TCS Daily


Suffering Schools Gladly

By George C. Leef - October 12, 2006 12:00 AM

The recent national "Report Card" on higher education concludes that American "economic leadership" will be in jeopardy unless the country succeeds in putting more of its young people through college. The authors simply assume that there is a direct connection between the amount of formal education people have and national prosperity. But that assumption doesn't stand up to examination.

Prosperity cannot be guaranteed by policies that seek to maximize the amount of formal education among the populace. While some nations now have a higher percentage of young adults with college degrees than the U.S. does -- including Canada, Japan, Norway and Belgium -- that does not necessarily bode well for them economically and certainly does not imperil the American economy.

Many students benefit greatly from their college coursework, in ways that improve their productivity. Individuals who work in the fields of science and engineering require a strong academic background. Although it isn't inconceivable that people doing such work might learn what they need to on the job -- the Wright brothers, after all, mastered the physics of heavier-than-air flight even though they had never taken any college courses -- it's probably efficient to have college and university programs provide that background.

On the other hand, it is clear that for many American undergraduates, their college years provide them with little knowledge or skill essential to, or even useful, in their later work. They don't study math or science. For all the talk about "the knowledge economy," few jobs actually call for knowledge that one can only acquire through years of study in a formal academic setting. Rather than a period of intense concentration that substantially builds vital human capital, for a large number of American students, college is four, five, or six years of -- to borrow the title of one of Professor Murray Sperber's books -- beer and circus.

Looking at the percentage of the population with college degrees, the "Report Card" ominously says, "Perhaps for the first time in our history, the next generation will be less prepared than the one before it." But exactly what kind of preparation are we talking about? If we regard someone with a BA as necessarily better "prepared" than someone without one, then that may be true. Mere possession of a college degree, however, does not automatically indicate a high level of intellectual acumen, or even that one has mastered basic skills in the old "3 Rs."

Last year's National Assessment of Adult Literacy showed that just 31 percent of college graduates could be regarded as "proficient" in their ability to read prose. When the NAAL was done in 1992, the figure was 40 percent, which seems to support the widespread anecdotal evidence that academic standards have been declining under the pressure to retain students who don't have much interest or ability in academic pursuits. The NAAL also shows weakness among college graduates in their ability to do simple math problems and the 2003 report of the National Commission on Writing found widespread dissatisfaction among employers with the writing skills of graduates.

So are Americans "less prepared" just because they have fewer college degrees -- or because there has been an erosion of academic standards deep into our entire educational system? More to the point, though, just how much does it matter to our national economy that our "educational attainment" is sliding?

So far, it is hard to see that it has any adverse impact. The U.S. economy remains one of the world's most robust, outpacing nations where the percentage of people with college degrees is rising. Canada and Japan, the two nations at the top of the list for college degrees among younger people, have 2005 GDP growth rates of 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent respectively. For the U.S., it's 3.5 percent. Barely behind the U.S. in the percentage of college degrees held by younger workers is France, which has a very anemic 1.4 percent growth rate. If there is any connection between college degrees and economic performance, it's a very loose one.

The contrast between the apparent weakness in our educational system and the strength of the economy is a question that has had some people puzzled, but the answer turns out to be pretty simple. Economist David Henderson in his book The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey asked how it could be that our educational system is generally so weak and yet our economy continues to hum along. His answer: "Schools do not have a monopoly on learning." Most of what people need to know to accomplish their goals in life is learned outside of formal educational settings. Whether you're a lawyer, a business executive, or a think tank executive, rarely do you rely on things learned in your college or post-grad studies.

But what about the often-heard refrain that in the future, most jobs will require a college degree -- at least the good ones? It seems to be another of those factoids that gains strength simply from repetition. If you take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' labor force projections for the next decade, most of the jobs expected to have the greatest growth are in fields that call for simple trainability, not advanced academic preparation. There is an imprecision in the word "require" that's important here. While it's highly doubtful that a greater percentage of jobs in the future will be of such a technical nature that a bright high school graduate couldn't possibly learn them, it may very well be true that more employers will use the possession of a bachelor's degree as a screening mechanism, refusing to consider people with less formal education. James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield were right on the mark when they wrote in their book Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money, "the United States has become the most rigidly credentialized society in the world. A B.A. is required for jobs that by no stretch of imagination need two years of full-time training, let alone four."

