School is a complex system. Take it apart. Figure out how it works. Adapt the pieces to make it do something useful for you. In short, hack school. It shocks me that a site devoted to "Hacker" news hasn't guessed that school is begging to be hacked, and makes me wonder how many true hackers there actually are.
Of course one possible hack is to follow a path of least resistance and emerge after 4 years with nothing but "signaling." But it's not the only hack. Signaling in the absence of real education could be viewed as a pitfall of school, not its purpose. A dark pattern, if you will.
In another age, this message would have been expressed by elders to their children in some sort of patronizing way, such as: "What you get out of college depends on what you put into it." I've certainly told this to my kids, along with the somewhat more detailed explanation about hacking.
The coding interview is a clue. At its core is a question: "How did you hack school to your advantage?"
Can school be hack-proofed? Experience with complex systems suggests this might not be a good idea, as it can kill the good hacks along with the bad, or make even worse hacks emerge.
Certainly school can be used for any purpose (perhaps that's a truism). But the author's point also includes the fact that the market (and society) is largely indifferent to what you learn at school.
In order to "Hack" school we need to be real with ourselves about what the world after school looks like.
- I've never been asked GPA once (one data point)
- Most technical questions I get asked are basic and solvable with a hash map
- I've never been asked to write a proof as part of an interview
- My degrees (business/psychology) have never been useful in my career.
- Many many people have asked my wear I went to college, and I can tell they care about the name of the school first and foremost.
- Regardless of intellect, positions at the level director and above seem to be assigned very unpredictably (luck/politics/privilege?)
* Most technical questions are basic because most "technical" jobs are very basic. However, there are people out there building operating systems kernels, secured software, and life-critical systems; I'm reasonably assured that you would have to demonstrate more than competence with a hash map.
* I too have never been asked to write a proof. But, thanks to my education, the techniques needed to write a proof are rather ingrained with how I understand writing code.
* I, too, ask people where they went to college, because if they went to the U. of Washington or Carnegie Mellon or someplace like that, I can't assume they'll know Kantian ethics but I can assume they'll have learned something; I can't make that assumption if they went to the U. of Phoenix, ITT Tech, or EPRI.
* Positions at the level of director do seem to be assigned by luck/politics/privilege. Positions at the level of internal medicine specialist, structural engineer, and the like tend not to be.
Signaling doesn't buy you much. At least in engineering, because a technical interview will sort out whether or not you actually demonstrate basic programming skills very quick.
Software Engineering is a notable exception, most other fields don't quiz as part of the job interview process: soft skills and credentials or state licenses or bar exams are relied upon more heavily. Maybe signaling matters more in these fields? Again, signaling is no measure of real skill.
Obviously, like most people I'm upset about the pay-to-play scheme but in reality very, very few people choose that option. 99.9%+ of applications are not pay-to-play, so we should still hold a good deal of faith in our higher education system. It is imperfect and has many issues, but this article title is broadly incorrect about the purpose of higher education today.
> Researchers consistently find that most of education’s payoff comes from graduation, from crossing the academic finish line. The last year of high school is worth more than the first three; the last year of college is worth more than double the first three. This is hard to explain if employers are paying for acquired skills; do schools really wait until senior year to impart useful training?
My first company that hired me out of college got a much better deal waiting for me to complete my senior year. Yes, each year isn't worth the same. This makes sense. Senior year was my capstone -- building valuable communication skills in a team environment. Year 1? I was finishing the basics of CS 101. Of course the last year is worth more than the first.
Would you pay 50% the price for a half-finished version of Microsoft Word? Probably not. It'd be far less useful of a piece of software.
Finishing school is signaling that you are person that shows up in the morning for classes and puts up years of his life to do that. By any means I am hiring developer who is signaling that he is reliable and comes to work every day vs someone who is inconsistent.
I think the problem here is a bias due to the fact that the employment after earning their computer science degree is for many people not about the science part of it but rather about fairly mundane programming and general office work.
Good luck arguing that chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering, medicine and many other fields that require specific tools and environments in order to actually study not to mention make any progress in the field are all about signaling.
No one cares if medical students avail themselves of digital resources to help them through medical school. Good for them.
Show me how many practicing doctors passed the boards and made it through residency after ONLY using Youtube channels and flash cards to self-educate.
Some people rely on the 'free' resources more than others. The real question is where is the cutoff percentage at. Say someone got 95% of what they know only from free resources and passed boards swimmingly. That sure don't look good on the med-school.
Say 95% of the entire class got 95% of the learning through Youtube/Anki and 95% of them passed boards. At such a percentage, med-school is all but useless to the general public that they serve. May as well get rid of them.
Granted, I don't think it's anywhere near that kind of level of dereliction that the med-schools are at (Cadaver Lab is an obvious counterpoint). But, where is the cut-off point for the schools and society? It's not 5% of the material being learned outside of them, that's fine I think. But if 95% is 'learned' outside the lectures, then yeah, that's a real bad sign.
It's a complicated question and the answer will likely be more complex and will evolve from class to class and year to year.
Have you a real, physical example of someone who "got 95% of what they know only from free resources and passed boards swimmingly"?
Here in the UK, a large proportion of healthcare is delivered by healthcare professionals other than doctors. If I go to my GP (family doctor) with a minor ailment, I'm likely to be treated by a Nurse Practitioner, who may have a Master's degree in nursing or may have never attended college at all. If I have a minor surgery, the surgery might be performed by a Surgical Care Practitioner working under the supervision of a consultant surgeon.
Lambda School have conclusively shown that it doesn't take four years to make someone into an employable software developer. How many other job skills could be taught through a short bootcamp programme, intensive vocational training or on-the-job training?
That’s not accurate. Law school requires any degree followed by three years of a law degree. Now that’s pure signalling. Every other Anglophone country bar Canada has undergraduate law degrees instead of requiring what amount to two undergraduate degrees.
Medical degrees in the US are similar in that you complete an undergraduate degree before you can get into medical school and get a MD or DO. Some countries have the MBBS degree which is a bachelor level degree that can be started right after the equivalent of high school.
A three year degree with plentiful coursework and no research component is not exactly a central example of a doctorate. M.D.s, D.D.S.s and J.D.s are called professional doctorates in the US and a second-entry bachelor’s degree in Canada.
> Medical degrees in the US are similar in that you complete an undergraduate degree before you can get into medical school and get a MD or DO. Some countries have the MBBS degree which is a bachelor level degree that can be started right after the equivalent of high school.
