07 Jan 2019

Dumber Every Decade

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Audacious Epigone points to the combined ills of inflated credentials and the plague of student debt. In large sections of today’s America, everybody expects to go to college. Everybody expects to be an upper middle class boss of something. But not everybody is actually all that smart.

Today’s bachelor’s degree is the equivalent of a high school graduation certificate from fifty years ago, and today’s graduate degree falls short of a bachelor’s degree from a generation ago.

This is an inevitable consequence of increasing the share of the population that attends college. In the sixties, 10% of American adults had college degrees. Since then that figure has more than tripled, to 34% today.

To say we’re well into the territory of diminishing returns is to understate the problem–-we’re past the point of negative returns. Most Americans in college today are not benefiting from being there. They’re foregoing work to accrue debt for degrees that, if they increase earning power at all, do so only marginally and they’re picking up an unhelpful sense of entitlement in the process.


3 Feedbacks on "Dumber Every Decade"


Could not agree more. Society would be better served to replace the H.S. diploma with a certificate listing the student’s reading and math scores as well as their attendance and discipline records.

We would also be better served to require all public colleges and universities to admit students only upon passing an entrance exam (not the ACT or SAT) which is comprehensive, written at grade level and loooooong. This entrance exam would take the place of all the general education requirements, thus shortening the Bachelor’s track by three to four semesters. This in turn would reduce the cost of a college degree. (Think of all the professor’s that could be dismissed! Think of all the rooms and labs that could be freed up for use some other way!)

In addition to the entrance exam, remedial classes should be banned on the public campus. If they didn’t get it in H.S. let them pay for their own remediation somewhere else.


There is a paradox hidden in those statistics. Most Americans are in fact not either any dumber or uneducated today than they were in 1960. The schools are not failing most Americans. BUT for the very large and growing minority’s and immigrants from 3rd world countries who are continuing to make up a statistically greater portion of American children graduating from High School cultural and genetic factors are preventing them from meeting the average education of Americans from European descent. It is a harsh reality that for most of this disaffected population school and studying is culturally of little importance and neither the parents nor leaders in these communities encourage or support it. Unless or until education becomes important to these parents from these communities the trend will continue.

Seattle Sam

What exactly do you expect when Harvard admits people like David Hogg in preference to Asians with 1500 SATs?


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