John Tamny on Education–It’s Not About Knowledge!

From Forbes, June 9, 2013, “Online Education Will Be the Next ‘Bubble’ to Pop.”

…college is not about learning much as we might wish it were. Online education would erase traditional schooling if learning were truly the purpose of attending Princeton, or if employers cared what was learned at Princeton.

But when parents spend a fortune on their children’s schooling they’re not buying education; rather they’re buying the ‘right’ friends for them, the right contacts for the future, access to the right husbands and wives, not to mention buying their own (“Our son goes to Williams College”) status.  The same is true for students taking out loans.

…Going to college is a status thing, not a learning thing.

Online education would bring with it real economic value if employers actually cared about the knowledge gained on campus.  The problem is that they don’t.  Education has little value no matter the school.

And from Tamny’s Forbes piece of Feb 20, 2013, “Sorry Left AND Right, No Job Requires A College Degree.”

Whether the ambition is to become an investment banker or a Starbucks barista, the dirty little secret is that nothing learned during the four (or five) fun-filled years on idyllic campuses has anything to do with either form of employment.

To believe otherwise is to believe that someone (the college professor) who for the most part lacks any background in the real-world application of finance could transfer skills to those who desire that real-world knowledge.  Lots of luck there.  If Wall Street is your goal, major in whatever interests you.  Ultimately the top financial firms are looking for ‘good athletes’, as in people who are smart and who work hard.  Anything you need to know you’ll learn on the job.

Indeed, college doesn’t make you smart or hard working as much as smart and hard working people often go to college.  Being smart is a function of curiosity that decidedly cannot be taught.  Hard work similarly lends itself to achievement in the working world, but there are no classes that teach it.  If they do exist, they’re a waste of time.


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