In the article excerpted below, Naomi Schaefer Riley of the New York Post takes issue with some of the useless course offerings at American colleges and the debt students incur while taking them.

How colleges scam the working class

For a case study in how colleges came to this point of curricular incoherence, a recent report by the National Association of Scholars looked at Bowdoin College in Maine, which abolished all general-education requirements in 1969. As the school’s newsletter put it back then, “Bowdoin does not prescribe a pattern of required liberal arts courses for all students. Instead, each student determines, with the help and approval of his academic counselor, what pattern of courses is most ‘liberating’ for him.”

Students today can choose courses on prostitutes or “queer gardens”; on brain science or ancient democracies. But how is a freshman supposed to figure out whether it’s better to take the class on women in the European Union or the one on the Korean War — to know which is most important, which will be of lasting value and which would form a good foundation for the study of other subjects?

As Mark Bauerlein of Emory University notes, “You’re handing the choice to people who don’t know what to choose. They don’t think five years ahead and say, This will be better for me when I’m 25. The kind of discretion that the student-centered progressives want to give is actually damaging to students.”

It’s “a catastrophe,” says Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution. “On the one hand, colleges have abandoned any actual structure,” so kids need help figuring out how to put together a serious plan for graduating. “But the faculty aren’t there. They’re off studying ‘queer gardens.’” He calls it a maze — and one where “those who come from poor academic backgrounds will do even less well.”

For all the lip service our colleges pay to giving the less-advantaged a leg up, the mission these schools seem more focused on is just raking the money in.

HT to Instapundit.