The Case Against Education: Government Spending $1 Trillion a Year on Schooling Is a Waste of Money

It’s absolutely true that school makes people
show up, sit down, shut up and that these are useful skills for people
to have in adulthood. So the real question is if all we’re trying
to do is prepare people for a job, why not prepare them with a job? I’m Nick Gillespie for Reason and today we are talking with the author of what is almost certainly going to be the
most controversial book of the year. Bryan Caplan is an economics professor at
George Mason University, and his new book is The Case Against Education. Bryan, thanks for talking with Reason. Thanks for such an exciting introduction. Well, let’s get right to it. Early on you say flatly, you write flatly, “This book argues that our education system
is a big waste of time and money.” And now you’re not simply saying that our
schools are overpriced and uneven in quality, you are actually making the case that much
of our traditional education system, especially higher ed, is literally a waste
of time, right? Absolutely. What do you mean by that? What I mean is that people are going there
to get a higher income, but they’re actually not getting much in the
way of job skills, which raises a big puzzle for an economist. How can they be getting a higher income if
they’re not getting much in the way of job skills? And my answer comes down to something called
the signaling model of education that says that a lot of the reason why education
pays isn’t that you learn useful skills, but that you distinguish yourself. That you’re getting stamped or labeled. You’re getting a sticker on your forehead,
Grade A worker. So it’s kind of like you come out as a piece
of steak. You’re USDA prime, but you haven’t been cooked
yet. Precisely. And the the key thing about this is, selfishly
speaking, it doesn’t really matter why you’re getting
more money. But from a social point of view, from the
point of view of is this a good use of taxpayer dollars, it matters tremendously because everybody
just gets more years in education and all you’re doing is showing off. Then you’re just raising the bar for how much
school you need in order to get a job in the first place. So let’s talk about the magnitude of wasted
time and money. I guess for most people, if you go from kindergarten
through a B.A. you’re talking about 17 years roughly. So that’s a lot of time, but how much money
do we spend as a society on education? Yeah, so government funding is about a trillion
dollars a year when you add up all levels. Our economy is about 20 trillion dollars,
so that’s a large chunk of change. Yeah, so you’re talking about something like
5 percent of all GDP. And then of course private spending tops it
up a bit further, so it’s something over a trillion. And by the way, the one thing that’s interesting
about this is you don’t really make a distinction between
private and public education, because this isn’t a book about how the public
school system is failing kids. It’s just how education is useless. I mean, I know libertarians want to hear a
different story, but I’m telling the story that I think is
true rather than the story that I would even find
ideologically most congenial. For me, the main thing is I’ve gone to public
school. I’ve gone to private school. I don’t really see very much difference. And in both cases it seems to me that most
of what’s going on is showing off in order to look better for
the labor market. Which, again, individually makes perfect sense, but socially speaking, everyone can’t be above
average. So this is kind of like a private vice is
actually becomes a public vice because- Or rather a private virtue becomes a public
vice because- Yeah. I mean, I think of education as being a lot
like football stadiums, where like the main libertarian complaint
about football stadiums isn’t that we’re not making the right kind
of football stadiums. It’s that government is pouring a ton of money
on something, and really what we need is to have fewer worse
football stadiums. But more money left to for people to spend
in a meaningful way. Yeah. But possibly not on football stadiums. Possibly on totally different things. Before we go into the signaling model per
se, talk a little bit about the human capital
model of education because these are the two big competing explanations. What is the human capital education model? Yeah, the human capital model is a fancy phrase for what your teachers and politicians and
your parents have been telling you, which is you go to school to get smart and
to learn all kinds of useful stuff which you’re then going to apply in the real
world. You’re investing in yourself. Yeah, you’re investing in yourself. So you’re transforming unskilled laborer into
a skilled, talented adult. It’s most associated with Gary Becker. You know, a famous Nobel prize winning economist. But really he was just putting an academic
veneer on something that is widely propagandized
in favor of the idea of school as a skills factory. It’s not simply … I mean, very few people, and I mean, you point this out continuously
in the book and I think accurately, nobody if you go to take a shop class, you’re not going to go and learn how to cut
ninja stars out of sheets of metal and that’s the job you’re going to have in
a factory. But the idea is that you learn skills. That you learn how to show up on time. You learn how to listen and follow instructions. You learn how to self-learn. And you’re saying that this is actually not
a very- Like how do you know that that’s not an accurate
model. Right, that’s one of the best arguments in
favor of the education we have. It’s one by the way that people usually have to be forced into
after a series of intellectual retreats. But, you know, here’s the main thing that
I say about that. It’s absolutely true that school makes people
show up, sit down, shut up and that these are useful skills for people
to have in adulthood. So the real question is if all we’re trying
