the usefulness of a college degree

My speech to the Oxford Union last night. (Medium)

We’re seeing paradigms change as fast as at the start of the railway and the telephony revolutions and in both of those there was more work based education and training, apprenticeships, and far fewer degrees.
I’m not an elitist about education, merely someone who feels that we have prized getting a large number of people to hold degrees over the usefullness to them and society of attaining them.

I have read a few articles over the last few years suggesting that the higher education system in the USA needs some realignment. I’m uncertain about how to advise my own kids. My wife and I both attended college on scholarship. I had a full scholarship but incurred some graduate school debt. I certainly don’t…

Continue Reading

There is a young America and there is an old America, and they don’t form a community of interest. One takes from the other. The federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare and $68 billion on education. Prescription drugs: $62 billion. Head Start: $8 billion. Across the board, the money flows not to helping the…

Continue Reading

Creative Talents

> So often, we limit our exploration of our photography identity to just photography! Yet our lives and personality are much broader and richer than this narrow perspective.... > There really is no other YOU. You have a unique perspective because of the combination of inputs that you have in your life. Inputs such as:…

Continue Reading

Elite Education

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education - The American Scholar by an author (The American Scholar)

If one of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security. When parents explain why they work so hard to give their children the best possible education, they invariably say it is because of the opportunities it opens up. But what of the opportunities it shuts down? An elite education gives you the chance to be rich—which is, after all, what we’re talking about—but it takes away the chance not to be. Yet the opportunity not to be rich is one of the greatest opportunities with which young Americans have been blessed. We live in a society that is itself so wealthy that it can afford to provide a decent living to whole classes of people who in other countries exist (or in earlier times existed) on the brink of poverty or, at least, of indignity. You can live comfortably in the United States as a schoolteacher, or a community organizer, or a civil rights lawyer, or an artist—that is, by any reasonable definition of comfort. You have to live in an ordinary house instead of an apartment in Manhattan or a mansion in L.A.; you have to drive a Honda instead of a BMW or a Hummer; you have to vacation in Florida instead of Barbados or Paris, but what are such losses when set against the opportunity to do work you believe in, work you’re suited for, work you love, every day of your life? Yet it is precisely that opportunity that an elite education takes away. How can I be a schoolteacher—wouldn’t that be a waste of my expensive education? Wouldn’t I be squandering the opportunities my parents worked so hard to provide? What will my friends think? How will I face my classmates at our 20th reunion, when they’re all rich lawyers or important people in New York? And the question that lies behind all these: Isn’t it beneath me? So a whole universe of possibility closes, and you miss your true calling.

Continue Reading