We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Sorry but my eyes were rolling so hard after the first paragraph, I couldn’t go on. After making breakfast, getting 4 kids ready and chauffeuring them to chatecism he’s just exhausted. Poor baby.. probably should just had a couple of goldfish and called it good.
I found the article to be neither cynical nor sad. The author is merely reporting on the assertions of a well-known George Mason academic who addresses higher education only. Caplan does not venture into the fields of Sunday School, community schools or the school of hard knocks. His views on college and university education is neither novel nor new. The idea that every person in the US should or deserves to attend college or university is a progressive fantasy
What Jim said. The subhead and initial paragraphs are far too general about Caplan's views. He's talking specifically about the degree(s) usually cited as career prep on a resume, not education or schools.
Of course a degree is signaling. If it weren't, we'd just audit some classes and do a little directed reading. We get the diploma so we have a shorthand way to assuring a third person that we completed a course of study that's been reviewed by an institution with a reputation. Ditto for my law license.
I learned a lot of esoteric things in college. To this day I don't think any of them were a waste of time. That's not to say I "use" them often in the mundane tasks of getting food on the table or keeping a roof over our heads. On the other hand, my parents didn't spend a quarter of a million dollars getting me a gold-plated resume. They didn't have that kind of money, and I doubt they'd have spent it if they had. They just assumed that anyone who enjoyed the life of the mind would benefit from going to a challenging school.
I know I'm late to the party, but just to re-iterate what others have said, the sub-title of the book is "Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money". It's the system known as "education" that the author is condemning as far too expensive, too bureaucratized, too focused on credentialism over actual learning, and pushed on far too many kids that don't really benefit from a real education.
Of course, many of us have been pointing out for years that the standard - and sole - proposed fix for education is to throw more money at the schools when obviously that solution doesn't work. The real problem is the innumerates running things that insist we can all be above average and refuse to admit that some people have gotten all the book-learning they're capable of absorbing by about the fifth grade or the eighth grade and need to be turned toward learning a useful trade.
Just as an example, when I was in school you had to pass Math 101 to meet your math requirement for your degree but the college offered both Math 099 (12th grade math) and Math 098 (9th grade math) as non-credit remedial courses. There was some discussion about adding a Math 097 but the faculty apparently had some standards and bucked at the idea that the school might be admitting as college students kids who couldn't even pass an eighth-grade proficiency exam.
An appalling number of college students these days need remedial classes, in all sorts of subjects, indicating that they're not really college material. But the colleges need the tuition money to pay the horde of administrators they've got running the place and it should be obvious that colleges exist to provide good-paying jobs for bureaucrats and educating children is at best a secondary purpose.
I question the Dept of Ag statistic that it costs a middle class family $250,000 to raise a child from birth to 17. By whose standard? That doesn't include college, and assumes public school, since few middle class families pay for private school (although we did). That has to be a high estimate. It's about 15,000 a year or 300 per week.
If the adult parents are already living in an average home, the extra space required to house 2 children is just 1 bedroom. Since there are almost no single bedroom houses in the US, I assume that most couples already live in a 2 bedroom apartment or home. (We raised our children in a house a lot like the one my grandparents raised their children in, a modest 1920's era Dutch Colonial, 3 bedroom 1 bathroom in a medium sized town).
The cost of food and clothing for a child is negligible. From experience, most of the costs incurred (piano lessons, karate, summer camps) are not necessities at all.
I'm just trying to make the point that young couples should not be dissuaded by what looks like a significant cost. I have 4 grown children we raised pretty frugally. They weren't spoiled, they now have good jobs, and they are the best "million dollar" investment I can imagine.
It reminds me of the joke that GM was a large retirement and benefits program with a small car-manufacturing sideline. The public schools add a bit of baby-sitting and political indoctrination to the jobs program for graduates of teachers colleges, but education got left behind a long time ago.