Some countries are everywhere apart from the US, Canada and former US colonies like the Philippines. Undergraduate medical education is the norm everywhere though postgraduate programmes are extending across the globe.
There is also other side of coin, doctors who are really experienced in some area are going to be expensive. There is also a lot of people who you can treat by googling stuff. Of course they should not take pills without second hand opinion, but not everyone needs brain surgery. If you get viral infection or bacterial infection you have to send stuff to lab, and lab returns results in readable way, so even GP (general practitioner) is not needed. Once I even got my blood tests and "GP" (my first contact doctor since I am not in UK) was like: "yeah I dunno, I usually get older folks with those specific problems so I cannot really help you". Boy that was nice, because you can go to some ass who thinks he has to know everything and that would be annoying.
Be humble, even as developer you don't get to know everything. Don't think doctors, mechanical engineers know all.
I've worked with people with previous job experience that have gone through 10-week coding programs. And it shows. They might've been taught a framework or a language, but their computer science skills aren't nearly as developed. Some things take years to click, and growth occurs from years of writing bad code.
Were they useless? Were they worse than useless? Or were they just not as good as a more experienced developer?
I'm not arguing that college has no value, but that it's bad value for money. If someone can become a useful-but-flawed developer after a short bootcamp, surely it's better for them to learn on the job while earning a living rather than mortgage their future on four years of education.
If college were free to the student and cheap for society, sure, send everyone and don't worry about it. That's not the case though - an entire generation have been saddled with vast, unmanageable levels of student debt. We need to be asking serious questions about how much and what kind of education is really necessary to produce skilled workers.
You don't need college to write years of bad code. Internships or hobby projects do fine.
Depends on my ailment. Most of the time people go to the doctor they are told to get some rest and maybe prescribed something. I don't think that needs 8 years of medical school. And doctor's don't even necessarily do a good job at prescriptions either, since they tend to over-prescribe in the US
What takes 8 years of medical school is knowing when not to tell the patient that. When telling the patient to go home and rest could result in severe illness or death.
Nobody in charge is doing the "extra training increases costs by X which decreases availability by X which causes X damage vs lack of training causes X' damage" calculation -- everybody just argues for more training every time there's a problem, with the inevitable result of our stupendously expensive outlier of a medical system with middling measured performance and poor, ever-worsening accessibility.
That's not a fair comparison. A better question would be: "Would you go to a Doctor that spent 9 years learning on the job or 9 years in school?"
Besides I'd assume with this setup the future doctor wouldn't start with brain surgery. Maybe stitch up cuts and set broken bones, working up into more complicated scenarios.
I mean, I've always done my own minor doctoring anyway. And people did for a long time, it's only recently a long stint in college was required.
Granted this approach had variable levels of success, but the idea you have to have formal schooling to fix up any health problems I'm not sure I buy.
The article is about the fact that school does not show that "developer ... is signaling that he is reliable and comes to work every day"
The whole point of the article is there is zero correlation between people who've graduated from college and people who haven't in term of how well they do on the job.
It sounds counter intuitive. There's like 3 situations
1. College trains you more than non-college
2. College doesn't train you but shows you're willing to stick things out more than people who didn't go
3. College does nothing what-so-ever (no difference in job performance from hiring people who did or didn't go to college)
The author of the article is claiming 100 years of research has shown it's #3. People will let you in the door because you have the paper (diploma) but they are fooling themselves that that paper has any meaning relative to hiring people without that paper
Here's another interview with the same author
again, I am not agreeing nor disagreeing with the article. I'm only clarifying what it's trying to say
Let me add though, the author is claiming this is true in aggregate. Not for your personal anecdote.
... among the population who have been hired to do the job. This is conditioning on the collider. The people without a degree who got in are a highly selected sample compared to all people without degrees. Anyone who used this to argue that a degree wasn’t a strong useful signal Wouk be making the same mistake as those trying to get rid of the GRE in graduate admissions because in the population admitted the GRE doesn’t predict anything. If it did that would show under or overweighting ofbthe signal it sends. Zero correlation shows it has been given appropriate weight.
Reread the title of the article.
The question is whether an individual would benefit from college even if everyone's college was enrollment/graduation status was kept secret from everyone, even classmates.
This is not what the article says. It's saying employers hire graduates because they're better employees, but college mostly didn't make them better. This is closer to your option 2. (We are talking about the OP, the Caplan editorial, right?)
Caplan is saying college is mostly an expensive arms race. It has to be expensive (in students' time and attrition through boringness/difficulty, if nothing else) to be an effective signal. Subsidies in recent decades have made it even more expensive.
Not sure about others but I tried my damnedest not to take morning classes unless I absolutely had to -- most semesters I had nothing before 11am or noon. The flexible scheduling was one of my favorite things about college. I did take one 8AM class and thinking back I have no idea how I didn't completely bomb it -- I showed up pretty sparsely after the first week or two.
Doesn't everyone complain about how technical interviews only measure how well the candidate is prepared for technical interviews? With that in mind, I'd argue that the willingness to prepare for a technical interview has become just another signal. Also you go against your argument just after:
> My first company that hired me out of college got a much better deal waiting for me to complete my senior year. Yes, each year isn't worth the same. This makes sense. Senior year was my capstone -- building valuable communication skills in a team environment.
Firms can not measure soft skills accurately, so this returns right back into the value of the college degree as a signal. You get points for attending a school which provided a teamwork-oriented final course. It's your final grade that matters, not what you learned in that course. You might have developed better skills than the rest of the cohort, but it's meaningless if you didn't get a better grade then them. Everyone would rightfully assume that the others have better developed skills than you, because that's what the current system is able to measure.
One final unrelated point:
> Would you pay 50% the price for a half-finished version of Microsoft Word? Probably not. It'd be far less useful of a piece of software.
The utility of added features is diminishing. It'd be worth a lot more than half, or Microsoft would just keep on piling features and raise the price quadratically (or with some power above one).
Many do. I used to believe that was because they had never sat on the other side of the table and seen how many people were just trying to bluff their way through without the ability to do anything.
Now, I am much more bitterly cynical.
The 80-20 rule applies to software: 20% of the feature set is used 80% of the time. Mid-way through development, it's likely the 20% may not be complete. It was a poor analogy.
License and bar exams are more serious than people in technology are willing and ready to admit. They serve the role of quizzes because the "passing score" requires a baseline of knowledge that the quizzes attempt to establish. This isn't a matter of signaling so much as the effectiveness of the testing process. The fact that software companies cannot rely on these factors is a poor reflection of the industry.
