[Prime] The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money (English Edition) Autor Bryan Caplan – Paydayloansnsi.co.uk

The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money (English Edition) I was both validated and distressed by this book validated because I agree that the value of school comes not from its usefulness but from the signals it sends, and distressed because I disagree with his interpretation of what those signals mean Like Caplan, I believe our obsession with academic success is toxic, both for individuals and society I see academic credentials as a perverse currency, necessary for gaining acceptance in a culture that believes they have real value But inflation is rendering them less and less valuable, requiring and education for those who want to distinguish themselves from those below And that s part of the problem the goal of education is almost always to distinguish oneself from those below while gaining acceptance from those above It is the engine of a hierarchical culture that conditions belonging on judgment of worth It is an incredibly inefficient and oppressive system for transferring real knowledge and skills that monopolizes our lives with counter productive behavioral conditioning and questionable moral assumptions.My discomfort with Bryan Caplan s interpretation of this problem is that he manages to tear apart the system, something I see as necessary, while preserving the status of the most academically accomplished as innately intelligent, something I see as unforgivable He managed to shore up the value of his own signal while tearing down the system it s based on I m appalled that people will take his statistics and his interpretation as evidence that college is appropriate for those intelligent enough to benefit from transformative education while vocational training is appropriate for everyone else.I ve come to believe that most academic success is based on our need for respect and belonging The people who get the furthest are the most motivated for its stamp of approval, and the most appalled at ignorance They tend to come from homes where education is framed as society s savior, and mistake its enormous reach as a sign of its benevolence At least Caplan counters that old myth The education system is filled with people who want good, meaningful lives and can t quite figure out what s missing What s missing is a structure that supports the democratic ideals it claims to teach Structurally, it s a self serving, coercive system that claims a moral authority it has no right to, and serves goals it can t achieve A compulsory system in which each of us is working to raise our status relative to the whole has division and inequality woven into its very fabric A compulsory system that judges worth while constricting behavior prevents growth than it fosters.That it focuses its judgments on a narrow band of intellectual abilities is a problem, but expanding its realm to vocational training, without removing its compulsion, just expands the scope of its damage I agree with many of the damning facts Caplan exposes, but his interpretation is mired in the same screwed up measurement of human value that keeps the system running. This is an important book, one which all educators, parents, students, taxpayers and policy makers should read and absorb The title is a bit overwrought but the subject is of vast importance and the points of the book are argued rigorously Bryan Caplan is a Berkeley Princeton trained economist who teaches at George Mason He is a libertarian by political inclination but he says that his views on education were formed long before his views on politics were As an economist he sometimes says things that appear to be crass at the same time, as an economist, he says things that are supported by the data even though we might not want to hear them.The essential argument concerns job skills and the fact that American education including higher education does not prepare students for jobs in the real world Their coursework is still based on 19thc and earlier models in which individuals were trained to be clergymen, medical doctors or lawyers That coursework is now largely dated, irrelevant, boring and out of touch with both student interests and the jobs that they might realistically seek Everyone studies history but there are very few jobs for historians and the vast majority of students forget whatever history they might have learned in school Thus, their time and tuition dollars are wasted they suffer through tedious material and, now, in their adulthood, don t know any history anyway.So why go to college, when college does not, in most cases, prepare you for useful work Note that a great number of STEM trained students do not end up working in STEM related fields The answer lies in the nature of the labor market Employers seek three characteristics in potential employees intelligence, conscientiousness and the ability to conform They want bright people who have demonstrated their ability to apply themselves, keep on task, do what is expected of them, take orders from superiors and operate successfully in an environment which might be dull, soporific and tedious Being able to secure a high school diploma and or being able to secure a college degree are central to that process Formal education, which is completed, signals the student applicant s abilities in this regard What you learned is of far less importance than what you have demonstrated that you are able to do in a setting that may well bear no relationship to the job for which you are applying Professor Caplan estimates the amount of return based on signaling at approximately 80%.Given the public investment in education and the vacuity of the process itself we should focus instead on those basics which will pay off in the world of work reading, writing and mathematics and channel our now wasted resources elsewhere The points are made in approximately 300 pp of closely reasoned text, with bar graphs galore and number crunching aplenty.While the author argues that he is not the philistine he may appear to be at first sight, he does argue that most students are philistines and that they have very little interest in the traditional elements of the liberal arts core curriculum He sees the value in these areas of study but the students and the marketplace do not Take, for example, the study of foreign languages The simple fact is that there are very few jobs in the world for translators vs plumbers, mechanics and electricians, e.g Most students do not enjoy the study of foreign languages and almost never gain actual fluency in those languages It is certainly true that an individual might study Italian in order to be able to read Dante, but how many such individuals are there in this world and to what degree