Putting more and more young people through college -- many of them with little interest in or aptitude for scholarly work -- will do nothing to make the U.S. economy more productive. It will just give us a larger education establishment and more credential inflation.

Let us bear in mind when we hear the pitch that government must do more to ensure "access" to college that courses for credit are not the only means by which people can improve their productivity. In fact, for many people, college courses are rather far down the list in that regard. In a recent column in The Washington Post ("How We Dummies Succeed," September 6, 2006), Robert Samuelson distinguished between our "education" system and our "learning" system, pointing out that the latter consists of: "community colleges; for-profit institutes and colleges; adult extension courses; online and computer-based courses; formal and informal job training; self-help books." In short, there are lots of useful learning opportunities available to Americans, who are pretty good at figuring out which ones provide the most advantage for the least cost.

Americans don't need to worry that our economic future is in jeopardy unless we manage to put more of our people through college than other nations do. Perhaps the Canadians, Norwegians, Belgians and others who are "outperforming" the U.S. on higher education have yet to reach the point of diminishing returns on higher education, but it seems clear that we have. Our economic future doesn't depend on surpassing other countries in "educational attainment."

Instead, it depends on something much more basic -- freedom. The reason the U.S. has always been a high output country is the comparatively high degree of economic freedom found here. That's the key variable.

George C. Leef is Vice President for Research at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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109 Comments

Education vs learning
COuldn't agree with you more on the rigidities of the existing school and college system. Now translate this into the developing country context, where a lot of money, public money through govt and private money, is spent on putting kids through college earning degrees that have no relevance in the workplace other than serving as a screening mechanism for recruiters.

Right on the mark...
I can honestly say that my double-degree in Anthropology and English have provided me nothing that has been useful in my career. The associates degree in Accounting I received from an inexpensive city college in Denver has served me far more.

"Beer and circus" hits the nail on the head. College is mental masturbation that provides rest between parties.

Immigration
Professional graduate programs at America's top (and not so top) universities get most of their students from overseas. These are the technical workforce that keeps America going dispite its crummy internal education system.

I can't help commenting on the education, the writing skills in particular, of the author, George Leaf. Consider: "...the "Report Card" ominously says..."

Learning & Success
I am an executuve in a software company which I co-founded. I have a B.A. in Philosophy which, while enjoyable to obtain, has added little or nothing to my effectiveness as a self-taught software developer and experienced-based manager.

I try to hire truly talented people. One of my most productive "stars" is a 30 year old coding prodigy who completed 12th grade and that's it. I have another superior developer who was summa cum laude in is Comp. Sci. degree. The latter probably understands more about certain esoteric theoretical aspects of computer science, but both men are extremely productive, greatly outpacing a number of other employees with "regular" Comp. Sci. degrees.

Overall there is little discernable correlation between academic achievement and productivity in my experience, except insofar as advanced degrees and high marks in college often go hand-in-hand with a high IQ (though not always). While a high IQ does not automatically correlate to productivity, it is far more strongly correlated than academic achievement, at least in the software business.

A different take...
One of the neat things about TCS Daily is that often, TCS contributors offer a different -- and sometimes unique -- take on the issues of our day. Consider: where else would you read a thoughtful, informed and insightful discussion on America's "education gap" that questions, as one of its principle points, the fiction that a "higher" formal education automatically helps create a more robust and healthy economy. Certainly not in the leftist Major Media which unquestionally spreads the academic industry's propaganda that a college degree is a vital necessity for the economic health of the nation, when in reality it is often a waste of time and resources. Thank you TCS!

"These are the technical workforce that keeps America going dispite its crummy internal education sy
Foreign born individuals with Master's and Doctorate degrees keep America running?

How do justify that?

Consider...
>"I can't help commenting on the education, the writing skills in particular, of the author, George Leaf. Consider: "...the "Report Card" ominously says..."

Perhaps if you go out of your way to critique a person's writing skills you should at least spell his name correctly.

While you are correct that a great many students come from overseas you leave out the fact that many return overseas after they get a degree. Yet the countries they return to are rarely more robust than ours. Those students who remain become Americans and valued members of our economy. The simple fact is that it is not higher education that makes a great economy it is personal and economic freedom that makes a great economy.

