Thursday, June 13, 2013

Most Degreed Persons In America Ever YIPEE!

Another article champion the rise of degreed individuals in this country.  The story has become old hat by now, talks about how women are out competing men in terms of earning degrees, that the poor are lagging behind, that completion rates for current students are alarmingly low and the platitudes about how necessary a college education is lest you be doomed to poverty forever.

I know this has been beaten to death, but simply looking at the number of graduates is a very poor way to estimate the academic achievement of Americans, and their subgroups, or their future economic prospects. The Captain has been the most vocal about this but it cannot be said enough, before girls raise their fists in the air about much awesomer they are than the boys, or the virtues of a degree regardless of what it is, people should realize that a degree in a soft field like the arts is not the same as a degree in a hard field.

I know, I know, saying such a thing is sexist, misogynistic, ignorant, anti-intellectual so on and so forth, but the fact is that it's true. Reality doesn't care if you find it offensive or misogynistic  This information is a few years old, but the US Census did a little study on degree holders in the United States. The study found that men were overwhelmingly represented in degrees like Engineering, Physics and related sciences, and computers while women were overwhelmingly represented in degrees like Education, Psychology and Literature. The only "hard" field that there were a significant number of women were science and engineering related fields.

Interestingly enough, guess which fields earned the most money and which the least. You guessed it, science and engineering earned the most, while education and liberal arts earned the least. Not only that, but earning a science and engineering degree means you also much more likely to get a job. I wonder how many of the 40% or so unemployed college grads from this poll have a "hard" degree versus a "soft" degree. 

Of course this is nothing new, almost everyone either knows, or has heard, this information before. Whether that person accepts this truth is another matter. Personally, I am glad that I, among many others, was able to steer my younger brother towards either taking an engineering or accounting degree. I am also glad that my girlfriend's younger sister, who recently graduated high school, is planning on doing computer programming at her college; she is a sweet girl and I hope she sticks with it.

Before I close this post I want add my own commentary on some quotes from the article.

“Think about jobs 15 years ago that didn’t need any college education,” said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education. Many of them now do, she added.
Those jobs still don't need a college education, the market is just over flooded with liberal arts degrees so why just not ask for one? Supply and demand Sandy.

“Maybe you don’t need a bachelor’s to change bedpans,” Ms. Baum said, “but today if you’re an auto mechanic, you really have to understand computers and other technical things.” 
This kind of quote is enough to cause a cerebral hemorrhage. Understanding computers, devices millennial have been playing with since we were toddlers, requires us to get a college education? Funny, I seem to remember a lot of parents, well educated parents, who had to rely on their not yet college educated children to do their computer stuff for them already. As for technical things, she might as well said car doohikies, a lot of that stuff could be learned either on your own or on the job.

1 comment:

  1. I hope I made the right decision admitting myself into a votech school to acquire a skill in welding. Maybe automotive work and air conditioning education might have been just as good.

    I've been on a gap year trying to figure out exactly what I want to do and after applying to two colleges, both of which I had to change because either they were too far away from my house or they put me on a waiting list for housing.

    Tech school is something I've been wanting to do since last October, but my family scoffed at the idea, especially my sister who thought that I would rather take gen ed courses instead and all this stuff. I actually did take a few gen ed courses last summer at a college in downtown Atlanta. If I could do it all over again, I would have immediately gone to a trade school last summer, take a semester long break to see if I could find a good entry level job with my certificate, and THEN go to college and try to complete an engineering program or take a few years off and have the company pay for my degree.

    My sister is also the one who majored in political science and got rejected by Georgia State University's law school. Tried to tell her to avoid the third tier trash pits like Mercer but she sadly hasn't listened to any of the stuff I tried to warn her about. Oh well. Live and let live.

    I did an analysis of a similar article here.


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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.