Monday, November 28, 2011

We blow the whistle on higher education because ...

Perhaps to the astonishment of the few students who pretend to listen to me, I routinely state in my classes that none of the courses I teach will get them any job. I tell them ... well, here is Bryan Caplan, who, apparently, says the same kind of things (ht):
what matters is how much education you have compared to competing workers.  When education levels rise, employers respond with higher standards; when education levels fall, employers respond with lower standards.  We're on a treadmill.  If voters took this idea seriously, my close friends and I could easily lose our jobs.  As a professor, it is in my interest for the public to continue to believe in the magic of education: To imagine that the ivory tower transforms student lead into worker gold. 

My conscience, however, urges me to blow the whistle on the system anyway.  Education is not magic.  Professors can't make students better at whatever job awaits them with learned lectures on arcane topics.  I'm glad I have a dream job for life.  I worked hard for it.  But society would be better off if taxpayers saved their money, students spent fewer years in school, and sheltered academics like me finally entered the Real World and found a real job.
If only my faculty and administrative colleagues would pay at least a little bit of attention to what Caplan says, even if they want to continue to summarily dismiss my thoughts on this issue :)

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