Thursday, December 23, 2010

Training College Graduates for Dependency By Counterfeiting Genuine Accomplishment

Some excerpts from "The College Degree Fraud," by Robert Weissberg, Professor of Political Science-Emeritus, University of Illinois:

"For more than a half-century, government has tried to close racial gaps in educational attainment. Sad to say, those gaps have proven intractable. Nevertheless, the impulse remains as heartfelt as ever (perhaps due to its financially lucrative character), but the emphasis is now shifting from actual learning to equality of graduation rates. President Obama has spoken of adding 5 million graduates to the workforce by 2020, and credential-mania is now all the rage. This shift is a disaster in the making; imparting knowledge is commendable, but just handing out diplomas is harmful deception. A cynic might aver that the shift from knowledge to graduation rates is a tacit admission that the gap-closing quest is futile.

That today's college degrees, regardless of the recipient's race, are increasingly "manufactured" versus reflecting real learning is strongly suggested by a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Specifically, contemporary "college graduates" are increasingly employed in positions once occupied by high school graduates.

For example, in 1992, 17.6% of all college graduates were in positions classified as "noncollege level jobs." By 2008, this percentage had doubled to 35.2%. In 1992, some 119,000 waiters and waitresses had college degrees; by 2008, this number had soared to 318,000. No doubt, unprepared black students who owe their diplomas to intense institutional effort and deception have fared even worse in today's difficult job market. In a sense, America's long quest for both educational equality and excellence is being satisfied by a combination of gullibility, linguistic trickery, and craven opportunism.

Ill-prepared black students are the real losers in this deception, and one can only speculate why their liberal "friends" tolerate the dishonesty. Many would have been better-advised to enroll in a trade school and acquire a well-paid, marketable skill. In the long run, if a college degree is the aim, a "tough love" strategy of requiring passing arduous courses with modest outside help would be more beneficial. Surely President Obama has encountered these subterfuges in his academic career and must realize that calling for more and more diplomas will only increase the supply of college-educated waiters.

Some exceptions aside, granting ever more college diplomas only signifies the power of today's universities to counterfeit genuine accomplishment. Particularly worrisome is that many of these graduates have been trained for dependency. Picture these graduates navigating a cruel world deprived of role models, mentors, counselors, sympathetic evaluators, resource centers, pre-job bridge programs, and bosses unwilling to substitute ego-enhancing identity politics for difficult work."

13 Comments:

At 12/23/2010 11:51 PM, Blogger randian said...

Credentialism is a very feminist concept. Why else does "equal pay for equal work" focus on credentials for setting pay and not working conditions?

 
At 12/24/2010 9:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Ill-prepared black students are the real losers in this deception, and one can only speculate why their liberal "friends" tolerate the dishonesty.

Nobody is more pissed off than highly competent blacks who get less respect than they deserve because their own accomplishments have been devalued by well meaning but stupid programs.

 
At 12/24/2010 3:24 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

A good self-employed cabinet maker can net six figures in a good economy. Now, maybe they can avoid losses.

Nevertheless, there are good trade job out there. Morever, electricians, plumbers etc perform obviously valuable work.

I have never understood our nation's disregard for such worthy work.

Some of it has to do with parasitic lawyers: They are able to control entry to their profession through state bar exams, and somewhat control their enviroment--they can file more suits, and you have to answer a suit.

Kinda like plumbers stopping up toilets to create work for each other.

This makes lawyering very attractive, financially speaking.

The USA is breeding permanent parasite classes, such as lawyers, the military, the disabled ADA crowd, agribusiness and rural residents. Mancur Olsen says we will ultimately collapse from parasites.

I hope not.

 
At 12/24/2010 6:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Again with the nutty blather: "The USA is breeding permanent parasite classes, such as lawyers, the military, the disabled ADA crowd, agribusiness and rural residents. Mancur Olsen says we will ultimately collapse from parasites"...

Try staying on topic pseudo benny...

I think we're seeing the results of someone who might have only been an affirmative-action admittee to college...

 
At 12/24/2010 8:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The USA is breeding permanent parasite classes, such as lawyers, the military, the disabled ADA crowd, agribusiness and rural residents. Mancur Olsen says we will ultimately collapse from parasites.

The parasite class is natural in a society that has no respect for the property rights of individuals.

 
At 12/24/2010 10:24 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

You're trying to make the point from the wrong direction.

The more sensible solution is to cut higher education away from consideration in the workplace. Do that, and you'll make it something that someone wishes to pursue as a purer academic interest.