Practically speaking, there's nothing stopping the JS foundation from developing a curriculum, standard test and credential.
The other issue is that there are layers of other skills that also evolve every few years.
So to create a "bar exam" for a front-end web engineer, for example, you would need a completely different version every two years or so.
But then probably a bigger problem is that software engineering requires certain types of problem solving and to get a realistic idea of problem solving abilities of a person at large enough scale problems you would need a huge investment into the testing infrastructure and varied content. You would need sophisticated programs to test the applicants programs. And people to review code. And those tests would quickly go out of date.
Then the other thing is that there is so much variation in the types of languages or frameworks or tools used, it is questionable whether it is meaningful to test on some lowest-common-denominator set of tools at all, if you could find enough agreement on such a thing (e.g. Angular vs React, React vs Vue).
I'm honestly surprised nobody has tried to make that a thing. It'd save companies so much in time and effort if they could just say "yup, this person has the credential".
Most of them were vendor specific and so sucked.
Others were too low-level and so were meaningless, or never had any buy-in from anyone. They sucked.
Finally, can you image the same crowd that complains about technical interviews responding to a bar exam? "I haven't ever had to write a binary tree in my 30-years of real-world experience! Why would I have to do it for your test?!" That would suck.
you don't get those in any school. your school's signaling secured that.
Does going to a top 10 law school matter more than graduating from a Top 10 CS program?
Many other industries tend to recruit only out of top universities, and getting into them if you didn't go to one is basically impossible. Management consulting, investment banking, hedge funds, philanthropy, many managerial government positions. The way you get into these is through going to a school that places lots of people into those industries, and then work the network.
(at least the bimodal bit and ivy->faa[n]g route)
I have both law and software engineering degrees and I can tell you without a doubt that yes, the school you graduate from matters much more in law.
"Software engineering" doesn't have much to do with either software (it's mostly generic project management) or engineering (ask an engineer: vector calculus! statics, dynamics and thermodynamics!)
Isn’t this how Steve Jobs treated college? And “Apple” was his “diploma”?
So, look at the qualifying exams, see what might study, and while attending classes attend the ones that can help with the exams.
In addition, might have available some profs to answer questions.
In addition, likely one way to impress Princeton or any university is to publish, and one way to start to do that is to attend research seminars and see what some of the open questions are, also notice what some of the profs and grad students are working on. So, this way get some guidance on what might attack as a research problem.
I got a good pure/applied math Ph.D. Well over 50% of what I needed and used for courses, the qualifying exams, and my research was what I'd studied independently after my 4 year college degree and start of grad school.
Then a grad course in optimization gave a good introduction to the Kuhn-Tucker condition, maybe say Karush-Kuhn-Tucker. After the course I saw a tricky question about the constraint qualifications, didn't see an answer in the library, so signed up for a 'reading course' to 'investigate' the question. Two weeks later I had a nice, clean solution, wrote it up, and was done with the course -- two weeks. Later I published. There I'd noticed that my work also answered a question stated but not solved in the famous Arrow, Hurwicz, Uzawa paper applying the KKTC to economics. I published in JOTA.
So, a 'walk in' student at Princeton might have been able to have done much the same. With such research and passing the qualifying exams they would be on the way to a Princeton Ph.D.
UT Austin, at the time I was there, used the other (and better, I think) method: breadth and depth graduate classes, typically more advanced versions of advanced undergrad classes. The breadth classes covered most of CS, while the depth classes were more introductions to specific areas of research.
Edit: Oral quals are just hazing, in my opinion.
Maybe the first was as a senior. I got Kelley, General Topology and once a week gave a lecture to a prof! One week a chapter, and the next some exercises! It was fun!
The next time was on a written qualifying exam: The exam had an error, and I wasted time trying to prove it! I asked for an oral. One guy tried to haze me, but the other profs were nice, and I walked out with a rare "High Pass".
The third time was for my oral defense of my Ph.D. dissertation.
I was out running, and when I got back my wife said I'd gotten a phone call from a prof, the Chair of the committee that was to approve my dissertation -- no pushover, the Chair and a majority of the committee had to be from outside my department. Well, the Chair called me. Still with sweat from running, on my back on the bed, I had the actual oral exam! He had a question about one paragraph, so I reworded it, had my word processing retype the thing, and he was happy.
Then the fourth oral exam was the dissertation defense -- it was for show since the real one had been over the phone. The Chair looked really serious and let me look really serious and good.
Maybe there was one more: I'd rushed ahead in freshman calculus and done the first year on my own. Then I asked to start on sophomore calculus and never take freshman calculus. So, the prof gave me in effect an oral exam on freshman calculus. He concluded I'd passed and let me in sophomore calculus. He did say that he couldn't give me course credit for freshman calculus, but fine with me -- I just wanted to get going, get on with calculus, and not repeat what I'd just studied well.
Generals/Quals require 1-2years of graduate level study, not remedial undergrad, if you look at the material covered and the syllabus and levels assigned to courses at various colleges. It just so happens that at a school like Princeton, 1st year PhD students have already taken graduate level classes in their field, or equivalent self study.
Do you feel like you learned the material to a level that you would have had it been graded for you??
For the classes I sat in on, the motivation was that I was interested in the topic. But the social aspect really helped. Even though I wasn’t enrolled, knowing I was going through the same pain helped. I’m not surprised that MOOCs havn’t taken off like people assumed they would. There is nothing like sitting near people to really feel like doing something.
Besides, of course, getting to bounce ideas off each other, etc.
Btw did you ask the profs if you could take the exams , and did you? Were they willing to? They are usually a little averse to extra work lol.
Do you actually just show up? Or do you have to audit the class and register, but for free?
The irritating thing nowadays is that sometimes materials are behind a wall on the university website.
Anyway, society spends a lot of effort supporting students, from scholarships and tax exemptions to the social beliefs that allow the random person to spend several years doing nothing apparently productive without censure. But all that only applies to students actually enrolled---non-guerrilla students. Guerrilla studenting, as it was in the past, would only be the province of the idly wealthy. That, I think, is why no one tries that route.
At which point Princeton would enforce their membership rules but that's another atory
How did this person do in high school? Given high school is orders of magnitude more trivial, we can assume they were likely at or near the top of their classes, and probably would have shown remarkable results in skill assessment exams. And with that sort of motivation he also probably would have been involved in immense extracurricular and other such events. This person would likely have been able to get into any university he ever wanted.