to do is prepare people for a job, why not prepare them with a job instead of
with school where the overlap- There is a partial overlap in skills, but there of course is a lot of stuff that
you’re taught in school that is dysfunctional in the real world, like it’s very important for everything to
be fair. Jobs aren’t fair, but school, everything has
to be fair. Talk about the sheepskin effect, because for me, this is the thing that totally whatever affection I had for the human capital
model of education, this really kind of kicked that to the curb. So diplomas used to be written on the skins
of sheep and the sheepskin effect refers to the fact that a lot of the payoff from education comes
from crossing the finish line, from graduation, a disproportionate amount. So like in the book, I just average over a
whole lot of studies. So as for college, finishing senior year pays
something like seven times as much as a regular year. Seven times as much. Now either we save almost all the useful job
skills for graduation year, which sounds really implausible. You know, your senior year is goof-off year, not finally-learn-some-job-skills year. Or there’s something going on in the rewards
for education that’s not about skills that you’re learning. And I say, like the main thing that we’re
getting is it’s a signal of conformity. In our society, you are expected to graduate. Everyone tells you to graduate. If you fail to do so despite all of this social
pressure, you’re saying something very bad about yourself
and the labor market responds negatively to you. Although one of the things that I think is
really interesting about the book is that you do steer clear of extremes because
there are- Immediately you can hear people saying, “Well, what about Steve Jobs? What about Bill Gates?” Of course. “What about Michael Dell?” There’s the list of- Or Andrew Carnegie for that matter. So I mean, you’re not saying that all of these
things are infinite extremely perfectly, right? Yeah, no, of course. So I have two chapters that are the most quantitative
part where I sit around trying to crunch the numbers and say what fraction of the payoff for education
comes from human capital, what fraction comes from signaling. Of course, you learn reading, and writing,
and math in school to some degree. And of course those are useful job skills. But what fraction of the time that you’re
in school is really learning anything you’re ever going
to use again? What fraction of the payoff comes from what
you’ve learned rather than what you’ve demonstrated you can
do? What do you do with the arguments that, well, school maybe or education and particularly
K-12 education is not for job skills, but it’s for citizenship. And this is- You know, it’s- The progressive era talked a lot about that,
like we need to make good citizens, especially out of increased numbers of immigrants who had no understanding of American history. Where does that fall in the human capital
model? Right. So I mean that would actually be totally outside
of it. Again, like human capital versus signaling are trying to figure out why do employers
pay you more for it. Now this other stuff, I have a full chapter
on it as well, and it just begins with saying, look, the
argument in principle is sound, but we have to look empirically to see whether
it’s really true. You know, I have a big section where I just go over how much civics do American
adults even know? And the answer is next to nothing. Next to nothing. Yeah, I mean, you note that if people who
were born here or were citizens had to pass the citizenship test of immigrants I think was something like 70 percent would
fail. I’m glad you remember that. I don’t. So what we can see is that like even the most
basic stuff, like how many senators does each state have,
maybe half of American adults know this. And this is not after a one-week course in
civics. So, you know, like you say, well, American high school students on average will
do three years of civics and history. So three years and yet what do we have to
show for it? Next to nothing. Well, we have football stadiums. Yes, we have football stadiums. So talk about the signaling model. How does the signaling model work? You say partly it shows that you’re willing
to conform to certain basic norms that are going to make you appealing to employers, but there’s more to it than that, right? Yeah so I mean, there’s a lot of different desirable
traits that you are signaling with educational accomplishment. So there’s the obvious ones. You’re signaling that you’re smart. Smart people do better in school. If you’ve done well in school, natural inference
is the person’s probably smart. Not necessarily, but generally. You’re signaling work ethic because even the
smartest person in the world can’t do well in school if they don’t show
up and do a bit of work. And then finally, the most subtle one that
I talk about a lot is conformity, signaling you’re willing to submit to social
norms. And the conformity one is where we really
get things like the sheepskin effect. Because if we were just signaling intelligence
and work ethic, there still isn’t really a good story, well,
why does the last year pay so much? Once you accept that a lot of it is about,
yes, master, I will conform to what our society demands
of me, that’s where graduation is so important. That’s why in a country where college lasts
three years, it’s the third year that’s crucial. In a country where it lasts four years the fourth year is crucial. Just like in a country where suits are the
standard thing you wear to an interview, you better wear a suit or else you look like
a weirdo and people don’t want to hire you. Libertarianism is about individualism, but then is there a sliding scale of when
you get too conformist, because then you’re also not a good worker,
right, in many ways? Like you’re an economics professor. If you were simply doing what everybody else
was doing, that would be a problem. A line that I quote in the book roughly is
