Skip to comments.Professor lashes out at valueless higher ed in liberal magazine
Posted on 12/11/2017 11:46:38 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
Conservative news outlets have been vocal in their skepticism toward colleges and universities while the liberal media has remained complicit in their overall approval. Now, as a more progressive generation of millennials finds itself increasingly unemployed or underemployed, it seems as though the left might be turning against academia.
Last week, the Atlantic, one of the Lefts longest-enduring supporters, published a blistering critique of todays college system from a tenured George Mason University professor. In the article, Bryan Caplan, a libertarian-leaning professor, decries higher education as wasteful and irrelevant. Caplan brilliantly points out what employers have known for years.
[D]espite the chasm between what students learn and what workers do, academic success is a strong signal of worker productivity The labor market doesnt pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them traits like intelligence, diligence and the ability to tolerate serious boredom.
Caplan argues that at least half of colleges financial value (if not more) lies in signaling rather than the actual knowledge that is gained from coursework. Instead of wasting time and money on irrelevant knowledge, schools should be preparing students for their future careers. To support his case, Caplan provides several statistics proving the pathetically limited amount of knowledge and skills retained by students from one year to the next.
Resisting claims that he is simply a cynic, Caplan explains that hes cynical about people. Students, teachers, and school officials have all contributed to the preservation of a flawed system that rewards students with inflated grades in irrelevant courses for unrelated jobs after graduation.
Meanwhile, the college-for-all mentality has ultimately caused runaway credential inflation. The amount of education required to do the same jobs continues to rise for no apparent reason. What happened to the value of work experience and on-the-job training?
Non-academic students are forced upon the college track and end up flunking out, wasting thousands of dollars along the way. Vocational paths are often given the cold shoulder, even though they can be a more direct path to a successful career.
Interestingly enough, the Atlantic actually published an opinion piece back in June 2008 by a community college professor who observed that while telling someone that college is not for him seems harsh and classist and British, many simply dont have the skills to succeed in high school, let alone college. If thats the case, why are they wasting time or money on the college route when other options exist?
The socialist mentality of college-for-all has destroyed the value of college and has done nothing to fill the noble jobs that remain vacant. When a progressive magazine has to point that out, its pretty obvious that were in trouble.
Brendan Pringle (@BrendanPringle) is a freelance journalist in California. He is a National Journalism Center graduate and formerly served as a development officer for Young America's Foundation at the Reagan Ranch.
You mean my degree in Environmental Face Painting will mot secure me a six figure salary?????????................
Because a lot of people still don't understand Education, Inc.
Education, Inc. is almost wholly constructed of radical leftist unions, i.e., teachers. High school teachers have a vested interest in pushing college as it reflects their "success" rate as they push kids along to inflate their own success. Additionally, the University gig is a complete racket where they relentlessly work to sign up an unsuspecting youth and their dreamy-eyed parents. Once signed, these youthful students either, a)hand over Mom and Dad's lifetime of earnings; or, b) hand over their own life-long earning through debt servitude which can never ever be discharged and will be passed on to the next of kin.
College is a RICO level scam. But boy, does those leftist professors and leftist administrators LOVE it. No one is better served than they are.
Just now? just about every one of my STEM professors did this on a daily basis.
Only if you have an under Graduate Degree in Gender Studies.
You nailed it. The primary reason colleges/universities are increasingly providing a worthless product, yet keep increasing in cost, is that third party financing makes it possible for students who otherwise couldnt afford the outrageous tuition to pay it anyway. If colleges had to compete in a real market, where they were forced to price their product according to what prospective students could actually afford to pay out of their own pockets, things would change substantially.
A real market is emerging, foreign universities. Many are beginning to offer all-English programs, and they aren’t all that expensive.
If I were in high school today, I’d seriously consider it, I’d even go as far as to say studying overseas will give you an edge in the job market.
But if you want to make the big bucks in Gender Studies, you need to pay for a PhD.
If a young man has superior brains, I always advise him to pursue knowledge at home...usually the Cisco Certifications CCNA, CCNP and CCIE.
A good CCIE (think engineering masters degree equivalent) makes at least $100 per hour in any metropolitan area in the country.
And is never want for employment.
If he has a different kind of brain, I advise any of the building trades.
