The inherent bias in the hypothesis that a college education will make a person more employable, have more income, or worthy to become a citizen of the United States is very simple: all of the people touting these ideals have college educations.
This bias has been reinforced by the idea by employers that a college degree somehow magically bestows upon you some glamour that will cause you to be the perfect worker. Proven experience in a field, such as KurtP's, counts for naught compared to a four-year credential. Even in my field, for the higher positions, they are wanting folks with a PhD (hint, there is no PhD in my field--Directors and the like tend to have EdDs (a totally useless degree or degrees in completely unrelated fields, like Communications or English) so my 15 years of experience in the field are peanuts compared to someone fresh out of school with a doctorate in literature.
George Leef in the National Review Online posits that the reason that college grads (many of whom cannot write a coherent sentence to save their souls or complete a simple math problem) is caused by 'credential inflation'. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune article linked by KurtP details a person who is working as a debt collector that has a degree in political science (one of the most useless degrees in the world, second only to religious studies). Even the business management grads are not exempt--one is earning a grand $14,000 as a direct-care staffer. In an article by Eric Felten in the Wall Street Journal, he references a book where the authors researched college sophomore learning and found that they learned nothing in their first two years of college (those same two years that the Dream Act bill says is enough to become a citizen of the United States). This enforces the results of a separate study that showed that graduating college seniors actually know LESS about civics and history coming out of college than they did going in. Let's not even go into the debt-load carried by these students coming out of college.
SO, why are folks such as Obama and Sen. Lugar convinced that a college education is an 'investment' in the future? Why are there groups such as the Lumina Foundation out there whose raison d'etre is to get more people into college with mounting evidence to the contrary of their collective belief that a college education is the panacea of all ills and the avenue to greatness?
At the base of it, it is because it is all they know. They do not hold the trades--electricians, mechanics, plumbers in any type of esteem (they call them if they need something but wouldn't let a mere tradesman use their bathroom). Experience and hard-won knowledge and apprenticeships are foreign to them. They cannot relate to the idea of a hard-day's work for a day's pay or understand the satisfaction of looking over a new-plowed field, or the sound of a well-tuned engine being sweeter than the music of whatever pop star is currently en vogue. And because they do not understand these things, they would not lower themselves to include the masses (especially those whose viewpoints are different than theirs) into their conversations about the value of higher education. If they did, they might find themselves having to re-evaluate their position, and they would never allow that.
2 years ago