what employers want is intelligent conformism. They want people who apply their full intellectual
power to the task that is given to them. Now sometimes there are creative occupations
where they’re told be creative on this task. Well, even there, almost no employer wants
you to be so creative that you say, “Hey, maybe this project isn’t even worth
doing, maybe I should be the boss.” So there’s always that. And then again of course most jobs are not
really very creative and there’s a tendency in the information
age to focus on the small share of jobs where we do want people shooting basketball
while they shoot the breeze. But I mean, most jobs are not like that. Vast majority of jobs are not like that. It’s about there’s a customer. He wants a definite product, give him that
product or else I don’t want you around. Talk about one of the ways that this system
gets enforced is through social desirability bias. What is that and how does that inform the
larger education network? Social desirability bias is the concept in
psychology that is barely known by either economists
or libertarians and yet should be the single most cited concept
in psychology, social desirability bias. You know, a simple version is people like
to say what sounds good. They like to say things that will make people
think that they are a kind and- A kind, respectful, and respectable person,
right? So you can see this in things like what is
the socially desirable answer to, “Am I fat?” Of course the socially desirable answer is,
“I’m not fat.” Now of course some people aren’t fat and then
you just tell them the truth, but on the other hand, we know that if someone
is in fact fat, our strong temptation is to say something
that sounds good but isn’t true. This is something where of course we see it
in daily life, but also has clear political roles. You know, just think about any time a politician
says, “And we need to put more resources into education,
health care, and the environment.” Now these are all things that sound good. And if you could imagine a politician saying, “We have now done enough for education, and
health care, and the environment. We know they’re important, but enough is enough.” That’s nothing that a politician would ever
want to stick their neck out and say because it sounds bad. It sounds like you’re not a caring person,
you’re not a respectable person. What I say is a lot of the support for education
is social desirability bias in a sense that if we- The only thing that a good person would say
is more and better, never less and worse. There are obviously entrenched interests in a kind of education industry as well as
it helps employers, right? Because employers, even if we’re not learning
the skills, they’re going to train us on the job for whatever
we need to do, but they benefit in a way, right, from the
signaling process because it makes it- You at one point you say that employers can’t
look at every individual applicant closely, so they use these as rough sorts. Yeah, I mean, employers benefit from there
being some signal. But I don’t think employers benefit from the
college degree being the signal of quality rather than the high school degree. So something where like in 1950 like about
something like 25 percent of American adults would have finished high school at that point,
and then an employer could say, “Well, they’re a high school graduate. Great. Perfect. They’re managerial material.” Now it’s a college degree. As to why employers benefit from pulling four
years worth of labor off the job market, I don’t think that they do actually. Can we talk about that? What is the historical, the kind of material
basis for this? You know, again, schools became at least up
through sixth grade or eighth grade for most kids, sort of became mandatory in the early 19th
century. By the end of the century it was everywhere. Is part of this, is part of the growth of
education as being so important and central to our identity, is it simply we need to warehouse kids now that we don’t need them to be chimney
sweeps or to do like things, you know, kids have little hands. They can work on machines with little hands,
things like that, or hawk newspapers. We don’t need them to do that labor anymore. Are we just warehousing kids? Like what’s the sociology or the genealogy
of why we have so much education? Going 100 years back, there is this popular
story that employers wanted kids trained to be cogs
in the corporate machine. And I would say like if you really wanted
to train cogs in your corporate machine, you would not design anything like the public
school system we have. It would be like military school. You would whip kids into shape, get them to
say, “Yes, sir.” Give them a lot of propaganda about how great
their corporate pay masters are. That’s not the way that education looked 100
years ago, and it’s certainly not the way that it looks
today. This is not a system that really seems to
be designed to prepare people to be useful employees. You’d never have the everyone’s a beautiful
unique snowflake kind of propaganda, the touchy-feeliness. That’s not what employers want. Employers want someone that will follow orders,
do what they’re told, and accept criticism, which is of course crucial for learning. So I don’t think that it really makes much
sense to think of the current system as something that has been molded for the
interest of corporate America. I mean, I think, you know, so if corporate
America of course if they can tweak it a little bit
in their favored direction they will, but it’s- But what else would we do with kids? Yeah, so there’s kids and kids, right? Young kids, of course, they need to be warehoused. So give them day care. Well, even there, as to why kids can’t go
to school and then learn reading, writing, and math
for a few hours and then get to play for the rest of the day
within a supervised facility, I’ve got no clue about why you couldn’t just
do that rather than boring them to death and making
them study stuff they don’t care about. But even for older kids, like 13-year-olds,
