Thursday, September 16, 2004


This table gives the latest U.S. unempoyment statistics in the rightmost column. Note that for those without a High School diploma the unemployment rate is 8.1% and that unemployment drops with each level of education so that those with a degree of some sort have an unemployment rate of only 2.7%.

The conventional interpretation of these statistics would be that education enhances your employability. What I think the results show, however, is quite the opposite. It shows that the amount of education you get under the present system makes remarkably little difference to your employability. If the current U.S. educational system was of much practical use, being without even a High School diploma should be a big handicap. Since 91.1% of those without such a diploma do in fact get a job, why even bother with High School, let alone a degree? Why not just start work six years earlier and acquire money instead of debts? Clearly, there are many more important factors than education in determining who gets a job. I am sure I don't need to name the factors concerned. The obvious retort to what I have just said is that college graduates get higher-paying jobs but, on Berg's figures, the total pay-difference is still negligible over a lifetime. Poorly paid graduates and well paid truck-drivers are, after all, hardly news.

Sorry to be so cynical.


I have just put online an article written over 30 years ago which might as well have been written yesterday. It offers a critique of the Leftist educational theories and practices that still plague our schools today. Excerpt:

l. Over the last few decades, wrong methods and the abandonment of scholarship as the main aim of education had destroyed the value of much of our schooling, and produced a crisis of 'non-education' in our schools.

2. The New Education, with its rejection of the basic disciplines in favour of sociologically 'relevant' topics on the one hand, and individual juvenile 'creativity' on the other hand, would deal the deathblow to education.

3. The New Education with its inherent tendency to place contentious social issues (and suggested solutions) before uneducated minds, had opened the way for indoctrination of our children and the consequent subversion of democracy.

4. That whatever we may think of 3, our present educational system, having abandoned syllabuses, inspection and examination, left our children entirely at the mercy of individual teachers who might or might not be worthy of their charge. This point is irrefutable, and alone would warrant action at government level.

Criticism of my article has mainly consisted, apart from personal attacks, of loose restatements of the case for the New Education emphasising its 'relevance' in our modern world. I am accused of being in an ivory tower because I believe that children should have a store of basic knowledge before they deal with 'relevant' subjects. Colleagues and I, and most parents and teachers, do not accept the theoretical case for the New Education, and are dismayed at the results of its practical application. In particular, we believe that the sense of frustration among so many of our school-children comes precisely from the failure of modern schooling to provide them with basic knowledge within recognised disciplines.

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