I really don't see how your "point" challenges anything in Mr. Leef's article.

Indeed...
give me intelligent and/or talented people over people with a mere degree any day.

The Business of Learning
Learning is optimized when learning from the past (from printed, electronic or human sources) is integrated with learning by doing. A surgeon may be 35 today before he completes his training and residency. If an eight year old was committed to being a surgeon, he could easily complete all of his training by age 20 using an integrated learning protocol. This applies to most other technical and scientific disciplines as well.

Additional government funding for education is a mistake. Our lagging education system can only be improved by consumers seeking and finding better alternatives. Innovation can lead to cheaper and more effective processes for acquiring the skills the market demands. And if government entities support the market’s effort to improve the educational process, the educational establishment will either adapt or be replaced.

Yes...and Furthermore
"...it is personal and economic freedom that makes a great economy."

The institution of education in the US is hardly a paragon of choice. Educational institutions, especially the public ones, tend to be elitist, prone to rapid inflation, riddled with unproductive operating procedures and hamstrung by counter-productive government regulation.

America's economy is doing well DESPITE an underperforming educational system. When parents and students begin in numbers to refuse to accept poor preformance from educators, the dynamics of improvement will begin. And the Amercan economy will be all the better as a result.

This is the first time I have heard an officer from a Center for Higher Education Policy.
arguing against education.

This is very interestng.

One wonders what motivates a policy maker to take such a position at the dawn of the ever-more technical world we live in.

You're Talking About ME.
Graduated from high school in '82. Wasn't expected to go to college. Never took AP--no teacher thought it was worth mentioning it to me. Worked at an egg farm for a year. Saved my money, nothing much to spend it on anyway. My dad bought me a little car and that was all I needed.

I had a friend going to college. She let me hang out with her and I had so much fun, I decided to go too. I picked a school that wasn't too expensive, and was far enough from home to get away with stuff, and I had the beer and circus.

Now, what to major in? Hm. Liberal Arts.

It was all stupid and I know it, and I know I'm a idiot.

I went to graduate school on a loan. The best thing I got out of it was, it was easy to get a job if I showed them the piece of paper. But I wasn't good at it. I hadn't learned anything except how to write much better than I'd ever had to before.

If I could do it again with the brains I possess now, I'd have worked a few more years at crappy jobs and then found out what I was good at and then learned a trade. But now that's for another lifetime.

Or if I'd gone the college route I'd have picked an excellent college and majored in something that really mattered to me.

Or if I'd done what was expected and not gone to college, I'd have ended up like my sister, which isn't bad.

My point is, this article described me to a tee. My best benefit from college was to raise my socioeconomic status, help me find a great husband and know how to steer my kids through school.

I've apologized long enough for being a "stupid American." You do what you have to in life, and for me I didn't have to do that much to do well.

You don't sound stupid to me...
LisaAA, you hardly sound like a "stupid American," and certaionly not like an "idiot." Yeah, you might have made better educational choices when you were a kid. So, join the crowd.

Sounds like you gained something far more valuable in life than a "higher" education -- sounds like you gained wisdom.

Now had you argued the Academic industry line that a college degree is a vital prerequisite for a strong economy, then you'd sound like an idiot. In otherwords,you'd sound like a typical Leftist professor.

Most stay
The Masters program in my department is typical. We take about 75% foreign students. 15 months later, all of them get good jobs, mostly with six figure starting salaries. Very few go back.

I'm always amazed at the anti intellectualism on this site, which is supposed to be about science and technology. What are the successful sectors of the US economy? Computers (hardware and software), pharma, aerospace (Boeing), ... . Each of these is possible because of PhD training at top US universities. OK, you don't need a degree to be a used car salesman and you can be a rock star without even knowing how to read. You can learn routine computer programming from a book, but you can't design an airplane or develop fast computer chips without real knowledge.

Finally, do you know which country has had the greatest economic growth in the past decade? Hint: not the US. That country does not have personal freedom. In that country, you can go to jail for accessing a web site criticizing the government.

I apologize for frequent misspellings. I type phonetically when I'm in a hurry.