should we bend our curriculum in order to somehow lure or persuade or encourage an individual or two to have such a goal The numbers are all on his side as is the experience of all faculties young and old He says that when we teach we teach in the hopes of reaching three or four students in a class, knowing that the others are not interested in the material and will make no future use of the material I believe that most higher ed teachers will agree with this and that they will also say that the problem has gotten worse and worse as and come to college out of the necessity created by credential creep.In some ways I believe that he understates the problem When he talks about required high school courses he talks about Latin and Greek, e.g The liberal arts core which bores college students is now largely non existent in top colleges and universities The introductory courses are largely taught by contingent faculty and graduate assistants, since tenure track faculty are neither interested in teaching them nor in a day of hyper specialization actually capable of teaching them It is also the case that the courses taken outside of students majors are nearly always introductory courses, so that students stare at PowerPoint slides or, preferably, have the teacher s lecture notes emailed to them so that they need not attend class , memorize bullet points or study sheets for the exam and then promptly forget the material forever.While he cites the Arum Roksa study, ACADEMICALLY ADRIFT, and notes that students now spend a minimum of time studying and a maximum of time socializing he does not emphasize two facts lax standards are the order of the day among the professoriate, lax standards which are pressed on them by corporatist administrators who seek to maximize tuition whatever the academic cost These administrators are now largely bureaucrats rather than academic leaders and they are best served by a growth in direct reports and programs for which they can take credit when seeking their next job Such non line administrators as assistant vice provosts have increased by 91% in recent decades non teaching academic staff have increased by 240% These individuals want to swell the ranks of tuition payers at any cost With regard to the faculty two anecdotes When I took my first serious course in the second half of the 18thc an over under course for undergrads as well as master s students , the teacher had the registration staff hand out notes at the registration table, informing us that we should have read Boswell s LIFE OF JOHNSON 1400 pp or less by the first class This represented perhaps 20% of the total course readings now no one would dream of doing that unless the book was the only text in an entire course Second anecdote just before his recent death M.H Abrams the first editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature discussed the book with its current editor, Stephen Greenblatt Abrams commented that a book that was once a standard text in freshman and sopho survey courses is now used by advanced doctoral students to prepare for their comprehensive exams.So how are serious, curious, dedicated students supposed to encounter material that was once the province of educated elites Most humans intrigued by abstract ideas and high culture are working adults Instead of lamenting youthful apathy, passionate educators should redirect their energy to humans who are ready for enlightenment p 261.I wish he had pursued that argument in greater detail For 17 years I had the opportunity to teach in the Liberal Studies Program at Georgetown The program was designed for working adults who wanted to read Plato It was expressly stated that there would be no vocational dimension to the program and that prospective students who should be out of school for at least 3 years should not expect to use it to secure employment or promotion This was the largest liberal studies program in the country, with approximately 400 students drawing from an area population of 4,000,000 It was the most memorable and gratifying teaching experience of my life The students would routinely read the recommended materials as well as the required ones and saw their classes as the most interesting and engaging part of their week.I will spare the reader other comments but urge you to obtain this book and give it your most serious attention. Everyone knows that college grads earn a lot than high school grads But why is that the case Most people assume that it s because people learn a lot in college and the labor market rewards that knowledge with higher salaries Caplan strongly disagrees, arguing that earning a college degree is mainly a signal to employers that you are a diligent and hard working person who conforms to society s norms In other words, employers don t expect that you ve learned much in college and, as Caplan shows, most people don t You can probably think of many objections to this argument and Caplan assesses all of them I m not entirely convinced of his conclusions, partly because it would require reading academic papers across a variety of disciplines to properly evaluate Caplan s argument But, at the very least, he has raised the important question of whether much of the time and money that students, their parents, and the government lavish on college might be wasted.Although the book is grounded in the academic literature, it s mostly non technical, and Caplan s discussion should be accessible to most readers He writes in a light style and peppers his discussion with anecdotes from his own experience as a student and as a professor at George Mason.A book well worth reading Cogently Argued Megan McArdle, Washington PostA Wake Up Call For All Americans Ian Lindquist, Weekly Standard The Case Against Education Is A Case Of Caplan Being Right Charles Fain Lehman, Washington Free Beacon Caplan Argues Devastatingly That College Is, For Many Of Those Who Go There, A Boondoggle Kyle Smith, National ReviewWhy We Need To Stop Wasting Public Funds On EducationDespite Being Immensely Popularand Immensely Lucrativeeducation Is Grossly Overrated Now With A New Afterword By Bryan Caplan, This Explosive Book Argues That The Primary Function Of Education Is Not To Enhance Students Skills But To Signal The Qualities Of A Good Employee Learn Why Students Hunt For Easy As Only To Forget Most Of What They Learn After The Final Exam, Why Decades Of Growing Access To Education Have Not Resulted In Better Jobs For Average Workers, How Employers Reward Workers For Costly Schooling They Rarely Ever Use, And Why Cutting Education Spending Is The Best Remedy Romantic Notions About Education Being Good For The Soul Must Yield To Careful Research And Common Sense The Case Against Education Points The Way


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