Monday, December 3, 2012
New York Times Ethicist: So Sue Me, by Chuck Klosterman:
I’m applying to law school. I’m sure there are many schools that could provide me with a decent education; I’m less confident that a degree from some institutions will get me a job. In fact, some schools, while charging outrageously high tuition, place fewer than half of their recent graduates in long-term, full-time legal positions. Is it moral for schools like these to keep enrolling students and collecting tuition dollars knowing that their product is a risky (or outright bad) investment? MATTHEW DREILING, NEW YORK ...
If your query were simply “Is all college tuition in America
unreasonably expensive?” my answer might be different. But your
particular question is performance-based; you want to know if it’s
unethical for colleges whose students are less successful in the job
market to demand the same unreasonable tuition as the ones whose
graduates perform well. And it’s not unethical — it’s just fiscally
unfortunate. Obviously, the best thing any law school could do for its
reputation is graduate people who become successful. These schools are
motivated to do so; if they continually fail at that goal, they will not
attract the best applicants, and the failure will perpetuate itself.
But their principal ethical responsibility is to educate law students to
the best of that institution’s ability, which isn’t inherently tied to
how easily those graduates become gainfully employed. That
responsibility is mostly yours.