Top universities do provide a certainly better than average education, but their main strength has nothing to do with their quality of education. It's the quality of their student body - which turns success stories into a self fulfilling prophecy. Imagine you start an 'basketball school' and only accept people that are at least 6'6", highly athletic, can dunk from x feet, run 100 meters in y seconds, etc. Go figure -- you're going to 'produce' a disproportionately huge number of NBA quality players simply because your admittance is already heavily biased to individuals who are already headed in that direction.
The point of this is that none of this has anything to do with signaling, but it also has very little to do with the quality of education received. The value of an e.g. Princeton degree is that you're the sort of person that could get accepted into Princeton which would be comparable to the sort of person that could get admitted to 'Basketball U'. Regardless of what happens during those 4 years, you're already almost certainly going to be ahead of 99% of the rest of the population. The degree just works as 'proof of filtering'. E.g. even if our basketball university had a pretty bad education system, you'd still see NBA quality players emerging from it at a way way higher rate than the population of non-admitted individuals.
I think this group is quite poorly served by our current system.
Adults with a newfound motivation are valuable and they know that. But just saying so isn't enough.
But leaving during undergrad (or just never going to college) then excelling in self-learning and industry seems to put you in a much more awkward position when it comes to continuing onward with education. You are far beyond most undergrad-level courses, but in most cases you need that bachelor's degree to even be considered for grad-level programs--or at least I believe that's the case? You end up needing to waste years of your life and tons of money just to qualify for the courses that would actually teach you something new.
So perhaps the problem is as much that there just aren't compelling tracks offered to people who don't fit neatly into the lines as it is about admissions flexibility.
That is precisely what signalling means. Top colleges pick only does who have signalled being over 99.99% of the population in things like intelligence, conformity and work ethics, then they filter out a bunch of them that never end up their degrees, and now their having their degree signals that you are a top 99.999% worker.
I think the sort that get accepted to these programs also tend to be the sort that would consider just sitting on the beach sipping martinis to be something that'd rapidly become hell. It's just boring. So you'd have a group of ultra highly driven people with 4 years of undirected self study, but also access to pretty much all the knowledge they could ever want in the era of the internet.
It's really impossible to predict, but I do think the results would be interesting and not necessarily what you're implying. In today's era of assumption of education = skill, we often forget things like the Wright Brothers were a highschool grad and a highschool dropout -- yet they effectively invented aeronautical engineering with some skills they picked up operating a bicycle repair shop. There's some major dissonance between what we, collectively, ought be doing today - and what we actually are doing. I think it's a mixture of exponential leaps in entertainment and a general worsening in the condition of entrepreneurship (imagine how laws you'd be breaking by trying to fly your own homemade airplane now a days!) Your idea would at least certainly help combat the latter simply because that's all there'd be to do!
This doesn't explain why a dropout (or even just someone with an acceptance letter but who never joined) isn't worth as much in the labor market as someone who finished the degree.
Ability. You’re talking about ability. Caplan estimates that on average the return from education is ~70% signalling and ability, 30% changes in human capital if I remember right.
Those two seem to me to be vastly different things.
Just because I build a cabinet out of good, knot-free straight boards doesn't mean the cabinet is all about the boards.
Welcome to Earth.
You are a human, and this is [country/city], in the year 2XXX.
We share this planet with many species, but we are the only ones we know that can talk and invent and build.
The light in the sky is a star, and there are other planets around it, but this is the only one we know that has life.
There are many other stars out there that you can see at night, and all of them have planets of their own, and maybe someday you will visit them.
You are in school so you can learn how to do what you want.
...and so on, while showing a montage of places, creatures and inventions. :)
History classes should focus on the inconveniences and uglinesses our species has plodded through ("We did not always have cars or phones or toilets.."), not just a droning journal of events.
Maybe some of you would be interested in creating a YouTube series like this? Perhaps like a Kurzgesagt  For Kids?
He audited all the classes he wanted to... no diploma, but what a great experience (and a great story....)
From the article:
Ponder this: If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn’t really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton, though, the guerrilla student would lack one precious thing: a diploma. The fact that almost no one tries this route — saving hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way — ....
From a personal standpoint, did it help/enrich him?
As for office hours, I never went to any, but I assume that they're not going to check your student ID, just as they don't check before lectures.
Tutorials were run by TAs recruited from the body of PhD students and so could be of mixed quality (my metaphysics tutor was better than the lecturer), but would at least have value in repitition.
Libraries were vital to me. As at the time were computer facilities (MathCAD, Maple, Excel, Fortran, etc.). For some of my courses there were laboratories (material science), and for Art History there were trips and a special picture library.
You could sit in the back of lectures back then, but I think they check your ID nowadays.
Preach it. The same is true of past or specimen exam papers or textbook questions. Writing, like debating, exposes your own ignorance to you and allows you to remedy it.
Think of the average student graduating with a generic business degree. What actual skills does this person possess after 4 years of schooling?
This is why so many Fortune 500 companies have new grad trainee programs that they funnel people through. The fact is, most of these generic “business” jobs can be done by anyone with a few months of on the job learning.
How many project managers, marketing managers, account executives, sales people, HR professionals, tech support, etc. could’ve stepped into those same roles without spending 4 years at an extremely expensive party (as they would have 50 years ago)?
"Conjoined triangles of success" is a joke that is actually a very accurate representation of what it mocks.
It's not like Fortune 500 businesses are stupid. If they could hire random high school grads for all their jobs and pay them less, don't you think they would? As you point out, college degree requirements have not always existed, they were added. Chesterton's Fence is a useful mental guide here. People don't generally make things harder on themselves for no reason.
Half of a US college degree curriculum (the liberal arts distribution) isn't part of the curriculum at all in the UK for a science degree; are those UK degrees producing useless employees?
The article cites as evidence the large disparity in value between three and four years of college. This is much more prevalent in engineering than in music. Taking three years of college music study, or learning it informally, will in fact prepare you for a music career. I know people who have done it.
In my view, the need to make special exceptions for certain college majors weakens the signaling hypothesis.
Disclaimer: One of my kids is a music major, and I earn part of my income as a musician.
(The only firm difference I know is that, if you have the latter, you need not apply to any NASA engineering job.)
I learned a lot in college, but I definitely didn’t learn any direct job skills. I just went to a big state school with a respected CS program (that I was not enrolled in) which drew a lot of companies to our career fair. I think that kind of shows the multiple layers of signaling involved here...
