Bryan Caplan  

Me on Education on Tucker Carlson

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I just appeared on Tucker Carlson's show to talk about The Case Against Education and my piece in The Atlantic.  I have no idea if Tucker knows how far apart we are on immigration.  But he treated me graciously and we had a great conversation.  Enjoy!

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Eleonora Fejes writes:

Congrats on your appearance on the Tucker show. It gives hope to see there are at least a very few professionals who realize the uselessness, waste of social,individual and financial resources on this fun driven "higher" education, what infact is rather an entertainment center for the youth. You were actually quite strict with the 5% ratio as higher education material. We can bravely set it for 8-12% in Hungary/ including 3 year and 4 year teacher training colleges/ College education and degrees became completely inflated.Many college students have less academic knowledge than elementary school 6-8 graders in better performing countries.Anyhow, this is not a knowledge based and knowledge driven country, anymore. Very sadly, genuine knowledge is rather an enemy and the education establishment works hard to keepit out of school gates,because then the king would be naked, the fact that teachers are also quite ignorant would become apparent. "Quid quid latet apparebit" No one however talks about early and elementary education. Without strong foundation the walls and the roof will collapse. Thats what is happening.Without completely restructuring the "aedificium" of what is called education, beginning at the foundations, teaching the teachers, implementing successful European models / not Asians, because from that discipline everyone would die out/ the competitiveness of US society will further decline, not being able to keep up with the rapidly developing world. There is so much more to it, with many personal "non culture shocks" but I wanted to draft it in a nutshell, good that what we foreign professionals do experience, is being brought up also by locals!

German Catholic writes:

Congratulations Bryan and you did a very good job on the Tucker show.

I havent read your book (yet), but maybe it would be interesting to dig deeper into European education as well. Just some observations of mine:
- In the Netherlands and the UK the Master usually lasts one year, while in Germany it is 2 years (and high school often a year longer as well). IMO this can be better explained by signalling theory than human capital theory.
- In Germany there is a close match between what you study and your career (i.e. in order to work in Marketing you need to study Marketing), while in the UK/US it seems to be more that it matters more where you study than what you study (you can study philosophy and then do marketing). IMO this can be better explained by signalling theory theory.
- I work at a German Dax30 company - most of the middle and upper management are people who did not study but "only" did an apprenticeship at the company. IMO this can also be better explained by signalling theory.
- The french have a weird model. The "elite" goes to 2-years "prepa" schools and then do entrance exams for the "grande ecoles". According to my friends the prepa schools are extremly challenging, while the grande ecoles are a joke (its impossible to fail - same as I saw in the US btw). Interestingly for the exact same entry level job at the same company grande ecole students receive a higher salary than normal uni students (and also can get cheaper loans from banks). Of course this could be explained by both theories.

Ted writes:

Excellent interview, Dr. Caplan, and one that retails a message that needs to be heard. I find it interesting and rather tragic that, in their search for a means of "post-humanism-proofing" their children, a majority of parents have been advocating sheepskin-acquisition so fervently that their advocacy has adopted all of the attributes of indoctrination.

The irony of the situation, for me, is that those youngsters that would benefit most from a degree are the very same people who would survive post-humanism relatively unscathed sans the diploma. That is to say, they are already possessed of sufficiently superior intelligence, initiative and adaptability to live well in times of chronic self-reinvention.

Of course I'm pretty old, but I have known what Caplan writes about for a long time. Many people have written about it, as Caplan says.

But none of it matters. Socialists insisted on first free public education and then college for everyone as part of their effort to reduce inequality. It has failed to do that but they don't care. As Bernie Sanders demonstrated, free education for all has become the national religion. It is dogma for all socialists, Democrat and Republican. The fact that inequality has increased even as more students have gone to college means nothing to socialists. Dogma, not facts, are what matter to socialists.

Todd K writes:

Bryan is seriously claiming that a major reason that Germany and Switzerland have a very small underclass is because of vocatioanal training?

By the way, the top 5% who should go to college according to Caplan corresponds to an IQ of 125 or over.

Trevor H writes:

Thanks for your continued discussion on this topic. I've said for many years to my kids that I would pay whatever the University of Texas costs, but if they want a fancy private school education they would have to borrow or earn scholarships for the balance.

I'm very pleased that my son is now a freshman at Texas A&M which has a very high reputation to tuition dollar ratio. And he's majoring in applied math which I suspect has a pretty good combination of prestige and actual vocational value.

I give you a lot of credit for helping me steer my kids over the years in I think a very healthy direction. Although your prior book should probably give me a little more humility about how much good I actually did!


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