Easy for LG
It’s actually very simple: Foreign students often are unable to exploit their mental prowess in their own land because of the lack of opportunity (ironically more often than not because their governments are enthusiastic practitioners of the sort of leftist kleptocracy that LG advocates regularly on TCS). The marginal value to coming here and getting a Piled Higher and Deeper degree is higher for such a person for two reasons: one the economic starting point is lower (which helps if you have to count on an assistanceship for living expenses) and despite those mental assets, foreign students can lack the normal diction, familial connections, lifelong cultural immersion and other assets that one benefits from if you wish to ascend the ladder without a specific graduate education.

So they come here to obtain a pedigree (lets face it, for some jobs the degree is the singular qualification-think medical doctor, physicist, mathematician or actuary) that allows them to prosper using their IQ without needing to rely on "soft" skills.

Colleges, for all their legal formalities and decrees to the contrary are a big business-getting plenty of PhD candidates not only assures prestige and revenue, its assures that tenured professors will have plenty of able, eager and cheap help to do those detestable tasks such as teaching introductory courses, providing individual instruction and grading papers.

Of course he thinks there whats good for academia is good in general, academia is his domain.

Dispatch From The Real World
I have been wondering for a long time why I had not seen an article on this topic. I am a degreed (BS), licensed professional engineer with 27+ years in the design and construction of petrochemical facilities in the US and Europe. Most of my experience has been in the US, but I have designed facilities that have also been built in Europe, and 10 years ago my company sent me on a 1 1/2 year assignment to our design office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Let me tell you - in our business many of the people who make large amounts of money only have a high school education (even today!) and have never spent one day in a college classroom. These folks are not construction trades workers - they are designers (piping, civil, electrical, etc.) And they perform their work in great conditions - in a nice air-conditioned office building, working on a computer, with occaisional trips to the construction site. Our field is experiencing a boom like I have never seen before in the past. I personally know of piping and civil designers who are making $130,000 per year with no college, and not including overtime. I'm sure that there are many of them who are grossing over $200K right now. Again, no college! My point is that what they possess is an inqusitive nature (many of them tinker with their own cars, etc.), an aptitude for math and science (but they did not need to learn differential equations and college-level physics, like I did), an ability to learn new tools and information at their own pace, to work well under occaisional pressure, to learn from their mistakes, and to work well on a team of diverse (very diverse!) people from around the world.

Many of these folks make more money than the engineers that they work with who may have up to a Ph.D in an engineering discipline. By the way, I have no problem with them making more money than I (some make more than I, some less), because one or two top-notch designers on my project make my life quite a bit easier.

As a point of comparison, the Dutch engineers that I worked with had these "good" qualities - lots of education (more than I did), fluent in multiple languages, and a high level of technical knowledge; and these "negative" qualities - their designs were way too complicated (expensive and hard to build, but they may have saved a little in materials), they knew nothing about real-world economics, and they had no idea about how jobs are really created. I got into a conversation one day with two of them about why they thought our company had an office in The Netherlands. They seemed to believe that it was there to create jobs for the Dutch. Unfortunately, they learned a hard lesson. When I returned to the US, my superiors wanted a detailed report on how well the office functioned. Six months after I turned my report, the office was sold.

As far as education, if we want to continue our strong economic performance into the future, only the basics should be taught in elementary and high schools - reading comprehension, writing to make your points and be understood, some American history (to understand how we got where we are), basic life skills (such as Personal Investing 101 and avoiding credit card debt!) and as much math and science as the remainder of 12 years will allow. NO COMPUTERS! If the kid can read and understand written instructions and self-learning, they will figure out on their own what computer skills they will need; besides, every few years the entire computer/information industry will be re-invented. Just look at the internet - 10 years ago, it barely existed, yet look at it now.

Another poster said this - eliminate all federal aid to universities. Eliminate all federal student grants. Tuitions will quickly come down. Federal aid to university students is one of the greatest source of funding to promote wacky left-wing ideas.

And, the most important - we kick butt in the world economy because of our freedoms. Many of the Dutch wanted to find a nice cushy job working for a large company for 30 years, and then getting a retirement package at age 52-55. The idea of going into business for themselves was not prevalent, partly because of the regulations involved with starting a business (or, put another way, the lack of freedom).





C'mon Joe, you just don't know what yer talkin' 'bout...
No less an educational authority than Liberal Goodman states that you need a "higher" education in order to be functional in the real world. Otherwise, you can only be a rock star or some other uneducated flunky.