14-year-olds, 15-year-olds, as to why they can’t actually be out in the
real world as apprentices. There are countries that do this. Germany and Switzerland do this. No reason why American kids could not do this
as well, right? And say like they can’t do anything. Sure they can do stuff. Say, well, we don’t need them. Well, the economy’s not based upon what we
need. It’s based upon what we got, right? What do we need? We need like a few bowls of rice a day. But what we’ve got, however, is enough to
go and produce vastly more and like I don’t see any reason why teenagers
could not be part of the labor market at a much earlier age than they are right
now, right? And, you know, of course if we’re always worried
that any kid who’s working is being distracted from his much more important
studies, this isn’t going to fly. But if we realize these studies are not really
that socially valuable anyway and it would be better to get kids in the
labor force— especially, by the way, kids that are not
very academically inclined anyway where they get shoved and prodded to go and
succeed and go to college, which is almost certainly never going to happen
for them. And by the time that they drop out, they’re
so bitter about the whole system that they are not suited for really any job. I’ve got a chapter in the book called One
is Greater Than Zero. It’s like it’d be better just to train people
to do one job rather than zero, which is what a lot of kids leave high school
or drop out of high school, are able to do. So what is to be done? And you write in the concluding chapter of
the book, “Slash government subsidies. This won’t make classes relevant, but will lead students to spend fewer years
sitting in classrooms. Since they’re not learning much of use, the
overarching effect will not be de-skilling, but credential deflation.” Talk about that. Yeah, so credential inflation is what we’ve
seen over the last century. The amount of education that you need to get
one and the same job has increased dramatically. So basically since World War II it’d be about
a four-year increase in the amount of education you need to get
a job. This is why we see college graduates doing
things like waiting tables, bartending, where we’re driving taxis. These are not just ultra rare examples that
make it onto the news. These are common jobs for college graduates
to have these days, and it does seem like even in these jobs,
a college degree does pay. It helps you get promoted and get a position
in the better restaurants or the better bars. But the reason is there’s so many people with
these degrees that employers can afford to be picky and
say, “Well, fine. I want college graduates tending my fancy
bar.” You know, like I say this is the function
of the proliferation of credentials. And if education were more expensive and the
subsidies were lower, fewer people would go. Now when you’re talking about subsidies here, I mean, you have 90 percent plus of K-12 spending
is spent on public schools. There’s so much federal money and state money
going into colleges, as well even private colleges. You’re saying cut that? Absolutely. So cut government spending. Cut the subsidies. This is the one of the most egregious cases
of industrial policy that we see all over the world, and it’s one that’s almost totally uncontroversial even though if you go into a classroom and
say, “Well, wait, why are we going and teaching
these kids this stuff? They’re going to forget it anyway, and it’s not really relevant to what they’re
going to do in real life, so why?” And to save you from a charge of philistinism,
you’re not saying in the book, “Well, don’t read novels, don’t study art,
don’t study music.” You’re simply saying that as part of the curriculum, most of what we learn other than basic mathematics
and literacy, including English skills, is kind of useless. Yeah, so useless in the labor market. Now, so you said I’m a professor and I am
a high culture kind of person and German upright, Shakespeare. This is the stuff that I like. But I still recognize that there’s something
twisted about ramming it down a kid’s throat. A key part of appreciating this kind of stuff
is coming to it in your own good time, actually being curious and ready. So like if you go and actually inspire a sincere
affection for Shakespeare or opera, that’s great. I see this happening almost never in school. The kids are there. They go and pay lip service to it, and then
as soon as they’re done, they walk away and say, “Well, I never want
to have to hear that garbage again. I hated that stuff.” This is where I say that while I’m not very
optimistic about the potential of online education to really compete with brick and mortar schools, it’s already doing a tremendous job in terms
of quenching the human thirst for enlightenment. Right, and you need a course, and what’s great
about the Internet is that you don’t have to concentrate all
your fire power on kids that are between 15 and 22. You can wait around for adults to say, “I’m
30. Now I’m curious about Shakespeare. It seemed really boring when I was young, but now maybe I would like to go and learn
something about it.” So, you know, to say that while I’m all on
board with the noble goals of enlightening the human spirit, a key part of this is you’ve got to have volunteers
that want to learn. Just trying to ram this down the throat of
conscripts, which is what education normally does, is an insult to everything that enlightenment
stands for. You know what? I’m hearing Pink Floyd’s The Wall playing
in the background. Yes, yes. And this is the soundtrack of the book. Bryan Caplan’s latest book The Case Against
Education. He’s a George Mason economics professor. Also you wrote a few years ago The Myth of
the Rational Voter. I think this book is going to be just as controversial
and hopefully as widely read. Bryan, thanks for talking to Reason. Alright, thanks so much, always great talking to you, Nick. For Reason, I’m Nick Gillespie.

