A couple of days ago, I wrote on the topic of the “Education Bubble,” and how student choices in their chosen programs of study can effect their financial future as well as the overall debt load on society. There’s a legitimate connection to be made between public financing of education and the latitude within which students are able (or should be allowed) to select their pathways to potential careers. I would argue that if a student decides to pursue a program of study for personal enrichment, entertainment value, or any other non-career-related focus, the student should have that freedom, provided that he or she is able to bear the burden of the cost and bear the responsibility of the long term consequences.
Over at The American Interest site, Walter Russell Mead writes in his Via Meadia blog much the same thing, but from a slightly different perspective–and his assessment of these “offbeat” programs is more critical (and more humorous). His piece is worth a read as a reality check on value of educational content being offered to students in the marketplace today.