 
At 12/25/2010 2:10 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The more sensible solution is to cut higher education away from consideration in the workplace. Do that, and you'll make it something that someone wishes to pursue as a purer academic interest."

seth,

Do you seriously believe hospitals should hire surgeons without ever asking what their training has been? Should they just be hired in good faith and allowed to prove themselves qualified as they slice & dice?

How many people do you think would study accounting as a purely academic interest?

How many courses have YOU taken and completed as purely academic interests that didn't somehow increase your value to an employer?

So, why do you continue to make such ignorant comments?

 
At 12/26/2010 9:00 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Van, I think property rights and the regard or disregard is only part of the reason. Surely, there is a seemingly endless supply of dirtbaggery in America today, and I think this creates the atmosphere where people no longer respect other peoples wealth and property.

However, there is this sense that lawsuits are seen as a kind of business opportunity. That I can only attribute to out system of laws and governance that support and incentivize those behaviors.

 
At 12/26/2010 9:06 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Ill preparedness is not something just found in the black community. There are many white college graduates that find their degree in English Studies, Kinesiology, Commuications or New American Socialism guarantee nothing but minimum wage work.

I think there is an over focus in America on this notion that educations = success. It is true that higher educated people have better prospects, but I wonder if that is because people who stick through a degree program are similarly motivated and hard working, traits that will aid anyone in the search for higher income.

 
At 12/26/2010 10:10 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

However, there is this sense that lawsuits are seen as a kind of business opportunity. That I can only attribute to out system of laws and governance that support and incentivize those behaviors.

I totally agree. In fact, that was my point. Since we recognize human nature for what it is we would expect that some would see lawsuits as an opportunity to extort payments from victims. That is not the problem. The problem is that the legal system permits the property rights of the victims to be violated by the very laws that it creates. The trouble resides in Congress and in the White House. It would take simple actions to destroy the criminal activities being perpetuated by the trial lawyers and the barriers that protect established commercial players from competition. But that action will never be taken as long as Congress and the President keep violating the Constitution and take far more power than is granted to them by Aticle I and Article II.

 
At 12/26/2010 10:14 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I think there is an over focus in America on this notion that educations = success. It is true that higher educated people have better prospects, but I wonder if that is because people who stick through a degree program are similarly motivated and hard working, traits that will aid anyone in the search for higher income.

You make an excellent point. Many people mix up the logic. They look at competitive swimmers and tend to assume that swimming produces the lean and long 'swimmer's body' type. They usually do not consider, at least initially, that it is the body type that attracts the participants to the activity. The same may be true for education and success. As you point out, it may not be the education itself that is responsible but the type of habits and discipline that is needed to be successful or to get a good education.

 
At 1/03/2011 9:01 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Picture these graduates navigating a cruel world deprived of role models, mentors, counselors, sympathetic evaluators, resource centers, pre-job bridge programs, and bosses unwilling to substitute ego-enhancing identity politics for difficult work."

Considering my own experience with the vastly underwhelming level of meritocracy in modern business, I think they'll do fine.

 
At 1/04/2011 2:58 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I wonder if that is because people who stick through a degree program are similarly motivated and hard working, traits that will aid anyone in the search for higher income.

Dude, what a degree shows is a panting, drooling willingness to jump through a bunch of ridiculous hoops for a piece of paper.

Employers LOVE idiots who will jump through hoops on command for limited personal benefit. I noticed THAT decades ago. It's only gotten worse.

If a degree meant jack in terms of what you actually KNOW, then there would be a lot more competent people out there doing the jobs they are talented at and trained to do.

Another aspect that aggravates this is the HR problem. HR people are abysmally lazy, and think that the accumulation of little bits of paper that say you know something are worth more than 30 years of experience in a constantly changing job (i.e., not 30 years of stultifying sameness that allows one to get mentally stodgy).

The fact is, I knew more about a software test bed program 3 months after I started using it than two otherwise talented and intelligent young turks relatively fresh out of college who had been using the program for over a year each.

Why? Because I knew what it SHOULD be able to do, and when I encountered the relatively poorly documented feature, I knew instantly exactly what it was for.

Further, I was looking specifically for something LIKE that because of the response to "How can you do 'x'?" from said turks was "I dunno, I've never seen anything like that." I knew it had to be there, and kept digging. They didn't have a clue, and hence used the software only rudimentarily out of sheer cluelessness about what it HAD to be capable of as a fully developed product with years of usage and further development.

In short, if you're smart, you keep HR people out of the decision making process entirely when it comes to hiring. Use them to verify resume claims, but trust them not one whit to actually figure out who you should hire, they will hire the paperwork best candidate every time, and ignore the talented and experienced ones who spent more time actually doing instead of chasing paper bits.

 

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