  1. Paul Simon said it all "when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all, and my lack of education hasn't hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall." When you get to high school, you should pick your career. If your hands on and want a skill trade, that's all you do for 4 years. If you want to join the military, you take course that prep you, college prep, etc. The one shoe for a all high school curriculum is garbage.

  2. He is aiming at the right wing demographic. Those folks habitually parrot ANYTHING claimed by the wealthy.
    Those wealthy think they are too important, too genetically superior, to pay ANYTHING in taxes. This kind of book represents an excuse to cut education funding and eliminate those taxes. From my own life experience the author's premise is a bunch of [email protected] I went to public school. I learned a lot. I wasn't alone.

    I don't deny there are problems in public education. For one thing, bureaucracy is expanding beyond good sense. Some aspects of unionization prevent the removal of bad teachers. There are other issues. That, however, does not mean no one learns. People do and the wealthy ought to help pay for that like everyone else.

  3. 1st up. I haven't read this book, but I'm familiar with the main arguments of the author. So, what's my point? It's that there isn't anything in his book that you couldn't find for free, and infinitely more eruditely argued by the wonderful polymath Ivan Illich: I learnt close to zero in school before leaving literally 5 mins before being thrown-out. I then went to college, (junior college to our American friends) which was a welcome tonic to the moronic tedium of school. Then it was time for the first of my two stints at university, where surprise, surprise I found myself going straight back to metaphorical beginning. Post-graduate maybe a different kettle of fish, I don't know, but I'd be frankly amazed if this is the case. Anyway, that option wasn't made available to me, as my scheming tutors marked me out of 70% in my final exams/submissions, on the specious grounds that I had submitted a 1st year essay late! This after I had caught a couple of them – regular contributors to the BBC Newsnight, etc., plagiarising low circulation American defense journals. 

    No, education – as currently practiced, is like modern healthcare, a ruinously expensive and largely pointless activity, at least for the patients and students. Not of course (excuse the pun) for the army of 2nd and 3rd raters that 'teach', and of course the growing population of administrators and assorted progressive busy bodies that draw a nice, easy living from the sector.

    Ironically, I now work as an ESL teacher. Close to minimum wage, no healthcare, no benefits, no pension, no sick or holiday pay, but I sleep well, in the knowledge that I earn an honest crust. If you don't rate me, then you're free to take your business elsewhere. And I don't give out phony 'qualifications' neither.

  4. He's right. Kick all the illegamigrants out, they can go live in China's ghost towns, and get those shorties to work!

  5. Not quite sure why he keeps talking about libertarians? I'm pretty sure they are more about you do you and I'll do me.. Perhaps he means liberals??

  6. I agree with most of what he is saying, though I do feel that k-12 education is necessary as it did spark a great deal of curiosity, however it should be entirely restructured to include more relevant skills and allow students to choose their educational path. With college, the first almost 2 and a half years has been entirely a rehash of my high school education, only in the past 6 months have a learned things specific to my field of study that are beneficial (my degree is finance and logistics). So simple plan, restructure k-12, trim the fat from college (make it a streamlined program taking one to two years) remove subsides, and beat this single phrase into the mind of society "A COLLEGE EDUCATION IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, THERE ARE OPTIONS".

  7. Thanks, but we figured that out 20 years ago and homeschooled our 5 children while having them help us run our small business.

  8. In my experience, the Computer Science degree(s) BS and MS have paid off … but I left university and started working 30 years ago at IBM. Since then, I have worked for a number of employers along with a start-up company. The degrees (and Masters in particular) were a big deal. Most of my classes were in computer science and math. Fast forward … a degree in CS is no longer necessary … in fact, it can be costly in terms of time and money. I work with a number of software engineers that are self-taught or have minimal university credits. In terms of the interview — simply demonstrate that you know how to program in the required languages in context of the needs of the employer + show that you really want to work in the particular position for which you are interviewing + make it clear that you can be an effective member of a development team in terms of working your code through to production.

  9. I am 17 I have already been accepted to college I work a $20 an hour job on weekends and I have come to realize that school is just warehousing kids, and I'm fuckin pissed I still have 3 months of full-time school and I was pissed about it 2 years ago.

  10. education???? BS. The case against compulsory government schooling. The government schooling does not teach people HOW to think,,, it tries to indoctrinate people into WHAT to think. That is NOT 'education' at all.

  11. you know the old battle cry you hear from every politician/neighbor/friend/relative….we need to spend more on education! (it is like a zombie chant)
    what does that mean? if we doubled the amount what would change? NOTHING! we talk about cutting health care costs and military spending but never is sacred and holy and reality it is literally a money pit!

  12. What I got from the education system was a reason for my mom to abuse me, because my sister got “better grades then me”. Then I got abuse from my sister cause she learned something before me, cause I was 2yrs younger then her and 2 grades behind her… sooo… school was good cause it got me out of the house, but was bad cause it was just another reason for being psychologically abused. All I really did was doodle in school, and when I did pay attention I did learn what I was taught, but only when I paid attention. Which the teachers and the environment couldn’t do… I never liked the books they wanted us to read, I probably needed one on one math, and was ashamed to ask for it or go to extra help due to fear of having it used against me by my family. As a kid I had this idealized very narrow view of education, college seemed like the coolest place to be as a kid, since I was into space, and music, and they always had concerts and the community college by my house had a observatory. Tho as I grew up and the reality of what education did set in, which was more indoctrinate kids, and create a ecosystem that is a echo chamber, of underdeveloped minds.

  13. The human capital model is driven by the OECD itself, with all their standardised testings which the countries would trump and compete over. It's an international machine. How to fight? Sigh…

  14. I taught home schooling classes for 11 years for my Church and community home schooling groups. Public Education today is a complete bust. Yes, there may be the unusual exception but on average public schools abuse kids rather than teach them useful knowledge. I cannot tell you how many students came into my homeschooling classes right out of public schools who were completely lost. They had no idea how to write a sentence, or even what a sentence was! No idea of grammar, could not even define what grammar was! Punctuation? Forget about it! And, such things as logic, reading comprehension, basic science understanding…..No clue. I am not just a teacher. I have successfully re-roofed my own house, without prior training. How? Was able to comprehend instructions and understood basic science like, water runs down hill and will penetrate even the tiniest of openings. I successfully rebuilt my own engine. How? I was able to read and comprehend the instructions!!!!! Technical stuff like this is not hard if you have the basic training to read and understand the science behind instructions. Modern public schooling teaches none of this! In fact, I have come to believe that modern public schooling is child abuse!!!!

