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April 30, 2007

Comments

Gil

I think colleges don't have to teach students to obey and conform very much: they learn it far too well before they get to college. At least that's been one of the most common problems with the students in my college-level classes. I want them to shake things up, think for themselves, and so on ... and they still ask me if that will be on the exam.

I think another reason that white-collar employers might prefer college grads is that it serves as a helpful filter for professions that want to pay lip service to racial and class diversity, but don't want to actually have to follow through on that promise with any real rigor. The population of college grads remains disproportionately white, and disproportionately upper middle class (and above). Requiring a BA for an job applicant to even get through the door makes it much easier to claim that the lack of diversity in your company's managerial staff is somebody else's fault.

Maya's Granny

My uncle, who died in 1961, hadn't finished grade school, having to quit and help support his family. He eventually owned two businesses and what he said, back then, about college graduates was that it told him this person could stick to something for four years. Not a bad trait, although not the only one needed in a job.

Anarcissie

I agree pretty much with Gil. College is a caste and class filter. Learning, even of simple vocational skills, is tertiary. (In second place is making connections and accomplishing other social tasks.)

If we actually wanted to certify competence for certain occupations, we (that is, the State) could set up a testing system. While far from perfect, such a system would be far more efficient, veracious and equitable than the present demand for degrees. But we don't, so we won't.

Jessica

OK, get out of my head.

I have been saying for years that we we need (in my area, anyway) is a much better network of vocational high schools, and a complete overhaul of the role of the "guidance counselor" in schools.

I worked in adult literacy; what I saw was people who were not "college material," but who were completely able to do many many jobs, being told over and over again that they needed a degree to get even the most entry-level positions. It was crazy. What they needed was a decent high school education, and one that included VOCATIONAL training so that they would be prepared for some type of career. Now, unfortunately, a high school diploma isn't worth anything.

Too few colleges now offer a REAL liberal arts education. Now it's "Take a few 'general education' courses and then get on with training for that JOB." The focus is no longer on learning how to read, write, theorize, philosophize, or THINK critically.

And I also agree with Gil.

I am $54,000 in debt for my two degrees. I am a librarian, and I love my job - but I'll tell you what - I didn't learn anything in grad school that I wouldn't have learned on the job. And now I'm broke.

akinoluna

Yeah I quit going to school when I realized how much money I was wasting, paying to sit and listen to people ramble on and on about topics from books I could read perfectly well on my own, for just the price of the book.

vlorbik

just finished _bait_&_switch_
last night; thanks!
college is, for all too many
of my students, what i call
"the disappointment machine".

just like all those gurus
you (barbara e.) encountered
(& wrote of in _b_&_s_):
our job is most of all
to help victims of our class system
learn to blame *themselves*
for their economic misfortune.

jeff schmitt nailed it
in _disciplined_minds_
when he referred to
"cooling the mark out" ...
a phrase from the world
of the con-artist made famous
in the sociology world
by erving goffman.
http://disciplinedminds.tripod.com/

Monica

Could it be that the reason degrees are necessary is that nowadays, school is just not very good and a college degree is barely the equivalent of what a high school diploma used to be a long time ago, and perhaps still is in countries with a better school system?

ThatDeborahGirl

I think you should have also mentioned how rich people "buy" their kids degrees by donating buildings (i.e. our president's mom) or making substantial donations. These people may be lettered but they didn't earn their degrees any more than someone who bought their degree online.

I've had plenty of bosses who couldn't spell their way out of a paper bag and made sure I could do their job long before they could. One thing they all had in common: rich parents or rich wives.

Anarcissie

I doubt if many people _want_ a liberal arts education. They apprehend that higher education is a class filter and they want the ticket to a middle-class job, for which they will put up with four years of boredom and considerable monetary expense. The liberal arts, along with the soft sciences, are a good way to fill in the time while the filtering is going on, because no one expects you to know any particular thing when you get done with it.

I don't think this could be done in high school because the consensus seems to be that humans are entirely incompetent until their 18th birthday at least -- 21st if alcohol is in question -- and should therefore be kept in the equivalent of an asylum or concentration camp to protect them from society and each other, except of course for the occasional lapse into automatic weapons fire. Under such circumstances it seems difficult to apply class filters. Certain prep and charter schools are the exception.

Pat Sharp

Who said you had to go to college to learn? Isn't that what books are for?
I think, the degree also saves the personnel dept. lots of energy. They can ass-u-me, that you know something wihout thinking to hard about your individual qualities, talents,
you bring to the job!
Going back to college at 57, as a Jr. in Graphic Design, was a very enlightening
experience. It wasn't like any art college I ever attended, ( three of the best in Phila.) it was more like "boot camp" for young males who are now no doubt now creating those "mission accomplished" back drops, or TV commercials for nexium!
I went because I couldn't afford $10,000. worth of Mac & sofware.
( I taught myself to use them by getting a job at a Kinko's!). In retrospect, It would have been cheaper to get a loan from the bank for the computer & bypassed the schooling!
Hindsight!
R U Cognizant

Monica

Are rich parents really buying degrees, or just admission and perhaps some discreet leniency and extra help afterwards? And are these normal degrees, or honorary degrees conferred for great accomplishments in a field (without having to attend courses), which a young student probably wont't have yet?