Training of the mind also allows the educated to penetrate deceptions, deliberately muddled claims, and contradictions. But that result seems so uncommon these days.
Seriously, rankings are so pointless. I personally value someone's skills, not what institution they obtained them from. I guess for our society's elite, it's their version of keeping up with Joneses. Or maybe the upper class feels the need for their kids to get elite credentials to compensate for a lack of any real skill. I don't know how motivated I'd be in life, if I didn't have to work to support myself. So in that sense, I do have some empathy for people in that position.
The majority of colleges are probably in the middle, doing their best to teach the majority of students. However, the institution does matter.
However, it is a temporary phenomenon. Within 5 years I was earning on par with my colleagues who had their diplomas, and today I manage and out-earn people with degrees.
I am absolutely certain that the skills and knowledge I gained in college were essential to my career. So if the question is whether college is useful minus the credential, count me as an enthusiastic yes.
The first job after college seems huge to young folks but it really does not matter in the long run. I can't think of a single person I know over 40 who is doing the same thing today that they did out of college. In some cases the job or industry did not even exist when they graduated.
College education gives you the opportunity to built a base foundation that will serve your whole life, which is (hopefully) long. Who knows what the world and jobs will look like 30 years from now.
Yes, this is signaling, but really useful signaling. School can provide both signaling and skills.
Credentialism is a poor surrogate for showing your work.
Also, you get as much as you put in. I’ve had plenty of awful professors but found ways to study in my own time, do my own projects and read papers on top of the curriculum I was learning. You can’t expect to passively receive the best possible education by top notch teachers, especially in research institutions.
Lastly, your first sentence neatly proves my point that elite/“top 2” programs are more about signaling and working for a FAANG. Not everyone judges the worth of their career by salary or proximity to a FAANG, and I would consider it extremely wasteful and sad if someone considered the biggest benefit of a top tier CS education to be landing a FAANG job.
You mean, the stuff you can do without enrolling? Yeah, that's the point.
Not sure what that means.
People seem to forget that the vast majority of college grads didn’t go to an Ivy League school.
These behaviors make perfect sense if — and only if —
employers are eager to detect workers who dutifully
confirm to social expectations. In a society where
parents, teachers and peers glorify graduation, failing
classes and dropping out are deviant acts.
Maybe employers do care about social conformity, maybe even overwhelmingly so - but this evidence doesn't show that. Looks like a journalist misreading the academic literature.
Certainly, nobody thought college was for those who conform to social expectations.
Not at all sure if I came out deviant or just crazy.
Technically, I can't argue with the "religious" description, since I attended the one cousin's ordination as a Catholic priest a couple of years ago, but prior to that he was a Navy submarine nuke and an NRC inspector. His brother is an engineer with the USACE. And their father was an engineer. And I've known countless "business and technical professionals" less educated than their mother, a Latin teacher.
You may want to consider leaving your bigotry at home.
Then, parents, who don't know any better, think that they need to send their kids to colleges at all cost. They don't even care much about which college or which subject it is. Then, some business capitalizes on that by making a low-quality college. Then, we have this strange issue with student's debt where the student is not really hireable.
I talked to my colleagues at Google anonymously through Blind. And a few, even at Google, said (and many agreed) that either they took the student loan or they became a drug dealer (or something equally bad). I was quite surprised that even googlers would hold this kind of views.
I agree though that being $xx,xxx in debt is better than being a drug dealer. But, in my opinion, those cannot possibly be the only two choices. I didn't grow up in US, so maybe I don't understand the situation here.
Also see Goodhart's Law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."
I went to a decent school, not great but pretty well known. I had friends who went to community colleges and transferred to a school like mine, and friends who went to Ivy League schools. Our senior year, the Ivy guys were writing their own toy operating systems and compilers, and I was reading shitty PowerPoints about how one might do that. The lower tier group? I was still helping them with their homework, which was basically sorting algorithms. One of them barely understood classes, and one of them was still struggling with properly constructing for loops after years of education. All of us paid absurd amounts of money to be where we were.
The Ivy guys were also well-off and came from good homes; that just means that money begets power begets money, not that their degrees were worthless paper. It makes sense that a professor of economics would write tripe like this, maybe it applies in his field but not here.
Not even. Just being able to show that you "went" to Harvard is a powerful enough of a signal. You can join, drop out immediately after, start a startup, fail, an then likely end up somewhere really prestigious anyway.
And of course these colleges are special snowflakes, they wouldn't be signals otherwise. Nobody cares if you went to a community college down the street, it associates no household name with you.
This is because of, wait for it, signaling. You don't actually need all that much education to be an entry level software engineer, especially outside silicon valley. But you do need those letters after your name.
Georgia Tech Online M.Sc. CS $8,000
There are signals and signals and disparaging an entire school is ... unfair.
US News puts them at #30, but that's really the 13th group---there's a lot of ties.
I think I disagree with that list though---there's many schools higher in the list that I've never read a paper from. They can't be good.
(UT Austin has dropped to 10th!! I think I want my money back.)
Here I was thinking this was an article that genuinely sought to engage my opinion, when in truth it was only an advert for someone's book.
I think I'll make it a habit from now on to scroll all the way to the bottom of opinion articles to save myself some time.
In the first place, the concern only with reading, writing, and 'rithmatic along with standardized testing are probably destroying most of the value of the public education system. Thanks, everyone. Good job.
Secondly, the belief that any bachelor's degree is as good as any other, along with the corresponding rise of for-profit educational institutions (along with not-for-profit ones which behave like for-profit institutions) leads directly to this whole signalling flap.
A degree from Joe's Diploma Mill is a bad signalling indicator because the education Joe provides is crap. A degree from Stanford is a good signal because Stanford provides a good education. Don't go to Joe's; it's a waste of money and time.
Back at UT, many students and the occasional visiting job recruiter complained that the classes didn't cover "job-relevant" skills. (x86 assembler, anyone?) On the other hand, those same recruiters kept coming back, and showering money on recent grads; something they notably didn't do at, say, ITT Tech or DeVry, in spite of the fact that those schools taught nothing but "job-related skills."
Sure, a degree from Stanford is a signal that you are smart and hard-working. That's because Stanford is hard to get a degree from unless you are smart and hard-working. Some of that is simply jumping-through-hoops-ism, but most of it is because Stanford requires you to learn hard shit. And that's why smart and hard-working students go there.
(End of part 3; see part 2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19409381)
Is it ironic that this was written by Bryan Caplan, Ph.D., a professor of Economics at George Mason University?