And I always advise AGAINST college. It’s a scam for dummies.
They are producing too many “academics”.
Academic: An individual incapable of or unwilling to create or provide goods or services of value to others, who pontificates and expects to be paid for it, usually from public funds.
“If I were in high school today, Id seriously consider it”
Focus on the shop classes in high school.
IF, and I stress IF you have a 140+ IQ you may benefit from a University education. But even at that, a 140+ plummer is likely to make as much money.
Without the cost/debt.
Yup easily available loans is probably 90% of the problem...the other 10% is the notion that with a college degree, one is set for life.
If college loans were done on the basis all consumer loans are, there would be less of them. The first question on the loan app should be: how do you plan to pay this loan back. Write a short essay to explain your point with a mathematical example.
Prior to the 1960’s, companies could IQ and literacy tests to prospective employees, and make hiring and placement decisions from the tests. Now, any test which has different pass rates for blacks and whites is discriminatory, and subjects the company to a lawsuit. Thus, companies started relying on college degrees to signal basic literacy.
Now, with grade inflation, a college degree is no longer an adequate indicator. Consider that Sheila Jackson Lee graduated Yale.
Restore companies’ ability to look at test scores, and smart people could be hired right out of high school.
Yet another destructive social and political consequence of printed, fiat, unbacked money, manipulated down to negative interest rates, by the Federal Reserve.
“If the University System were a stock, I would short it.”
Consider that obama graduated Columbia (?) and Harvard Law School.
I taught at college level for 16 years. Whenever I heard a degree was in “Professional studies” I know it was crap. I was assigned to teach a “Masters in Professional studies” Capstone (thesis) Course. I had mostly school employees taking their promised free degree. One young lady, a Black woman, who was actually a pretty good student earned a A which I found out later gave her a perfect GPA fore the degree program, came to me the next semester and said she had a problem. This was a well spoken very presentable Black woman with a perfect GPA in New York City mind you; said she could not find a job anywhere because neither she nor her interviewer could explain what the degree was in. The same school lured starry eyed kids into their Sports Management Degree program. What a joke! The degree didn’t get them an inch closer to a job except maybe at McDonald’s. When I pointed that out once too often I got pushed out.
Some relevant stats i posted there from here .
In 1940, fewer than 5 percent of Americans had a college degree. Starting with the GI Bill in 1944, governments at all levels promoted college. From 1947 to 1980, enrollments jumped from 2.3 million to 12.1 million. In the 1940s, private colleges and universities accounted for about half. By the 1980s, state schools - offering heavily subsidized tuitions - represented nearly four-fifths. At last count, roughly 40 percent of Americans had some sort of college degree: about 30 percent a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution; the rest associate degrees from community colleges. http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2012/05/29/lets_drop_the_college-for-everyone_crusade_99690.html
Since 1961, the time students spend reading, writing and otherwise studying has fallen from 24 hours a week to about 15. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/is-college-too-easy-as-study-time-falls-debate-rises/2012/05/21/gIQAp7uUgU_print.html
After two years of college, 45 percent of college students hadn't significantly improved their critical thinking and writing skills; after four years, the proportion was still 36 percent. The study was based on a test taken by 2,400 students at 24 schools. "Academically Adrift," by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa; http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2012/05/29/lets_drop_the_college-for-everyone_crusade_99690.html
Over 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks (unable to interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, comprehend arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school). American Institutes for Research Ben Feller, Associated Press | January 20, 2006
States appropriated almost $6.2 billion for four-year colleges and universities between 2003 and 2008 to help pay for the education of students who did not return for their second year, while the federal government spent $1.5 billion and states spent $1.4 billion on grants for such students. "Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First-Year Student Attrition in America's Four-Year Colleges and Universities." reported by AP, Report: College dropouts cost taxpayers billions, October 11, 2010
More than 25% of low-income first-generation college students leave after their first year, and 89 percent fail to graduate within six years. Time Magazine, What We Can Learn from First-Generation College Students, April 11, 2012
Almost 80% of seniors at 55 of our best colleges and universities earned a D or F grade on a high-school level American history test a 1999 survey showed. USDE 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey tests http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/magazines/2000-11/cohen.html
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that only 31% of college graduates can read and understand a complex book. Walter E. Williams , professor of economics at George Mason University. http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=336612797889002
Nearly half (47 percent) of college freshmen enrolled in 2005 had earned an average grade of A in high school, compared to 2-in-10 (20 percent) in 1970. The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was being very well off financially. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, (Table 274). http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/miscellaneous/007871.html
Enrollment has increased 70.6 percent since 1990, from 135,000 to 230,000, at the 102 Evangelical schools belonging to the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Higher Education Research Institute at the UCLA; USA Today Dec. 14, 2005 .
