Too many people are going to college

So says Charles Murray in his new book, Real Education. Actually that is one of four truths upon which he bases his argument. Here are all four.

Ability varies. Children differ in their ability to learn academic material. Doing our best for every child requires, above all else, that we embrace that simplest of truths. America’s educational system does its best to ignore it.

Half of the children are below average. Many children cannot learn more than rudimentary reading and math. Real Education reviews what we know about the limits of what schools can do and the results of four decades of policies that require schools to divert huge resources to unattainable goals.

Too many people are going to college. Almost everyone should get training beyond high school, but the number of students who want, need, or can profit from four years of residential education at the college level is a fraction of the number of young people who are struggling to get a degree. We have set up a standard known as the BA, stripped it of its traditional content, and made it an artificial job qualification. Then we stigmatize everyone who doesn’t get one. For most of America’s young people, today’s college system is a punishing anachronism.

America’s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted. An elite already runs the country, whether we like it or not. Since everything we watch, hear, and read is produced by that elite, and since every business and government department is run by that elite, it is time to start thinking about the kind of education needed by the young people who will run the country. The task is not to give them more advanced technical training, but to give them an education that will make them into wiser adults; not to pamper them, but to hold their feet to the fire.

The universality of college is based in the Supreme Court’s Griggs and Albermarle decisions against testing job applicants. Requiring a college degree sorts out a certain number of “unacceptable” job candidates just as pre-employment testing once did (and a watered-down college degree is an even more questionable requirement for many jobs than a high school degree was in the original Griggs case). The appearance of this book and the reaction to it promises to be a good show.

And it promises to be more than spectator sport. It may influence home education as well. Tom Wolfe blurbs the book on Amazon:

“Charles Murray is one professional contrarian who cannot be written off–not since his first book, Losing Ground, led to a complete restructuring of America’s welfare system. At first Real Education, with its plan for identifying “the elite,” may strike you as an elaboration of his hotly contested views on IQ. But suddenly–swock!–he pops a gasper: a practical plan for literally reproducing, re-creating, a new generation of Jeffersons, Adamses, Franklins, and Hamiltons, educated, drilled, steeped, marinated in those worthies’ concern for the Good and Virtuous with a capital V–nothing less than an elite of Founding Great-great-great-great-great Grandchildren.”

—Tom Wolfe

That would be spectacular!


Trackposted to Pet’s Garden Blog, The Virtuous Republic, third world county, Allie is Wired, 123beta, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Democrat=Socialist, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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One thought on “Too many people are going to college

  1. Not only are too many going to college, but the current idea of high school as a college prep course (while failing to actually teach much of worth anyway), that college is the goal of public education (more properly called “prisons for kids”) has contributed to both the failure of modern high school “education” but swamped greedy schools of supposed “higher education” with students who aren’t even able to read, who are innumerate and lacking the fundamental intellectual horsepower for academic pursuits and so… inevitably bring about the dumbing down of college courses.

    Well, I guess that’s just fine, because more and more college “professors” are subliterate morons themselves, and the big money for administrators and cushy tenured professorships would dry up if the students ever caught wise to the con job the schools have pulled on them. Just think of the academically unprepared and intellectually ill-equipped flocking to college to put themselves into heavy debt with loans as full employment for Academia Nut Fruitcakes.

    See? Doesn’t that make it all better?

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