 I'm getting a certain amusement from the image of Prof. Caplan, at a meeting of the current Economics faculty discussing prospective faculty candidates, voting against all the U. of Chicago grads in favor of Earl, who has a GED and audited a few economics classes.
 Economics? Really? The most signally of the signaling degrees. The field which, aside from its ability to demonstrate rightthink, is worthless outside academia and politics, not least because of its long history of disconnection with reality.
(End part 1: mockery.)
The picture caption is "Princeton" and this paragraph is what had me thinking that:
> If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn’t really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton,
Probably similar content covered, but it's a good discussion. And he covers some of the points I see people trying to argue in the comments here.
In these digital times is paying $100k+ really necessary to get the skills you need for a good career? or is it more about separating the haves from the have nots using a very expensive piece of paper?
> Almost everyone pays lip service to the glories of education, but actions speak louder than words. Ponder this: If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn’t really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton, though, the guerrilla student would lack one precious thing: a diploma. The fact that almost no one tries this route — saving hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way — is a strong sign that students understand the value of certification over actual learning.
> You can see the same priorities when students pick their classes. Students notoriously seek out “easy A’s” — professors who give high grades in exchange for little work.
Also, some comments here somehow manage to read into the article that it claims that you don't learn anything. Even just the quote above shows the opposite when the author describes the difference between going to Princeton lectures for free or for a piece of paper. From the second quoted paragraph, which is as testable statement, it seems that in practice education is not the main priority - and I don't see how one could interpret the article in a way that he supports that. It clearly is a criticism of those sad facts.
The author clearly shows what he would like even in just this single sentence alone:
> indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts
Formal education is classroom-based, provided by trained teachers. Informal education happens outside the classroom, in after-school programs, community-based organizations, museums, libraries, or at home.
In other words, if I'm reading at home, undergoing on the job training, even picking people's pockets, I'm getting educated.
He traces the history back to Babylonia and scribal training, Plato's Academy, Aristotle's Lyceum, medieval education, scholaticism and the rise of the Seven Liberal Arts with their Trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) and Quadrivium (Maths, Geometry, Music (or harmony) and Astronomy), the emergence of the modern physical and social sciences, and the Prussian Educational System which is the foundation of contemporary Western education.
Throughout virtually all of this there's been a sharp division between intellectual and technical education. The liberal arts were distinguished from the technical arts, also called Artes Mechanicae (mechanical arts), servile arts, or vulgar arts, originally: tailoring and weaving, agriculture, architecture and masonry, warfare and hunting, trade, cooking, and blacksmithing and metalurgy.
Since 1800 or so, the distinctions have largely been between pure skills, including trade, vocational, and technical skills (including STEM), professional training (law, medicine, military, religion, and general administration), and humanities or liberal arts. The relative prestige of these has shifted fairly markedly over this period, as well as the increased specialisation within academic curricula and programmes, with the University of Virginia offering eight fields of study in 1825, and Johns Hopkins University using the term "major" for the first time in 1877. The emergence of technical schools, such as M.I.T. (1861) with specialised courses of study helped drive this transformation.
Cecil's treatment is on the light side, but engaging.
John Stuart Mill's observations on the indoctrinational role of education are also interesting. As others have said, schools play multiple roles.
But, on the other hand, I really do believe that an education in ye olde trivium (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium), quadrivium (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrivium), and a number of other areas are important for the citizens of a modern, democratic republic, quite aside from how "Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation."
I see this education as important on at least two levels. First, to fight the natural human tendency to assume that everyone else is like us (and that anyone who is different is deviant): we're all programmers here, right? And anyone who doesn't think in discrete, logical steps, is the bizarre alien them, right?
More seriously, I had to take Texas government and history classes in college, the requirement for which (a history professor informed us with glee) came out of a number of soldiers from Texas who were captured during the Korean War and who decided to stay in China after the war. (Honestly, I have no idea how those things fit together.) But those classes and others like them, while not directly benefiting me as a computer programmer, did provide some background and common ground between me and a huge number of other people who would otherwise have nothing in common with me.
Secondly, to fight the natural tendency for someone who is well skilled in a certain field to assume that field is all that exists. (You should recognize this from this very forum, where people suggest technological fixes for problems which are not technological in nature. And yes, there are problems which are not technological nature.)
As for the wisdom of the students, choosing easy classes and complaining about those on topics they'll never use in real life? I took Spanish as a foreign language which I never really learned and promptly forgot, took four semesters to get through two semesters of calculus (badly; all my math be discrete), and those damn semesters of government and history. Guess what? None of those things were useful to me in my subsequent career. Nope, not even calculus, that horrid waste of time and grade points.
On the other hand, I regard my lack of knowledge as a bad thing. A usable foreign language would have been nice. Other programmers do use calculus; I just had to avoid those jobs.
So, yeah, I pretty much disagree with everything in this article.
(End of part 2. See part 1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19409228)
Well, that wasn't true for me, and I'm pretty sure for those in engineering or science, it isn't, but even the history, philosophy, and economics courses I took I recall and use. Even Steve Jobs, who merely audited a class on calligraphy, took a great value from it.
The fundamental flaw of Capland argument, who seems to be pushing this theme for years, is to view education purely in terms of economic benefit. It could simultaneously be true that the vast majority of your salary comes from signalling, but it could also be true that you gained great value from your education. Not everyone who gets an advanced education tries to maximize salary.
Capland's analysis, for example, would completely ignore the value of someone who chose to become a teacher or open source contributor.
Also, by induction, you could apply his argument to high school. Do we have evidence during the industrial revolution where blue collar factory work started to require more than an 8th grade education, that it made any difference besides signalling on salary?
Or, if you look at developing economies, where people often experience significant increases in wages as they move up the industrial ladder, sometimes without even full literacy, but merely from on the job experience. Should we assume education isn't worthwhile if you can't show a correlation between education and wages other than signalling?
One of the frustrating things about these kinds of economic analyses is that they narrowing look at only a sliver of what it is to be a human being, or the potential positive market externalities by having educated population. If we just measure the overall social improvements from the education of women, not in terms of individual wage performance, but in terms of overall health of society itself, it can't be reduced to a micro-analysis.
As a side note, I've seen Bryan's work forwarded within libertarian and right wing forums, in large part, to justify arguments to defund and dismantle support for college, both from a cultural aspect (Colleges seen as liberal/left institutions) but also from a notion that they don't want the government funding it. The fact that he's funded by the Cato Institute raises my suspicion that there's a political angle involved.
