Bryan Caplan  

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I'm on vacation, but I'm delighted to announce that an excerpt from The Case Against Education has just appeared in the latest issue of The Atlantic.  Enjoy!

COMMENTS (9 to date)
Robert writes:

Thank you!

You are right in many ways (which is to say that I have many of the same opinions :) ).

Apprenticeships are too often conflated with vocational education. Originally they covered all of the skilled disciplines - including the sciences and humanities.

Then someone razed Chesterton's Fence and decided to put them at the back end of 16+ years of school (i.e. during graduate school).

Emily writes:

There was a robust conversation about this on the subreddit yesterday:

Maniel writes:

Prof. Caplan,
Apologies if your book covers the following; I read only the Atlantic excerpt.
A few basics learned on the job could be addressed in school, vocational or otherwise:

1. Validating work: for example, showing that a model (emulation or simulation) is predictive.
2. Working in teams: where cooperation is fundamental to successful outcomes.
3. Working within constraints: such as, cost, and schedule.
4. Customer satisfaction: leveling expectations and responding to feedback.
5. Process development and improvement: could be as simple as keeping the campus clean.
6. Mentoring: where mutual learning comes from teaching.
7. Writing: where editing and rewriting are critical to accuracy and comprehension.
8. Balance: employee (or student) morale and customer (or professor) satisfaction

However, as you point out, if we don’t spend a little time in the workplace, these concepts may pass us by.

Kurt Schuler writes:

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Nick Ronalds writes:

Very well-written and persuasive article. Congrats!

James M. writes:

I bet myself at even odds that we would get The Winds of Winter before The Case Against Education. Looks like I lose.

Gabriel Fodor writes:

Great article,

It all comes down to signaling. I believe college will not go anywhere, and enrollment will only increase because the completion of a four-year degree signals to your potential future employer that you can follow through and finish a strenuous workload.

The critical thinking skills gained from college courses, even though most of these courses hold little to no content pertaining to real life scenarios is hard to replicate.

Lastly, the social benefits (as far as networking, friends made, the learning of human interaction *you'd be surprised at how many intelligent people can barely hold their own in front of a group*) are all factors that have nothing to do with the education (content specifically) offered in college, but more with the forced interaction that comes with going to class, attending clubs, etc.

Now, down to the numbers. Many colleges across the country offer an education for astronomical tuition fees, so students must look at the future value of their education using discount rates. Is the liberal arts college offering an English degree for $250,000 over four years going to be worth it? Probably not, so sit down with your parents and do some future value calculations! I think this alone will solve many problems!!!

Debbie writes:

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Ben M writes:

Great article on our current education system...or lack of.Only if our government could see things as clearly as you explained. We need to think long term regarding the success of our nation and make our learning institutions more practical for the real world.

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