The Big Think

October 18, 2011

Occupy Education?

Filed under: Education,Politics — jasony @ 7:36 pm

“In the West, we are hard at work establishing a culture that fetishizes education, and instills the belief that college — regardless of its content or application — will, and should, inexorably lead to a better job, or a better life, or even a better America. Worse, that one has a right to these things. In doing so, we have created a Potemkin aristocracy, one based upon the erroneous and tragic conceit that having letters after one’s name intrinsically confers excellence. We are happily encouraging our children to join its ranks, regardless of whether there is any evidence that to do so will be in their interest. This is supremely ironic, given that so many of America’s billionaires — i.e. those who pay for more educations and create more jobs than anyone else — are college dropouts. Indeed, both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates failed to finish college. Can we say with a straight face that this has adversely affected them, or America at large?”

It’s an interesting (and timely) question. We tend to not question the assumption that everyone needs to go to college. With so many counterexamples of successful people who never went, and with college debt becoming akin to lifetime indentured servitude, it may be time to start questioning those assumptions.

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