During the same period, enrollments at public colleges increased by 12.8 percent, and at private colleges the increase was 28 percent. USA Today Dec. 14. 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=22361
62% more students are going to college than did in the 1960s". Bill Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions at Harvard.
Nearly 40 percent (approx. 11.5 million) of the nations 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in two- or four-year colleges as of October 2008. U.S. Census figures released by the Pew Research Center, Nov. 2009
The District of Columbia leads the nation in the proportion of college grads. http://www.epodunk.com/top10/collegeDiploma/index.html
Tuition's and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-subprime-college-educations/2012/06/08/gJQA4fGiOV_print.html
Total federal aid intended to hold down the price of a college degree have soared by more than $100 billion in the space of a single decade -- from $64 billion in 2000 to $169 billion in 2010. Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe; April 29, 2012, http://www.jeffjacoby.com/11618/the-government-college-money-pit
On a typical campus, per capita students spending for alcohol--$446 per student--far exceeds the per capita budget of the college library. (Eigen, 1991 in the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse).
College students spend over $5.5 billion a year on alcoholic beverages (mostly beer)--more than they spend on all other drinks [soda, tea, milk, juice and coffee] and books combined. Sidney Ribeau, PresidentBowling Green State University http://www.collegevalues.org/diaries.cfm?id=476&a=1. See also www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/rpt1998/CAS1998rpt2.html [which is also a illustration of how to do a survey.]
A (disputed) study showed that 50% of American college faculty identified themselves as Democrats and only 11% as Republicans (with 33% being Independent, and 5% identifying themselves with another party). 72% described themselves as "to the left of center," including 18% who were strongly left. Only 15% described themselves as right of center, including only 3% who were "strongly right." North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada 1999. The Berkeley Electronic Press http://montages.blogspot.com/2005/04/conservatives-underrepresented-in.html http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol3/iss1/art2 http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/17963/liberal_bias_in_our_schools.html
A survey of 6,000 academic psychologists resulted in 10% reporting they had falsified research data; 67 per cent selectively reported studies that worked; 35% said they had doubts about the integrity of their own research. Leslie John, George Loewentstein, and Drazen Prelec in Psychological Science, December 2011
In 2001, Harvard was focused upon as part of a controversy in which high, but allegedly unwarranted, GPA's (Grade Point Averages) were awarded. While in 1940 C-minus was the most common GPA at Harvard, and in 1955 only 15 percent of undergraduates had a GPA of B-plus or higher, in the year 2000, 50% in of all the grades given were As or A-minuses, with just six percent being C-pluses or lower. More than 90 percent of the class of 2001 had earned grade-point averages of B-minus or higher.
In a Harvard Crimson article, noted conservative Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield contended that "Grade inflation got started when professors raised the grades of students protesting the war in Vietnam..." "At that time, too, white professors, imbibing the spirit of the new policies of affirmative action, stopped giving low grades to black students, and to justify or conceal this, also stopped giving low grades to white students." The problem was essentially seen as the predominance of the notion of self-esteem, "in which the purpose of education is to make students feel capable and 'empowered,' and professors should hesitate to pass judgment on what students have learned." Such assertions resulted in no small controversy.
Harvard alumnus and author Ross Douthat attributed this problem partly to socioeconomic differences, and noted that "Harvard students are creatively lazy, gifted at working smarter rather than harder", being brilliant largely in their tactics "to achieve a maximal GPA in return for minimal effort." Few people who have taught at Harvard agree with Douthat's notions. - [19 ] Ross Douthat, "The Truth About Harvard," The Atlantic Monthly March 2005 ; adapted from his book, Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class.
Obsolete University infrastructure bump for later....
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