Monday, November 10, 2008

Most BAs are BS

Scholar Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the most popular college degree, the BA, is overpriced and largely a waste of time. First, the BA is cast in an inflexible term of four years, regardless of how long it takes to acquire marketable proficiency in whatever is being taught. Second, the rewards of having a BA often have nothing to do with what was learned. Third, encouraging students to pursue a BA means large numbers of young people will spend valuable time and money trying to complete course work they may not have the ability to do. Finally, the BA system makes everyone who does not have that degree a second-class citizen, even though non-BA holders may make more money and accumulate more wealth over their lifetimes.

In short, Murray examines the question, "Is college worth it?" and answers "For most people, no." His alternative is a set of professional competency tests, like the CPA exam.

Read more here.

On a personal note, I tell my children there are only three skills you should possess as the result of an education, whether or not you possess a degree: the ability to think logically, the ability to express yourself clearly in writing and in speech, and the ability to perform math at a high level. All the rest you can learn as you need it.

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