Even if you could argue college is not producing economic gains, but merely a signal, one has to look at a future where structural unemployment from automation may make a lot of work unneccessary, period. Do we eliminate education when work is no longer a necessity? Or could it be, that it might be better if people have a lifelong opportunity for intellectual enlightenment, it might be cheaper than funding prisons to house them, or falling back to religious institutions to give humans something to do that has meaning besides straight up consumption.
The average graduate of a major in a foreign language can’t speak it at a professional level. Given that I think we can at least say the average person’s high school foreign language study is totally wasted. The average US citizen doesn’t know each state has two Senators. People who retain knowledge that they were not originally interested in and use regularly are abnormal, nerds. Most people retain astonishingly little. I know someone with a Geography degree who couldn’t identify the major rivers and mountain ranges of Europe on an unlabelled map.
> The fundamental flaw of Capland argument, who seems to be pushing this theme for years, is to view education purely in terms of economic benefit. It could simultaneously be true that the vast majority of your salary comes from signalling, but it could also be true that you gained great value from your education. Not everyone who gets an advanced education tries to maximize salary.
That’s not his argument. His argument isn’t just that education is in large part wasteful signalling. It’s also unpleasant. Most people care as little for literature as I do for American football. Forcing them to learn about it leads to no lasting knowledge or appreciation and makes their lives actively worse.
> Also, by induction, you could apply his argument to high school. Do we have evidence during the industrial revolution where blue collar factory work started to require more than an 8th grade education, that it made any difference besides signalling on salary?
Average education levels in England went down during the Industrial Revolution, not up, as manual labour became less skilled.
>Or, if you look at developing economies, where people often experience significant increases in wages as they move up the industrial ladder, sometimes without even full literacy, but merely from on the job experience.
Yes, we can see that education is over supplied on a strictly economic basis if we look at China, which grew richer much, much faster than it grew educated once Deng opened it up, or if we compare changes in education levels with changes in economic growth rates. No relationship.
> Should we assume education isn't worthwhile if you can't show a correlation between education and wages other than signalling?
No, education is pleasant for some, just as spending time with friends is, or smoking. But we shouldn’t subsidise smoking and make non-smokers pay.
> One of the frustrating things about these kinds of economic analyses is that they narrowing look at only a sliver of what it is to be a human being, or the potential positive market externalities by having educated population.
If there are externalities the government should subsidise education. It does, to an extent far above any plausible positive externalities. The credentialism this makes possible is a massive negative externality.
> If we just measure the overall social improvements from the education of women, not in terms of individual wage performance, but in terms of overall health of society itself, it can't be reduced to a micro-analysis.
Oh yes it can. If you can point to what health of a society means we can make a first pass at measuring it.
> Even if you could argue college is not producing economic gains, but merely a signal, one has to look at a future where structural unemployment from automation may make a lot of work unneccessary, period. Do we eliminate education when work is no longer a necessity?
No, for the same reason we won’t eliminate drinking coffee or walking in the park. We’re rich. We like it, we can afford it. Let’s do it.
> Or could it be, that it might be better if people have a lifelong opportunity for intellectual enlightenment, it might be cheaper than funding prisons to house them, or falling back to religious institutions to give humans something to do that has meaning besides straight up consumption.
Intellectual pleasure is consumption, a pleasure for a relatively small minority of people. School is the closest to prison most people get, the most locked down, unfree environment they will ever encounter, sitting for hours doing as they are told, when they are told, asking permission to use the bathroom.
>School is the closest to prison most people get, the most locked down, unfree environment they will ever encounter, sitting for hours doing as they are told, when they are told, asking permission to use the bathroom.
Summary: Kids hate school. I don't wanna eat my veggies. Your conclusion: compulsory education is bad. My conclusion: make education fun and delightful. Look at the Finnish model for example.
Even if most of humanity could survive economically, not being literate, the world is far better off with universal education and literacy in innumerable ways.
It's shocking to see someone even arguing that kids shouldn't be compelled to be educated. Perhaps you could argue that adults shouldn't, but education overall in sociological studies has been shown to be an inoculation against violence.
Hatred of having to learn things you don't want to learn is not a condemnation of education. People often don't even know whether or not they will like something until they are exposed to it, and anyone with children knows this, how "I don't wanna do this" can suddenly turn into "hey, can you drive me to class, I don't want to miss this"
I absolutely hated history class in high school. I hated economics and philosophy in college. Until after I had taken them, I then became intensely interested in the subjects and voraciously read everything I could find.
We are headed into a world where people won't be able to delegate critical thinking skills to institutions, because institutions will have trust in them destroyed by fakery everywhere. Teaching people to think critically and be skeptical, to reserve judgement, demand peer reviewed facts, to hedge against rash action will be critical to stability in society in the future IMHO.
> Oh yes it can. If you can point to what health of a society means we can make a first pass at measuring it.
Many studies have correlated the education of women with numerous variables that represent non-economic quality of life: reduction in infant mortality, increases in life expectancy, reductions of violence. The UN and OECD have many variables beyond economics that measure well being. There are even surveys of overall satisfaction and happiness.
I also question conclusions that people "don't use" stuff they learn in college. That treats learning as a vocational enterprise. You don't just apply specific things you've be taught by rote memorization and practice, but you develop connections between subjects you've only briefly been exposed to, that can affect your decisions later in life, sometimes serendipitously and unconsciously. The same people who say they never use algebra or calculus, end up solving problems in Excel using the same skills they learned solving word problems in school.
I took 4 years of French in high school. I forgot most of it. However, when I travel, most of the latin roots I learned have helped me decipher signs in countries where I couldn't even speak the language beyond Helloy. And the experience of what I did wrong in French, later helped me learn Mandarin by avoiding the behaviors that turned me off in French.
I hated taking "required" classes in college. Now I am glad I did, because I was so narrow minded and pigheaded at that age. I also used to hate travel, really hate it. I was introverted, bored of long rides, uncomfortable in foreign lands where I didn't understand anything. But after being dragged all over the world, traveling and living abroad, my perspective on many things changed.
Too many people want to live circumscribed in a bubble. Education in all its forms, be it primary school, college, voracious reading, or travel, moving people outside their comfort zone has many benefits.
Eat your veggies, they're good for you.
First, and this is important, he seems to value only knowledge/information currently known. Part of learning is forgetting, and knowing that you've forgotten something. His argument doesn't take this into account at all, and essentially places equal value in someone who never knew something vs someone who once learned something but forgot it. These are not equivalent at all, but its a very economist way of reducing the world and accidentally losing fidelity in the process.
