The protest is the way to go. Chaotic behavior takes away from the real protest and reality is people venting their own anxieties. Too bad people don't realize not every one needs to go to college. I have a friend who is a plumber and makes $120K a year. Another is a licensed electrician and easily pulls in $90 to $100K a year. I know many people who go to college and are lucky to make $60K a year and have to pay off massive debt.
On the other hand, school systems should be changed. most high school kids should be credited for the junior and senior years with college credits. It seems a waste for kids to have to take 2 years studying what they should have or already have learned in high school (secondary school in some places).
Connecticut is in the process of overhauling the school systems for this very reason. By the time my kid hits college, in should be in place. His 4 years education may end up being 2 or 2.5 years, if they do it right.
As far as the "cigarette" comment goes, Holland is way ahead of the U.S with its mundane and puritan laws. I do not smoke pot (now, anyways!) but cannot imagine what good it does to send people to jail for it. The same goes for all the DRM bullshit going on. All this money wasted to make money for people who have too much of it anyways.
Some of the colleges in the U.S. have massive educational endowments that would let them be able to have kids study for a fraction of what it cost. They use this money to make money and it never gets passed down to the students. I think these institutions, like Yale (which owns most of downtown New Haven) and Harvard, among the top two, should be taxed if this money is not used up. Education is what they are setup for. Not raising the prices till only the very elite can attend, except for the couple of bones they throw out to make them look good.
The free ride is over for many people. The system must also change to incorporate the way society is changing. The college degree offered these days is making a vast number of idiots with degrees. I have worked with many engineers and can attest to this.
I work with engineers who are supposed to design and yet do not really know how anything works or goes together. They suffer from severe Columbus Syndrome. Constantly trying to figure out that which has already been done.