Jus cuz you're a licensed engineer with 27-plus years of "real life" experience, don't mean a thing. You got to toe the educational line -- you gotta have that sheepskin if you want to make a contribution to your world. Don't take my word for it, just rely on the authority of your local college professor. Or, better yet, just take Liberal Goodman's word for it.

Greatest Economic Growth
If the USA wiped away all the impediments to growth that are piled upon US businesses, I would guess US economic growth would far exceed China.


"can't design an airplane or develop fast computer chips without real knowledge.'

From what university did the Wright brothers graduate?

And Bill Gates:

"In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry."

http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/bio.aspx

I was going to defend the article, but you folks have it covered!
I am used to articles like this receiving blistering criticism, so I was all set to defend the truth of the article.

But the rest of you have it covered! Thanks, all!

Anti-Intellectualism On The Left
On an earlier post, Liberalgoodman said "I'm always amazed at the anti-intellectualism on this site, which is supposed to be about science and technology". I will take the liberty to assume that he believes the majority of regular visitors to this site are libertarians/conservative/free marketeers, which I believe is a correct assumption. However, in the postings that I have read on this article and others, I don't really see much of an anti-intellectual bent from those on the right. What he perceives as anti-intellectualism is, in my opinion, a pragmatism born of life's experiences- what we have seen that works in the real world of business and commerce and what we have seen that does not work. And, ultimately, in a competitve free-market economy that we have (or at least struggle to maintain) the ideas that survive will be the ones that beat out the competing ideas. If the markets are allowed to work their magic, those ideas will die or be killed.

Having said that, I can think of a few examples of anti-intellectualism on the left:

1. Nuclear power: why are we not building tens or hundreds of nuclear power plants in the US? Do you think that it is beacause of anti-intellectualism on the right? Hardly. You may say that nuke is too expensive - because goof-ball enviros fight to the death any new plants being contemplated. What about the radioactive waste? I have not heard of anyone on the left say "What we really need is a Marshall Plan to find a safe way to deal with nuclear waste". I would think that the left would truly embrace nuke plants - they generate huge volumes of electicity with minimal greenhouse gas emission. No, the leftists are a bunch of luddites when it comes to nuclear power.

2. The superconducting supercollider. (For you youngsters this was a huge federally-funded basic research project for sub-atomic particles. It was being built outside of Dallas in the late 80's-early 90's) The project was killed in 1993 by the US Congress. I seem to recall that they cut off funding. I may be incorrect but I seem to recall that it was the Democrats in Congress who defeated it (at that time, the Dems were in the majority in both houses). And yet, this is exactly the kind of research that the federal government should fund - very basic scientific research that will have no commercial pay-back for years (and, therefore, research that private companies are not likely to fund). One could argue that this was not anti-intellectualism, but I would disagree. And I imagine that a lot of readers of this website would have been supportive of it, and of having the federal government (translation: us) pay for it.

And as far as needing massive amounts of BS, MS, and Ph.D grads for our economy to boom - not true. Give me a designer with a two year associates degree in design/drafting to work on my project versus a Ph.D in Women's Studies. Over the course of their career, the associates degreed designer will have a much greater positive impact on the US economy - they will be making decisions that will lead to a lot of very high-dollar economic activity being generated.

So you'd tell your kids to skip college?
won't help 'em, just a waste of time?

A simple question for the author: what advice would you give your own children?
Skip college as an overpriced, unnecessary delay?

If the answer isn't "yes," I smell hypocrisy.

So: against nukes = "anti-intellectual????"
This is really a stretch. You can talk about goof-ball enviros all you want, but the objections are to a specific technology, not to the idea of science or technology.

Lisa, what would you tell your daughter?
Skip college, it's a waste of time, you'll do better & earn more without it?

Politics trumps research
Could it be that the super conducting super collider was cancelled because it was to be built in TX?

And don't forget about the intellectual left's support of climate science research.

Then explain the objections to the specific technology
I would be interested to hear your objections to the specific technology and also in your support for finding ways to satisfy your objections to nuclear power.

Choose wisely
I would not recommend that my children attend any university unless it was for science or engineering. Liberal 'arts' at most colleges today are just propaganda.

And I would suggest that they do not get too heavily in debt. Attend community colleges for the first two years and have a job while attending classes.