A great deal of higher ed is about exposure to the breadth of ideas that make up our current understanding of the world. You get a chance to explore fields of study and use frameworks, processes, etc from them. All these shape your perception and approach to life, help you discover what motivates you, and provide on-ramps for re-learning later on. Contrast this with someone who's never been exposed to things, and they simply wouldn't know what they didn't know. In the age of Google and being able to find a solution to anything, you still need to know what question to ask, and that requires an exposure to different fields and approaches and to know what you once knew or were exposed to, but have since forgotten. It builds intellectual humility, versus the self-assuredness of ignorance.
Next, the turn of phrase in the intro that students "have to soak up precious knowledge like a sponge" is basically the theory that the mind is an empty vessel to be filled, which is a common misunderstanding of how humans learn. We learn through interaction with our environment, and the things we learn are as much perspective, approach & process, etc as it is about fact-based knowledge. Not sure if author is using this term interchangeably with learning, but based on other reading it seems like he may not have strongest grasp of this distinction.
These learning science nuances are just one thing the author has a blind spot for. I also don't see him mentioning anything about the role of education beyond simply a job market feeder. This isn't and hasn't ever been the sole metric higher education has ever held itself to - only trade schools focus on this metric. It's incredibly reductive to view education in this way, not least of which because you lose a necessary precondition for successful democracy (an informed citizenry).
Here's another telling quote, clearly showing his argument has a pretty narrow focus:
According to Amazon reviews of this guy's book, he likes to set up a lot of straw men, and this is an example of one. Of course employers are not necessarily paying for acquired skills, but they're also not just paying for signaling (his focus) - they could be paying for acquired experience, perspective, demonstration of sticking things through, self-knowledge, etc.
Again I think it's important to look at the words he's using to get a sense for whether he understands the nuances of what he's talking about. "Skill" is a particular thing that most of higher ed intentionally doesn't focus on because they're not trade schools. Either he doesn't quite get that, or he's choosing to reinterpret education's purpose for the sake of his straw man. If we reduce everything to a market-oriented "skill", knowledge, theory, perspective, etc have no value. A good economist doesn't leave value on the table like that, unless they're trying to fit it into their particular argument.
His anecdote about a guerrilla student auditing a degree's worth of classes and not having them valued isn't a particularly smart take even from an economics perspective. That's a one-off libertarian fantasy argument of sticking it to the system. At scale this idea collapses, because a) schools would crack down on free-riders, and b) once this good is more available in the market, the market would respond by pricing it better. But with an n=1, the market can't price it, because they don't know what it means. Did this student actually show up to these classes, or just say they did? Did they get to know their classmates and learn from them? Did they understand anything they were being taught? As an entrepreneur who's had to hire quite a bit, I'd see a prospective employee's claim of having attended Princeton for four years but not getting a degree as needing serious verification.
I think an economist's perspective is important to add to the discussion on how to make higher ed better, and signaling is an area that higher ed needs to get better at (see microcredentialing as one solution for instance). However, while the author makes some good points about grade / degree inflation and alludes to a few other things that really matter like rising costs, I also don't think he's got the macro perspective really well sorted, at least from the blind spots above - either he's willfully ignoring them for sake of argument, or genuinely doesn't know them because he wasn't exposed enough to those fields. Teaching a couple years at Princeton doesn't make one an expert on the system as a whole, much as just getting an education doesn't mean you know the first thing about how education works. Elite colleges work very differently from other forms of post-secondary education, and lessons learned & opinions formed there are not necessarily broadly applicable. Elite colleges are so much more about signaling that its easy to over-index on that and form a theory that sounds nice but isn't very accurate.
Any call for blowing up a system needs to be put in a larger context that any large organization / institution is going to be inherently pretty inefficient, but this doesn't mean the absence of it is a good alternative. Thing is he has a particular POV on this, if you read more of his bio . He works in a very libertarian-focused economics dept at GWU and is funded by folks that are taking a particular agenda toward education and have taken a (highly unusual) active role in faculty selection . This background alone shouldn't be disqualifying (lots of agendas exist in ed, good to have diversity of perspectives), but can be a lens through with you read this and whether he's being intellectually honest in all his arguments.
Add on the difference between the scores of people who can afford to pay for tutors and the scores of people who can't, and you'll begin to see the problem.
> It is absolutely true that the SAT is the reason this scandal occurred. But for standardized testing requirements, the millionaires and celebrities charged in this scheme would not have needed to search for “side doors” to get their children into elite colleges; they could have walked right in through the front.
> SAT scores correlate strongly enough with IQ that the SAT is interchangeable with IQ as a test of general cognitive ability. Cognitive ability is highly heritable; the single strongest predictor of a child’s IQ is the IQ of the child’s parents. There is also a correlation between income and IQ. That means smarter than average parents are likely to have smarter than average kids and higher than average incomes.
> The educational attainment of an SAT taker’s parents is about as strongly correlated with higher scores as high income is; the median student whose parents hold graduate degrees scores a 560 on critical reading and a 576 on math, only slightly lower than the richest students in the dataset by income, and a full standard deviation higher than students whose parents hold only high school diplomas.
Classes are a waste of time, out of the 1.5 hrs, there’s maybe 20 minutes of content.
Teachers tend to be full of themselves and incompetent.
Professors are busy with research, grants etc. curricula tends to be out of date.
God when I think about the shit I could have done in the 16 years that I spent in school I legit want to puke.
But the worst people are the administrators. I’m yet to see a single school administrator make a rational decision. This is particularly apparent in the responses to school shootings. Yeah, make it more like prisons, thats are gonna help. Also the prevalence of women in school administration is not good for the male school population, they make decisions that tend to ignore certain gender differences.
Don’t even get me started on the idiocy that is school athletics.
The blatant sexism is also a problem.
No, you are required to pay attention, and therefore unable to do something more productive.
"Also the prevalence of women in school administration..."
Implying that male administrators, purely by being male are not making whatever nebulous errors you complain about.
I cant really argue with it because i've honestly no idea which male interests could possibly fall short in the context of a school, but anyway.
your phrasing of the initial statements comes across as sexism, because it sounds more like: "only males can represent all students interests"
you probably didn't mean it like that, but that what it sounds like, tbh
It’s because I wasn’t provided the other option and I’ve noticed that the preferences we pretty neatly aligned along the gender lines.