university reality

Is College a Scam?



case (2) push (2) investment
illegal lecture subject (3)
tuition at least wizard (2)
bored diploma public (2)
brain tax-payer Wizard of Oz
hint big deal device (3)
require con man believe (2)
priority valuable argument
budget evidence primarily
pour bachelor impressive
attract subsidize sucker (2)
bar (3) lucrative raise the bar
expect stand up liberal arts
insist block (3) degree (3)
crazy follow (2) graduation
bone count (3) in their bones
rate apply (2) inflation (2)
luxury compete promote (2)
lobster seal (3) seal the deal
rate push (2) recreation
fund imagine spring break
gender field (2) distinguish
fancy support bachelor’s degree
tenure heart (2) humanities
wise assume raise/rise/risen
odds stuff (2) appreciate
brain demand sort of thing
attend evidence wishful thinking
scam yield (2) bottom line
justice income tremendous
bunch burden whistle blower
effort consider ripped off
get out thing (2) accessible
fire (3)






These days, all Americans are told: “GO TO COLLEGE!”

Barack Obama, US President: “A higher education is the single best investment.”

But a new book, The Case Against Education, says this college push is a big mistake.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “How many thousands of hours did you spend in classes studying subjects that you never thought about again?

Economist Bryan Kaplan says most people who go to college shouldn’t. I learned little in college. I liked my friends and illegal drinking. But I slept through lectures.

At least tuition then was two-thousand dollars ($2,000)—now it’s almost fifty-thousand.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “People usually just want to talk about the tuition, which is a big deal. But there’s also all the years that people spend in school when they could have been doing something else.

If you just take a look at the faces of the students, it’s obvious that they are bored. And people are there primarily to get a good job.”

Because a diploma is a signaling device for people with

The Wizard of Oz: “no more brains than you have, but they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma!”

The con man who was the Wizard of Oz hinted at the problem years ago.

Journalist: “Why did you write this book, the Wizard of Oz already made the argument?”
Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “But almost no one seems to believe it.”

Barrack Obama, US President: “College graduation has never been more valuable than it is today.”

George W. Bush, US President: “Education is my top priority, and by supporting this budget, you’ll make it yours as well.”

Meaning tax-payers must pay for it.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Journalist: “All the politicians say, ‘go to college.’ And there is evidence: the higher you go, the more money you’ll make.”
Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “It’s totally true that when people go and get more and better and fancier degrees that their income generally goes up.

But the reason why this is happening is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you — the reason is that it’s impressive.”

Journalist: “You aren’t saying, ‘you, individual, don’t go to college.’ You’re saying, ‘We as a country are suckers to push it and subsidize it’.”
Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “Exactly. Just because it is lucrative for an individual, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for a country.”

Because when most everyone goes to college, that just raises the bar.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “Imagine that you’re at a concert. Everyone is sitting down, and you want to see better. What can you do?

Well, you stand up alright. And of course, then you’ll see better. Now it does not follow though that if everyone stands up, everyone sees better.”

You’ll just block each others’ views. The same is in education, says Kaplan: as more people got degrees, more employers insisted on degrees.

The result isn’t that graduates get better jobs; it’s that employers require higher degrees for most every job.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “There are so many jobs where it used to be crazy to think that you would need a college degree, like to be a waiter in a fancy restaurant, whereas now, it would be very normal.”

Of course, a college education is about more than getting a good job, it’s also about learning.

But Kaplan says if students really wanted to learn, they would just do it.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “If you want to go to Princeton, you don’t have to apply, just move to the town and start attending classes.”

Journalist: “Nobody does that.”

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “In people’s bones, they realize is that what really counts is that diploma.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Today, that’s a taxpayer subsidized diploma. And when you subsidize something, you get more of it: more students apply to college, so schools raise tuition.

Tuition cost has risen at triple the rate of inflation. Schools use that money to attract more students. And more tax money.

Many compete by advertising luxury. They promote things like lobster dinners, fancy pools.

University Administrator: “Students come to us and say, ‘this is what sealed the deal.’ It used to be reading, writing and arithmetic. And we’re on the fourth “R”: recreation.”

Six hundred (600) colleges now have rock walls.

University Administrator: “Give our Tigers spring break every time they step in to the Student Recreation Complex.”

This is a public school — taxpayers fund that spring break. We also fund years of study in subjects unlikely to help students get jobs, like social justice, gender studies, multicultural studies.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “If you’re doing computer science or electrical engineering, then you probably are actually learning a bunch of useful skills. But every year we graduate about twice as many psychology bachelor’s degrees as we do engineering bachelor’s degrees.”

Of course, there’s value in learning psychology . . . philosophy . . . literature . . . many employers say they want liberal arts graduates.

Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple: “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that makes our hearts sing.”

Journalist: “It makes us better, wiser people.”
Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “But you can’t assume that works. How many years of people’s lives should they be made to study stuff when the odds that they’ll ever appreciate it are one in a hundred, one in a thousand?”

Journalist: “Maybe it makes our brains work better?”

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “That’s the sort of thing you’d expect teachers to say, but there’s a whole field of people who have actually studied this.

Much as they want to believe that you’re right, they generally come away after looking at a lot of evidence and saying, ‘wow, that’s actually wishful thinking.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Although Kaplan calls college a scam, he says it’s great for a few people — people like him.

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “I’m a tenured professor. Your audience may not realize how good of a gig this is, but a tenured professor cannot be fired for anything for almost any reason.

And you get a nice income. And there are almost no demands upon your time.”

Journalist: “You just have to teach five hours a week?”

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “There’s people who consider that a horrible burden.”

Journalist: “That’s a scam that we’re paying so much money for people like you to teach five hours a week.”

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “Yeah, well I’m a whistleblower.”

The bottom line of the The Case Against Education:

Bryan Kaplan, Economist: “Taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off. Government has made a tremendous effort to make education accessible to everyone.

I say what we really need to do is go back to a world where college is not so accessible, where it really distinguishes you. And in this way, people are going to be able to start their lives years earlier.

The wisest solution, all things considered, would be if government just got out.”

It would be good if government got out of a lot of things.

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Math, Mathematics. What is a central theme in life?

Do all politicians, journalists and academics agree with this notion?

History. Is there a definite relationship between college subjects and a person’s career?

Art, Art History. What had been the reporter’s college experience? Is it the same for today’s university students?

English, Literature. University graduates earn more than others because they are more intelligent, broadminded and talented. Is this right or wrong, according to the economics professor? What does he say about employers and jobs?

Sociology. A university is only about career prospects or having a successful career. Is this correct or incorrect? Is college the only way to achieve this?

Psychology. Is a university education in the US only about studying?

Political Science. According to the economist, college is a scam. Is this entirely true, mostly true, in the middle, yes and no, both, largely false or totally false?
Philosophy. Is a university education free, cheap, medium-priced, expensive or extremely expensive in your country, or does it vary?

Religion. What message do parents, teachers, politicians and journalist tell young people?

Ecology, Environmental Studies. There is a glut of university graduates in my country. Is this entirely true, mostly true, in the middle, yes and no, both, largely false or totally false?

Business Administration.
Is there much debate, discussion and argument about education?

Foreign Languages. What will happen in the future?

Archeology, Paleontology. What should governments and people do?

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