers support this. Economists Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks in 2010 reported that the average full time college student studies 27 hours a week vs. 40 hours in 1961, a drop of one third.

The article continues that most universities are challenged to maintain minimal standards of technical training and assessment. Historically, the goals of universities were to mold student character.

Also alarming, the 2011 book Academically Adrift found on a national sampling that 1/3 of college students demonstrated “no significant progress on tests of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing” after 4 years of college. Think about this, the less people able to make deeper decisions, the less inventive and effective a work force and nation.

Thus, the children subcontract their work, notably paper writing.

Colleges & universities should be alarmed by this practice.

My personal opinion of the ideal school: one that doesn’t water down it’s student body for the purposes of maintaining enrollment and ever increasing costs of tuition, has no NCAA  Division 1 sports programs (think of University of Chicago terminating its football program in the 1930’s). University of Chicago de-emphasized sports in 1935. It’s now a division III. It is a well respected research institution.

Colleges & Universities: You’re a school not a semi-pro sports program.

I often wonder if parents spent as much money on academic pursuits for their children as they do on children’s sporting ventures, how amazing and additionally gifted would our children be? What if there were more competitions, with monetary rewards, for the best scientific discovery, philosophic thought, writings, artistic performance for our students rather than lucrative professional sports contracts?

It’s all about our goals and our focus.

Am I off base?

Kirk Sanders