Peter Thiel on Higher Education Bubble. Aptitude Tests for Employers Instead of College Degrees?
In this WSJ video, Peter Thiel, founder of Clarium Capital and The Thiel Foundation, explains why young Americans need to be encouraged to take on more risk to spur innovation and why the cost of a U.S. education is hindering that.
Related: Craig Newmark points to a 2009 George Will article that might help explain why we have a higher education bubble:
"In 1964, there were more than 2,000 personnel tests available to employers. But already an Illinois state official had ruled that a standard ability test used by Motorola was illegal because it was unfair to "disadvantaged groups."
A heavy burden of proof was placed on employers, including that of proving that any test that produced a "disparate impact" detrimental to certain minorities was a "business necessity" for various particular jobs.
Small wonder, then, that many employers, fearing endless litigation about multiple uncertainties, threw up their hands and, to avoid legal liability, threw out intelligence and aptitude tests for potential employees. Instead, they began requiring college degrees as indices of applicants' satisfactory intelligence and diligence. This is, of course, just one reason college attendance increased from 5.8 million in 1970 to 17.5 million in 2005."
MP: Peter Thiel describes higher education as a "giant selection mechanism" and estimates that only 10% of the value of a college degree comes from actual learning, and 50% of the value comes from selection (getting into a selective university) and 40% comes from signalling (graduating from a selective college becomes known to employers). If employers could use intelligence tests instead of college degrees as measures of aptitude, it might be a lot more efficient and more cost-effective than the current practice of using very expensive four-year college degrees that add very little in terms of educational value (at least according to Thiel).