If they can earn a scholarship to a big name school, take it, but don't waste your own money.

A little history
The governor of the state of Texas in 1993 when the superconducting supercollider was killed was Ann Richards, a democrat. the Texas congressional delegation included Senator Lloyd Bentson (D) along with Phill Gramm (R) and 19 out of 27 Texas representatives were Republican. But sure, it was Democrat hatred of Texas that doomed the facility.

That's a totally separate issue
You can find knowledgable people for nuclear power, and knowledgeable people with objections. But to call the objections "leftist anti-intellectualism" is absurd.

Even though they'll earn less money?
The statistics are really pretty clear. The name school sheepskin pays for itself. But you'd really tell your kids to just take their HS diploma and tough it out?

Great but your personal experience is wrong
The vast majority of those who come to the U.S. to get an education take what they learned home; I believe the number is somewhere around 75%. Many are paid by their government to go to school here, others can't get work visas, etc.; the list of reasons why they leave is pretty large.

As for college degrees and making money; check it out for yourself. Most of the fortune 500; and just as big a majority of multi-millionaires, either never went ot a four-year college, never graduate or found their college education did them no good in the real world. (My daughter did a paper on this last year, even I was startled a bit at the numbers.)

These days, high school guidance counselors are beginning to steer kids away from expensive four-year+ degree fields. They are starting to do a lot more interest surveys and help kids find a field they are really interested in and geared for. Many are going for two-year degrees and certificate programs. Many of these are doing better then their counterparts going to four-year institutions and paying less than 25% of the price.

A four-year college education isn't necessary, and isn't even desired in many cases.

Ann Richards
According to Wikipedia, even then-Texas Governor Ann Richards (a Democrat) did not support it. Of course, a lot of the opposition was due to politics but I think at least some was resistance to new technology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Supercollider

And, concerning support of climate research, we know what that is about - attempting to prove that anthropomorphic global warming will destroy life on earth unless we surrender all control to the central planners.

That is just yourself you smell
Because the answer depends on the interests of ones children.

I'm now directing my daughter towards a two-year tech college or the military as she is looking at going into nursing and isn't sure how deep she wants to go. Two years gets her in position to work in the field and a chance to see if she wants to go back for a nursing field speciality. But, she seem very interested in trauma/ER work; if that is truely the field she is interested in, the military is the best choice for training and job experience.

Not what she said
For many kids, a certificate program or a two-year degree are fine; and many of them are doing very well. I know a number of people with BAs working as roofers. Certificate program grads and two-year grads actually tend to work in their chosen field, advance faster and hold their own very well against their four-year degreed counterparts.

Nepotism
There is an electric company in MA that seems to only promote into management those who went to a certain school.

Just as many government agencies seem to recruit only from certain schools.

The only advantage I see in some name brand shools is the network.

"Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years."

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/06/07/yale_grades_portray_kerry_as_a_lackluster_student?mode=PF

I wonder how this advances the best and brightest?

Only the rich and connected move ahead. How does this advance 'higer' education?

Education and schooling
I think schooling is how you get along throughout school. Education is how well you learn to think and apply solutions you know of to situations you encounter.

It's hard to stand up for myself when others have a great education. But I have seen nicely educated people make stupid arguments and mistakes in their personal lives, and I see that some well-educated people don't know what marriage is, so they knock it. And stuff like that.

Thanks for the props, Dave!

My husband
Got a degree in Economics. Served in the Air Force. Ended up in Geographical Information Systems-type work. Nobody he works for has a PhD.

I think the intellectualism of the workplace is quite different from that of the university. It's quite a skill to simultaneously adapt someone's geographical data to a new program and make sure it works, and to work with the personalities of the people who make it possible.

Economic growth from what starting point? That'd be a good hint.

She'll decide.
I'll tell her to take some time and don't dive right in. I'll tell her, find the work you want to get started in, but don't be surprised if things change.

Don't know if she'll listen.

We aren't talking about "many kids"
We're talking about your kids. If you have statistics about lifetime earnings for certificate program grads and 2-year grads v. BA/S holders by all means supply them.

My friend Chris
I knew a kid named Chris who got a gleam in his eye every time he talked about the supercollider and later he said it was killed, and he didn't sound good. I think he went and did some teaching.

