Higher Learning: January 2007 Archives

Education

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Charles Murray, author of the controversial "The Bell Curve" is at it again with a three-part series on education in Opinion Journal.

All three are interesting reads with bold arguments, but I want to focus on the second. Actually, I don't want to focus on it, I want to use it as an occasion to remind myself that I forgot to blog this outstanding essay by Matthew Crawford from the New Atlantis - an excellent quarterly that deals with issues of technology and society. Crawford's piece is interesting and makes a compelling argument for a career in a trade. I demand - demand! - that you read the whole thing, but for those who adamantly refuse to obey, I will be a softie and give you the conclusion, because it's that important:

So what advice should one give to a young person? By all means, go to college. In fact, approach college in the spirit of craftsmanship, going deep into liberal arts and sciences. In the summers, learn a manual trade. You’re likely to be less damaged, and quite possibly better paid, as an independent tradesman than as a cubicle-dwelling tender of information systems. To heed such advice would require a certain contrarian streak, as it entails rejecting a life course mapped out by others as obligatory and inevitable.

This in a sense contradicts Murray's comments in the second column linked above, and in fact Murray has the better argument that if you can follow your career path without attending college, then by all means do it. But given the way high school graduates are herded into college, Crawford's advice is more realistic.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Higher Learning category from January 2007.

Higher Learning: August 2006 is the previous archive.

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