Friday, December 02, 2005

Higher education

When I understand what she's writing about, I love Jane Galt, who I think is really named Meagan McCardle because that's what Glenn Reynolds calls her, though I've never seen it clarified anywhere.

She asks,
Why does it matter whether education is functionally useful, or merely a signalling mechanism that tells employers you're a good risk? Because if education actually increases people's skills, then society can increase economic productivity by sending more people to college--at least if we assume that there are people not currently attending college who have the cognitive gifts to benefit from higher education.
I guess we could send more people to college if education is functionally useful, but then would society pay for business school, but not liberal arts schools? My liberal arts education doesn't seem to have been at all useful for me out in the non-educational working world.

But then how much education does it take to spritz people in malls with perfume during the holidays. Okay, it was never that bad, though back in my airline days, we used to joke it was almost that bad.

What did an English major a major in English do for Jane?
to be honest, what an undergraduate English major did was "teach me to regurgitate the political opinions of my professors in essays ostensibly about literature". This is not a skill that I have been called upon to use since in either my personal or professional lives. I learned to think critically in business school, five years later, and only after I'd already acquired substantial logical problem-solving ability through troubleshooting computer networks for years.
Grad school--In my case I wish those Stafford loans had come with a warning in bold letters. WARNING: MAY CAUSE DOUBT IN SELF, OTHER STUDENTS AND WORLD.

Check out the post. Her commenters make some pretty educated remarks themselves.


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