  15. 7:10
    "You learn reading, writing, and math skills in school-"
    You are taught those skills
    Doesnt mean you learn them

  16. 13:59
    "Kids have little hands; they can work on machines with little hands"
    What in the hell kind of Geiger machinations have you worked on…..

  17. It's like saying that you don't have to shover every day, you would probably be fine if you showered one a week so economically it's a waste of water, time and money, but as a society, we decided that we prefer when people shower daily and don't smell(even though it's not mandatory).

    Also I think that kids prefer going to school over working in ford factory from age 6…

  18. Many years ago when I was pursuing my bachelors, I requested some substitutions for required courses. I tried to take a creative writing class in lieu of a literature survey course, an introductory music theory course (which would teach reading music) instead of a music appreciation course, and a basic drawing or painting course instead of the required art appreciation course. Each of my preferred courses would actually teach me something I could use. Unfortunately, the dean of the liberal arts department, as well as each of the liberal arts professors I mentioned this to, was adamantly opposed to it. Being a computer science major at the time, I thought it was ironic that my advisor (in the science department) and my computer science professors all thought it was a good idea.

  19. Cut 100% of government funding for schools. Let the free market fix the distortions that this professor is describing, problems solved!

  20. School system is there to indoctrinate people in to social norms and the reduction on the family as the social unit of the child thus breaking bonds. education removes keeps children isolated from the economy and are essential now merchandise within the education economy. imagine free thinking children what would they become.

  21. If the U.S actually cared for U.S citizens it would do these things:

    Abolish the education system
    Stop rewarding people for not working, all these welfare systems and the way the government works does NOT incentivize people to actually work hard. It's more lucrative for people to live off the government, because of all the bullshit our government pulls on normal hard working people.
    Allow people to collect rainwater on their property (within rational limits)
    Have less strict building codes, basically people ought to be able to live in THOWs or other small houses on their own fucking land.
    Better protect the borders

    Basically the government needs to STOP interfering with people and allow people to escape wage slavery (the way society is set up is to keep people in debt as wage slaves, if the government truly cared about people it would try and prevent this, but instead it PUSHES it), and it needs to do it's main purpose which is the defense of our borders. That's it, enforce the law, and protect the country, that's it that's all the government should be doing. Instead it's become an oppressive force that actively seeks to undermine it's own population. Just my opinion. I would prefer to not be a slave my entire life and to be treated with respect, but the government has done well in making us ALL slaves. That's right if you are reading this you are most probably a slave, whether you realize it or not is your problem.

  22. maybe if people put as much time and effort into learning what they're taught in school as they do into memorizing whatever alex jones pukes out, they'd get more out of formal education. it's not that people can't learn. they "learn" from extremists and nazis and liars just fine. if they decided to learn from teachers and mentors and qualified professionals instead, maybe their lives would be better. it's not the education system's fault that you've decided to make yourselves ineducable.

  23. This is a great conversation. The best way to learn is from someone who has experience. Apprenticeships are excellent.

  24. It's unfortunate that learning in the US is only considered towards having a job. Why does it have to only be useful to make money? Wouldn't it be good to be educated in general to be able to think independently, skeptically, critically? And, because this is not considered important, aren't we seeing the result of that now socially and politically?

  25. OUR education system (in the US) is a waste. But that’s not to say that education across the board is a waste, just our crappy system.

  26. perhaps some of the larger businesses could sponsor several classes for grades 6 through 12 (which are somehow related to their business). for instance, Microsoft could sponsor computer science classes and Rayovac could sponsor electronic sources (and Google, YouTube, and Patreon could sponsor classes on biases, hypocrisy, and indoctrination). but seriously, it wouldn't cost tax payers any extra money and the things to be taught would actually have VALUE. charter schools and school vouchers would help tremendously as well (although charter schools also tend to gauge success using outdated standardized tests, but because they're not bogged down by all that bureaucracy, those are changes they could easily make over the course of a few semesters).

  27. How can we expect better? School is a poor answer to the unknown questions of life but the adults think it is the only way to progress.

  28. Hmm….The general idea is that K-12 should prepare kids with general knowledge….but in many instances, it doesn't. Kids should learn at least Trig by 12th grade, Physics/Biology/Chemistry and have some advanced level of English writing. I do believe 1 year of US History and 1 year of World History is important to know how things were, what worked and what didn't. The author is right that many Real World skills are not taught, such as competing, 'fitting in' within an organization, marketing yourself, how to learn specific skills, job aptitude testing (what you are good + what you like = career), apprenticeship, etc….And true, the way kids are taught is very static, there are better methods such as the Montessori system which "is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process."…Maybe the last few years of HS education should be left opened for a target career….Interesting interview!

