Sunday, September 05, 2010

Back to School

1. Greg Mankiw has some advice for college freshman, although given the reality that there are 150 women in some "freshman classes" this year for every 100 men (see this CD post), can we really still call first-year college students "freshman?"

2. Via Cuban blogger Joani Sanchez, here's the handwritten draconian dress code for a typical high school in Cuba (pictured below in Spanish), including "The skirts should be 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) above the knee," and "Males must not have hair longer than 4 centimeters (1.5 inches)."  Although not specifically mentioned, I think it's safe to say that tattoos and baseball caps worn backwards would be completely out of the question. 

3. A New York Times article asks if it's time for "The End of Tenure?"

4. Michael Barone says that the "Higher education bubble is poised to burst."

5 Comments:

At 9/06/2010 12:20 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Judging from this dress code, when I went to public schools in Pasadena Ca in the 1960s, I was really in Cuba.
Funny how times change.

 
At 9/06/2010 2:35 AM, Blogger bobble said...

anectdotal evidence of the value of a college degree. some people i know personally:

- 2010 UCLA grad in molecular cellular biology. no job offers

-2010 UC Berkeley grad in chemistry. no job offers

- 2007 UCLA masters in chemical engineering. got a job out of college. his department was off shored in 2008. can't find a job. now working as a tutor.

so is it just an education problem?

 
At 9/06/2010 8:03 AM, Blogger juandos said...

bobble points out some noticeable effects of an advanced education, something that isn't exactly new...

Back in the seventies I was an analytical chemist (for five years) with a specialty in adhesives...

I quit chemistry all together since I could see the writing on the wall, my job was being outsourced (with my help too!) to machines hooked up to computers...

I was making a bet that the space program was going to leave shelter of government service and go into the free market but alas that never happened...

The result was after Nixon closed down the Apollo moon project there were all kinds of superbly educated folks bagging groceries and pushing brooms all over Houston and southern Florida...

Only now is there the merest hint of some sort of space program in the hands of private industry...

One makes a bet and hopes that it all works out or if it doesn't one tries something else...

 
At 9/06/2010 1:44 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

bobble, Is the abilty to get a job in your field of study the only value you place on a college degree? Hopefully, as juandos states, a college graduate should have skills that can transfer across occupations and add value for an employer in other fields.

The trick is finding out how you can make or save your employer more money than your total compensation (or go into business for yourself). The people who can't do that in the 21st century will have problems. It's a changed world.

 
At 9/06/2010 6:12 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Funny how the NYT guy hits all the points about crappy quality, high prices, etc then turns the whole argument into the silly one of inequality. I guess he's too dumb to put two and two together and realize the kids going to the Ivys are the ones being scammed the most. :)

bobble, sounds like they're just graduating in a down market: the same happened to Computer Science grads who came out after the dot.com bust in 2001. I'm sure those kids are pretty employable because of their science degrees, especially once the economy recovers.

Walt, I agree that they should be able to transition to adjacent fields, but the problem is that a lot of employers won't take them. Many focus on narrow specialties and refuse to consider possibly better candidates from adjacent disciplines. I bet a lot of those kids could make the transition, though some of them are too limited to change no doubt, but they just wouldn't be given the opportunity without going back to school for another degree, which is frankly a big waste of time. This is a huge market inefficiency in the way many companies hire, which will lead to employers who continue to hire in such dumb ways being put out of business, but right now such stupidity is the norm unfortunately.

 

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