OK, assuming this is true
You're saying, you can give your kids a chance to get one of these credentials, or not. What do you choose. Glad you got Kerry info. Please contrast with Bush.

>Only the rich and connected move ahead. How does this advance 'higer' education?

It's not about 'higher education," it's about social mobility. If you cut off access to it for the non-rich and non-connected to the university system, who loses? (hint: it's not the children of the rich and connected)

Except
The point wasn't that some people shouldn't be going to 4 year college. It was that too many were. As for your daughter - some reason you don't want her to be a doctor?

I think you're a good mother
and won't let ideology get in the way of making the right decision for your daughter.

The thing I had against the guy who wrote the essay was he wanted to make the decision for other people's daughters.

Being a Doctor
First of all, you make the not-so-subtle implication that being a nurse is a lesser ambition. The poster's daughter expressed an interest in nursing-so are you suggesting that he should diminish her choice by attempting to redirect it? He should do this why? To prove his paternal acumen and sincerity to you, a pseudonymous internet crank, or simply in order to destroy his relationship with his daughter?

Secondly, an MD or DO simply isn't possible for most people-the medical associations function as much as medieval guilds as they do guardians of the public interest. The barriers to entry are high. The first is the intellectual requirements-if you aren't the valedictorian, 3.9 or higher GPA type, admission is tough and completion of the curriculum tougher. Then there's the issue of funding your education. Instead of earning your way and getting on with your life, you need to be in school or training to at least 26, unless you are some real life doodie howser.

Its best if you are the issue of a physician, med school financing works best if you choose your parents carefully. Of course if you don't take this course-you can seek a degree that has no commercial use outside the practice of medicine-at least not enough to pay the not-so-small fortune required to get the degree. This of course means years of education, foregone income and solvency all ride on you passing your medical boards, so good luck.

Of course, I'm sure you are well acquainted with the medical profession-I'm sure that compulsively and simultaneously inserting your thumb up your butt and foot in your mouth requires some medical journal disorder.

Depends on the kid, obviously
And no knock on nurses. But you're bringing up the issue yourself:

>Its best if you are the issue of a physician, med school financing works best if you choose your parents carefully.

Is this really the best way to determine who gets to be a doctor? Or is the idea that we have too many doctors already?

> f course, I'm sure you are well acquainted with the medical profession-I'm sure that compulsively and simultaneously inserting your thumb up your butt and foot in your mouth requires some medical journal disorder.

I would recommend you see a physician to help you get your head out of your rectum. I know it's been there a really long time, and you like it there, but if you don't like it, you can always put it back in.

Some basic education must be there
YOU MAY GO TO COLLAGE OR NOT THAT IS NOT SO IMPORTANT FOR FUTURE PROGRESS BUT SOME BASIC EDUCATION MUST BE THERE.
Our school and collage education alway neglate creative side of education, hoby, playfulness.
MY EXPERIENCE LIMITED ONLY WITH INDIA.
Here in India we are intimating with western pattern of education,we are giving more importance to memory, that one is worse kind of teaching, not giving importance to active work,not learning of thinking process. no use of hand in education.so all collage educaton is one sided useless in practical work.we are puppet of books.

"It's not about 'higher education," it's about social mobility."
Social mobility, promoting students in k-12 who can't read and write, has certainly done wonders to create an educated society.

Why should universities bother with educaction standards? Oh, some don't. That's why they have 'minority studies' departments and hire fake professors like Ward Churchill.

Social mobility v. social promotion
Is this distinction really hard to grasp?

Cranio Rectal Occulsion
Anonymous was right-your comment about why wouldn't Paul want his daughter to be a doctor smacked of a really annoying thought that nursing is a profession you go to if you can't get to be a doctor-don't tell me its not, my wife is an RN and gets this condescension from an ever smaller but significant number of MD's but a greater number of the public.

You really shouldn't accuse anybody of cranio-rectal occlusion, you've demonstrated a total inability to think and here you show that your economic idiocy is only exceeded by your condescension.

As for the insufficiency of doctors, the Clinton administration paid med schools to restrict their incoming student body, so I guess we have too many. No, I'm not researching this for you - you find it.

Well put anonymous.

Aren't you going to tell us
How this is a Jewish conspiracy?

P.S. Its college- a "collage" is a form of art that is created from an assembly of individual objects.

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