  29. LOL. "…Shakespeare, this is the stuff I like but i still recognize there's something twisted in ramming it down a kids throat."

  30. I did not learn to read in school. I loved to read when I was a kid. my mom would read books to me when I was little and naturally I began to want to be able to read them to myself. My MOTHER taught me how to read and write and she did it with books I was actually interested in.

    In the public education system they force you to read books that I had 0 interest in. I was always into Fantasy and Sci fi.

    I hated school. Not only did I get bullied but it seemed like they tried to force you to learn about boring things that I had no interest in.

    To this day I'm well ahead of my peers in reading ability and EVERY SKILL I USE I didn't learn in school. I'm trying to learn Japanese. I've been working on Learning to program with Python at the same time. NONE OF THIS I LEARNED IN SCHOOL.

    I'm dismayed that going to college would require learning English and Math again just to get a degree.

    I maintain that HUMANS and CHILDREN love to learn but we send them to the public education system which teaches children learning is a chore and makes it harder in later life to stay focused and stay consistent about learning skills because after all learning is a chore.

    I'm almost done learning the Hiragana- I Didn't learn that shit in School and I don't anticipate learning anything useful in the first two years of college.

  31. read the free pdf " weapons of mass instruction " by ex teacher john Taylor gatto. used to be decentralized ad hoc small schools circa 1840s then became massive social engineering and dumbing down. to produce.servile employees. .. and a small class of leaders. kills creativity and even enthusiasm for life.and learning in many kids. kind of a form of child abuse. mentorship, aprencitiship, decentralized schooling and home schooling is the future.

  32. what about Steve jobs ? he never graduated… neither did a whole.list of entrepreneurs. people do music degrees, but someone who pulled herself out of drugs with busking and is incredibly creative, like Tash Sultana , is now world famous. formal ed is gonna end… and be replaced with self learning via the net and short courses.

  33. When I was in grade school someone told me it was wrong to have the attitude that says I don't like school but then go home and play a video game because someone had to go to school to learn electronics so they could invent that video game. That's not exactly true, what about Bill Gates didn't he drop out of college ?or the Wright Brothers what school did they learn about aeronautical engineering from? None it hadn't been invented yet………. People need to question this so called education mentality.

  34. The USA needs a 7-Track System made up of a few sub-tracks for each Major Track:
    Jail Track – teaching idiots how to use toilet paper and brush their teeth in preparation for failure and time in prison.
    Mechanical Track – Mechanics of all kinds
    Technology Track – Computers, etc.
    Engineering Track – Electronic, etc.
    Financial Track – Accounting, Economics, etc.
    Educational Track – Teachers to teach each of the Major Tracks. Also requires a 5-year internship.
    Math/Science Track – Obvious.

    If you are incapable of deciding which track to pursue by the end of 8th grade, you're out. Go find a minimum wage job. You do not qualify for more than what 50% of minimum wage is if you end up on welfare.
    Yep, if you want "Arts" do it on your own time.
    Time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
    Legitimate, certifiable handicapped individuals are an exception.

  35. Absolutely ridiculous. Education is the second best indicator of future wealth. This guy is proof that any idiot can get a college degree and validate his diarrhea of the mouth. Get him a napkin.

  36. I can tell you the funding behind todays education is from theft in which government uses coercion and violence for the IRS to fund it.

  37. It's all about being motivated at some point in early adulthood.
    Finding a career path in life is not dependant on your education level, granted you grasped all elementary level skills.

  38. Public schools are prisons. If you think the government funds schools out of the goodness of their hearts, you are greatly mistaken. The government is frightened at the prospect of letting teenagers be on the streets all day. They know that the police would have a difficult time managing all those young people on the streets.

  39. Public schools would not be so bad if attendance were not mandatory. Let if be a place that kids can go to whenever they feel like it. A good model would be the public libraries. Kids like to go to the library because they can look at books that are about subjects they are interested in. They should have free tutoring at libraries. Make libraries the centers of learning.

  40. I wouldn't limit access to education but find some way to limit credential inflation. Another insidious thing I learned recently is the idea of "externship" where the student has to pay to get an internship at a company. Also some places do not accept experience gained from internship/externship. Also a lot of places want several years experience for an entry level job. WTF

  41. unschooling is the only answer => physical institutions ("schools"): sudbury valley, sumerhill, online: khanacademy, coursera, edX. The main differences are education process is loosely structured (no subjects), kids different age helping each other/ learning together, there are mentors (~advisors) instead of teachers. And when govt want some standard e.g look at Australia only math & english are compulsory. Or test math (and possibly 2 other sciences) in similar form like: if you pass given amount of testing (gradual not just 1 test) till age of 16 parents are eligible for higher tax cuts (or smth similar to motivate). Should be basic intermediate max, nothing extensive.

  42. Encouraging people to stay in school until they are in their 20's is also a great way to create a narcissistic society, because in school people are primarily focused on themselves, unlike jobs where the focus is much more external.

