"The philosophy being fed to young people is best summed up by the title of the book 'Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow'. No one has warned them of the dangers of student loans. No one is making any profit from warning people of the dangers of student loans. Colleges and lenders have an unholy alliance to get young people into debt. ... The country would be better off with no special protections or guarantees for student loans at all. This would instantly solve the problem of people graduating with boatloads of debt, because they wouldn't have access to any credit. The post-secondary educational system is a negative-sum arms race in which people are required to out-credential their competition in order to get into decent career tracks; there is very little human capital being created", my emphasis, Half Sigma (HS) at Half Sigma, 26 August 2008. The link: http://www.halfsigma.com/2008/08/student-loans-article-in-the-ny-times.html.
"This is a problem that is pretty much unsolvable as long as our public beliefs are so far from reality. ... Most college majors do not entail learning anything useful but are obtained simply so the degree holder can get an entry level job where he will learn a trade. As a society we could get rid of these useless degrees if we acknowledge that IQ differences were of critical importance. Unfortunately the arrow of causality runs the other way. It's not that we refuse to (publicly) acknowledge IQ for some unknown reason but that academia is the main enforcer of the anti-IQ dogma because the idea is a direct threat to them", Steve Johnson comment to HS's post at Half Sigma.
"College is not all it's cracked up to be. Dumbed-down courses, flaky majors and grade inflation have conspired to make the letters B.A. meaningless. ... Students had to accept that they no longer get hugs for trying hard. If they didn't get the job done, they were flunked with as little ceremony as they would be fired by an employer. ... The demanding professor is close to being extinct. Due dates for papers are commonly extended when the student just can't get it done by then. ... Professors are under pressure to accomodate students even when it comes to right and wrong answers. ... Barrett Seaman, whose book Binge is the indispensable guide to this new college world, found that his alma mater, Hamilton (1,700 students), now has 28 full-time people to manage student issues that in the 1960s were handled by only 3. Hamilton is not exceptional", Charles Murray at Forbes, 1 September 2008.
"'Reading makes a full man, conversation makes a ready man, and writing makes an exact man.' So Francis Bacon told us around 1600. Recently I have been wondering how Bacon's formula might apply to present-day college students. ... They will eagerly participate in discussion, play guitar on request, bend spoons by sleight of hand to demonstrate a point about American credulity. But on exams they rarely get to the heart of questions. ... During private interviews with these students the phrase, 'Well, isn't that what I said?' runs like a refrain down the corridors. To update Bacon, I am beginning to fear that colleges are turning out students who, though they may be wonderfully 'ready,' are also woefully empty and inexact. ... 'How are you?' for instance, is not an inquiry about health, but a statement of identity to the effect, 'I am not a dangerous person. We could be friends.' ... The discontinuity of speech, the interrupted ideas, the emotional swashing around persist. It is a peculiar thing that as the bodies of the young become more familar to each other their minds become ever more remote. ... To be exact is to be be somehow indecent. ... They do not like to be critical. They don't want to judge. But whereas not being critical of others is, in certain circumstances, a saintlike quality, being uncritical of life eliminates the capacity of choice. ... In a memorable essay on the decay of language George Orwell observed that when we begin to prefer the vague to the exact we reduce the range of our consciousness. ... Returning to school after seven years as a computer programming director, a student of mine told me tales of college graduates with master's degrees becoming gravely despondent in front of computers that would not respond to their misspelled command, 'Insirt'," my emphasis, William Aiken (WA) at the WSJ, 4 May 1982.
I agree with HS. It's time to end the educational credentials race. Let the 1950s "ban the bombers" set their sights on the college establishment.
I agree with SS, identifying the "social workers' full-employment" plan in 1965, 43 years ago! A couple on my block went from grant-to-grant studying "social problems". Looking at their work made me realize without "problems" they had nothing to do and they couldn't fix anything. But they could study things; to death. Disagreeing with SS, La Griffe solved the "education" problem in January 2004 at http://lagriffedulion.f2s.com/gap.htm. In 1965 I anticipated La Griffe's "Swiftian" solution, like the 1729 Modest Proposal, when studying my neighbors' work! Educational fads are old news, read "Flapdoodle", Time, 19 September 1949, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,800701,00.html.