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The Case Against Education

Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
Lu par : Allan Robertson
Durée : 11 h

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Description

Why we need to stop wasting public funds on education

Despite being immensely popular - and immensely lucrative - education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity - in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.

Learn why students hunt for easy A's and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy.

Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers.

Romantic notions about education being "good for the soul" must yield to careful research and common sense - The Case Against Education points the way.

Cover design by Leslie Flis.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brandon B.
  • 17/05/2018

Finally, someone says what needs to be said about education

I’ll be upfront about my bias before getting into the review. I already was a disgruntled college graduate and soon-to-be graduate school graduate. I majored in Neuroscience at UCLA and looking back years later, I remember maybe about 5% of what I learned. Moreover, the idea that I had to pay thousands of dollars so some administrators could tell me what classes had to take and then grade me on some exams that were just memorization strikes me as one of the most perverse transactions in the free market.

The online courses rectify much of this. I can pay for education that I want or need and I can demonstrate my understanding or skill acquisition on my terms. It’s a fair transaction.

Unfortunately, hardly any company will take a Coursera “degree” or the like seriously because of the signaling Model that this wonderful book articulates so well. The idea is that while I may be able to find alternative sources of education that may provide a far superior skill learning experience, it doesn’t matter to the labor market. The labor market cares more about the trifecta of your intelligence, work-ethic, and conformity than it does mastery of skills. College is great at certifying this trifecta and that’s largely why college degrees pay; it merely signals the quality of the job candidate.

This book not only describes this signaling Model but proposes some ostensibly draconian maneuvers to counter act the status quo: namely stop government funding of education. We always here cries that education is becoming too expensive and out of reach for poor students, but Caplan wants to drive up the costs even more. The hope is that a high cost college degree will only attract those who will actually benefit from it (without signaling) and hence credentials will become less important for securing a job that otherwise doesn’t need one. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds, although I don’t think it’s the most important contribution of the book. Anyone can get a world class education online these days for free. What’s all the fuss about high cost of college then? Because we all deep inside know it’s not just about “education,” it’s about the diploma you get at the end certifying you went through a bunch of hoops and are a high quality job candidate.

While the proposal of defunding education is almost surely dead on arrival given the political system, a broader awareness and acceptance of signaling in education would hopefully make people think twice about majoring in Scandinavian Studies or perhaps even going to college. Indeed, one of the most important takeaways is that if college is acting as a signal of quality to potential employers, there may be other less costly (in both time and money) ways to signal the same thing. But it remains to be seen how well other signaling packages might scale to the whole country.

In any case, the book was eye opening and a breath of fresh air. I surely hope we see some true education reform in the direction of less credentialism and focus on a fair transaction between the student and educator.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas J. Hind
  • 15/10/2018

A radical but important read

Caplan's argument, although seemingly radical, needs to at least be heard and I'm sure even his most aggresive critics would give many of his points credit. Many highschool students would do well to hear him out, if only for the benefit of being able to understand and view the labor market more correctly through the eyes of the employer. My only complaint is his penultimate chapter. While a pretend debate with caricatures of his opponents is a creative way to summarize, it does seem to comes off as pretentous. Overall a great and important read and I thank Caplan for "whistle-blowing" his own industry.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 16/11/2018

Worth Reading if you’re interested in changing the education system

The book was very well researched and strongly defended against possible criticisms of Caplan’s arguments. Many key opposing viewpoints to Caplan’s arguments were discussed and well debated over. Frankly, the book deserves to be taken seriously as it strongly challenges the popular support for a flawed system of education.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13/10/2018

another thought-provoking book by Bryan Caplan.

As one of the overeducated elite described in Brypan Caplan book I found itvery thought-provoking. He goes through some very detailed explanations as to what is happening with our education system as well as a thorough analysis of what is wrong with it. you may not reach the same conclusions that he reaches ( the government spending should be cut to the bone) but it's hard to argue with his main point that we spend too much on education and most of it is wasteful.

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  • Abdelhamid S. Abdou
  • 07/08/2018

The Education System is a waste

Do we really need to spend all these years in different school levels and college to get jobs?

Mr. Caplan proves in this book that the answer is no. In reality, degrees provide signals to employers of certain skills such as hard work and conformity. Most of nontechnical degrees give people knowledge they will quickly forget and and none of this knowledge is translated to actual job skills. Employers look for college graduates because in a world where everyone thinks that college is important, those who drop out send clear negative signals.

Mr. Caplan uses research and surveys from different fields to come to his conclusions. Its an interesting read that I hope will make us question the resources we waste on college education in its current form and the years of production we lose by keeping young people in schools for increasing number of years instead of letting them join the work force and actual contribute to the economy.

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  • Robert
  • 27/09/2018

Loved this. Changed my mind.

Excellent. Definitely an original argument that is heavily backed by data. I didn’t give the story 5 stars because I thought the dialogue section at the end was too much of a rehash of the earlier chapters.

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  • W. Morgan
  • 06/08/2018

Excellent. Worth a listen - especially today.

I found this to be a compelling case against the current system of government education in the United States.The author certainly presented his argument well and supported his points. He did tire me a bit about signalling - but it's a major problem and central to much of the argument being made.

Educators and those interested in discussions of the problems in the system will likely find food for thought here.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tj
  • 26/04/2019

students, parents, educators and policy makers

What a remarkable work which objectively crystalizes the status quo such that real progress may at least be credibly entertained

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  • Justus
  • 09/04/2019

superbly researched and accessible.

very well researched and covers the topic from a multitude of angles. Interspersed with technical details but never at the expensive of making his points understandable and accessible.

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  • Hansell S.
  • 26/03/2019

MUST READ/LISTEN & SHARE

Thought provoking and data rich analysis of modern education system. A must read for any voter, parent and conscious human.