  43. I'd like to see this guy fly in a plane that was designed by people who didn't go to college and see if he sticks to his "schooling is waste" schtick.

  44. Seems odd there is no mention of the value of teaching science and technology. How are the engineers, doctors and scientists going to get educated? Watching YouTube videos?

  45. It is no longer "Education", it has become "Teaching"! Where Teachers "teach" their opinions, ideologies, beliefs, morals (or lack of), values, and extremism where condemnation, fear, social denunciation, censure and damnation is enforced, where "education" and critical thinking is no longer allowed. Adolf Hitler said, "Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.
    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German Writer & Statesman, 1749-1832)

  46. the system, when originally established, absolutely had military like aspects about it. It's just that human conscious has realized how horrible this treatment is. it still holds that the system is set up to raise sheep, even unknowingly.

  47. Once you realize that 98% of the voters are actually voting to bankrupt their selves, to bankrupt their children and to bankrupt their grand children – and that most of those voters are college educated – then you realize that our education system, including even at our most prestigious universities, is a joke.

    Because it's no national security secret that both #Dummycrats and #Retardicants are working in a very bipartisan manner to bankrupt America with titanic debt. So not only is wasting your vote on Dummies or Retards a demonstration of bad basic math skills but it's also a wasted vote because it's indicative of a lack of simple common sense.

    Show me a school or university that requires a course in logic for graduation and I'll show you 1,000 that fail to even make an attempt.

    Show me a school or university that requires a course in emotional skills for graduation and I'll show you 1,000 that fail to even make an attempt.

    Show me a school or university that requires a course in highly effective goal setting for graduation and I'll show you 1,000 that fail to even make an attempt.

    Show me a school or a university that requires a course in character building for graduation and I'll show you 1,000 that fails to even make an attempt.

    I can keep going but the point is that our current educational system is a failing system and that's why I look at most teachers, most administrators, and even most professors as moochers who are mooching a paycheck from taxpayers while claiming they are educators in a system that produces very little of value.

    I can keep going on this topic all day but I imagine someone may already be experiencing butthurt and experiencing a pending meltdown.

  48. I regret choosing a 4 year college education instead of going to a trade school. My degree has never paid off for the amount of money that it cost.

  49. 8th grade was probably the most useful education of my life. The four related arts are music, art, home economics, and wood shop. Math class taught us how to do “living on your own” expenses. Music and art are very healthy for the brain, and allows us to get into good rhythms and routines. And home ec, we learn cooking and sewing. So we can learn to cook our own meals and learn how to fix our clothes, furniture, and such with fabric. And wood shop teaches carpentry, and allows us to learn how to fix all kinds of physical things around our house. Above all, all four allow us to create things instead of buying, which saves money and lets us make our mark as individuals.

  50. "Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery." – Benjamin Disraeli, 1874

  51. It's not education that is bad, since learning the correct form is a good thing and necessary for life. It's the fools in charge of the schools that are setting the tone for it feeling like prison. I can't say enough negative things about how poorly schools are run with minimal regard for the emotional well being of children. One teacher in an IEP meeting told my 14 year old son who was struggling with math "anyone should be able to do this stuff, it's like following the bouncing ball". I told her to be quiet and let the adults work this out.

  52. This resonates with the Thomas Sowell book, "Inside American Education". The video had great points to consider.

  53. I actually read his book. It's pretty interesting, and it certainly jibes with my experience in higher education. But I think that it might be difficult to persuade a lot of folks with a substantial emotional (or financial) investment in the status quo to undertake the reforms he suggests.


  55. What underlies the idea that we can all become happier, healthier and wiser by spending more time in school, is an epic confusion of cause and effect.

  56. As a man who was once a child beaten down by the modern education system this interview was music to my ears. I'm buying this book tomorrow.

  57. Can anybody think of a better way to have an entrenched social structure than to replace all schooling with job training?

    You don't move up in the world, in soviet libratardian land, we pick your job when you are 4 and teach you to do it, if you want to choose to do something else, take your liberty and choose.

  58. Although I agree with his point about the irrelevancy on universities, I think he's grasping on straws for the basic education system. If we all trained for specific jobs and learnt little else in high school, like many children are forced to in Asian cultures where becoming a doctor and working hard for one specific field is most valued, we would experience a soaring increase in suicide rates. Without basic knowledge, even the seemingly most irrelevant maths concepts might go over our head when normal conversations occur. A basic knowledge is essential. The way the school is approaching that is a bit outdated but does not require an as extreme change as he is proposing. He should approach less with an economic standpoint and instead come to a more humane view to what would be logical for the well-being of the person. The school system should be set up to foster an enjoyment for learning and progress by self-improvement and decide where one's interests lie in the end.

  59. Academics in the education system are releasing all of these new studies against western education to disincentivize higher education enrollment to reinflate the salaries for those who have college-level education.

  60. This interviewer is great. He read the book, drawing out information and answers to questions most people would, while allowing the guest elaborate on ideas they wrote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *