Over-Educated Twits

I’ve often heard New Hampshire described as an “island of sanity in an ocean of crazy,” surrounded by Hosers, Maineiacs, Massholes, and Vermonsters. I’ve focused a lot of attention on the Massholes, but lately I find myself wondering if the Maineiacs might be giving them a run for their money.

Last week, the Pine Tree State garnered national attention when the Portland school district decided that the middle school nurses could provide birth control to students as young as 11 — without parental consent or even knowledge. (This brought up the interesting question of just who would be responsible for making sure regular doctors of the girls freshly on the pill are informed of this status — and who would be liable if the doctors inadvertently cause harm through their ignorance if they are NOT informed.)

Now, we find out that the fine folks in Maine are not done meddling with schools. As it stands now, all graduates are encouraged to apply for college. But that isn’t good enough — they want to make it mandatory. No college application, no diploma.

This is, quite frankly, nuts. While a college education is a good thing (despite the best efforts of many of those running colleges now) generally, it’s not for everyone. Not everyone is equipped to survive — let alone thrive — in the college environment, and there are plenty of jobs and trades that don’t require a college degree.

All this will achieve, I fear, is to put a horrible burden on college admissions offices. Not only will they be deluged with applications (many of which would be utterly insincere), but they would find themselves stuck with the burden of telling people that no, you’re just not college material.

I spoke with my friend Candy about this — I figured she’d be a good resource, as she teaches in adult education. She says that they encourage their students to apply to the local community college, just to “break the ice” and show them how easy it is to apply — and how readily they can be accepted.

She almost got me to reconsider the whole gist of this piece, but she did agree that to make this a requirement for graduation — “fill out and send in this application, or you don’t get your diploma” — is going too far.

This whole program is emblematic of the “too much of a good thing” concept,” and trespassing dangerously close to “everything not forbidden is required” restraint on freedom of choice.

Keep encouraging students to apply for college, Maine. But don’t threaten them into doing it.

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