Eric Shaqfeh

fantastic. in a period in which most obviously education in the United States is wanting in all walks of life, a college educated and enlightened person writes an article about the "Higher Education Scam". As a professor at Stanford all my life it is clear that you could be spending your time writing articles promoting positive aspirations in life rather than suggesting that because "10-30%" of all resumes include distortions, it is "ok" to lie about all three degrees that you have received and thus obtain a position as dean at an elite educational institution. Your theory is " that employers prefer college grads because they see a college degree chiefly as mark of one’s ability to obey and conform" !!? Are you serious? In a country in which a college education is becoming an entitlement because of both grade inflation and "pushing kids along", you believe that employers need a conformation test to the tune of $100K and four plus years? Frankly the reason that jobs in the US requiring a college education has doubled is because the required knowledge at the high school level relative to the rest of the planet has halved...
I believe the message that you are trying to spread, that in a world that is becoming more interconnected, flat, and interdisciplinary, one needs to re-examine whether a college education is "necessary" for global employment in a country that, on average, is the least educated of all industrialized nations is not only ludicrous -- it falls in that dangerous paradigm of "everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten". This is certainly true of all kindergarten children, but not adults. You finish your article talking about how wonderful your college education was for you. You should frankly be ashamed to promote the message that education is not the silver bullet, since it has worked wonders in your own life.

Anarcissie

Well, there we have the outraged True Believer. All faith and dogma, and no evidence or logic.

Tim

In reply to Eris S.,
I will point out that
the majors ( and very popular ones at that )
at the university at which I am an adjunct professor include Sports Management,
Event Planning, and Administration of Justice.

If the university administration has any
intellectual integrity left,
I fail to see it.

Ken Dyck

I agree with Gil. Obeying and conforming are taught earlier, but it those that excel at it that go on to college.

What college teaches is the ability to work unsupervised. You can't graduate from college without learning some rudimentary form of time management. Students must figure out how to balance course work and drinking, after all.

I'd say it's this ability to complete work autonomously and on a deadline that most employers are hiring for when they go with college grads.

Emily

When I began my career in 1976 in the Graduate Admissions Office of a big university, the secretary was a woman my parents age. She hadn't graduated from high school, but she was always spot on when it came to grammer, spelling and punctuation. If you wanted your letter to look "professional" you went to her. She was way better than many of our applicants for Grad School.

If only high school students could do as well today, you might see fewer jobs requiring a degree. If only college grads could do so well today, you might see fewer people my parents age pointing out the mistakes.

Anarcissie

According to someone writing in the New York Times, the young today are much smarter and better prepared than they used to be -- and they're still not going to get into Harvard.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/29Rparenting.html

I thank God I grew up before everyone chained to the work machine like that.

Steve K

I cannot help laugh at MIT for having such a successful dean for so many years who never got a college degree. It shows you how little value there is is so many higher education jobs.

I work with PhD's every day and many of them are the most unorganized, unknowledgeable people about important things that are needed to do real work. Education does not provide the skills to set priorities, manage people and time, or understand financial tradeoffs in any kind of business.

Yet so many of these people are full of themselves because of the letters after their name. Stuck on a deserted island, they would be the first to succumb to the elements.

Tom

Education, from the inside, IS a big scam. The colleges are now educational industries and treat their faculty accordingly. For years i've been an adjunct math instructor at two different colleges (one a Catholic University), and the same lack of ethical standards that businesses use to keep their bottom lines growing the colleges use to avoid giving raises to their adjuncts. Even though i get rave reviews from the students, each year it's the same low rate of pay. Oh sure, i can quit and let some other slave have the job, but i like teaching and just wish and hope that some day they'll see the light and open up the purse a bit.

LoneRanger

The U.S. college system is as big a bait & switch as what Barbara wrote about the white-collar job market. The price keeps rising every year, and colleges have no incentive to be efficient and reduce costs. Finanical aid departments tell broke students to borrow and go deeply into debt.

NEVER rely solely on the advice of a financial aid staffer when making the decision to borrow money. It's like asking a barber if you need a haircut.
Talk to someone more objective before taking on the debt.

Like Big Pharma and Big Oil, colleges have their snouts buried in the Beltway hog trough. Unlike other lobbyists, they justify sticking it to taxpayers with the sanctimonious excuse that they're "educating" the populace.

The professor who wrote the previous rant is a classic example of the educrat mentality. Does he have any real world experience in his field of alleged expertise, or is he all theory and bloviating BS?

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach administrate.

Gretchen Adamek

My late stepmother worked at SNET for 25-30 years. She was a high school dropout, and the position she held when she retired would now require a 4 year degree.

I'm all for education, higher and otherwise, however, it would be nice to see companies acknowledge and reward actual learning and skills.

Another thing to think about as we watch the rich get richer, and the middle class disappear, is the outsourcing of so many telephone customer service jobs to India. For many people those type of jobs offered a chance to advance without the degree. People who regularly speak to a company's clients become well informed about both the company, and the needs of its customers. But instead of promoting an experienced customer service rep to a sales position, companies hire professional sales people with college degerees to whom we never speak after we've bought the product, and who often move on to sell something else at another company.

Tim

Isn't it obvious why universities create majors like Criminal Justice, Sports Management, and Event Planning ? : there is no way in heck that the millions of students entering college every year have anything like the skills or ability to do real intellectual work. I'm not going to go in for any sort of 'good old days' argument harking back to a
time when students were better-prepared ; but just
having so MANY students in college certainly makes their shortcomings more evident.

As to the sort of jobs available, jobs like many things are what you - or
your employer -- choose to make them. The excessively 'practical' American view of education as job training, with the goal being to acquire a minimal 'skill set' ( silly term ) with the minimum effort is in the first instance an unnatural separation of values. We
expect our houses to keep out the rain and cold, but also be pleasing to the eye; a sofa is expected to
be easy on the bottom, but also expected not to be ugly ; so why does a typical job have to be structured to offer no hope
of self-acutalization to
the person holding the job ?

And in the end, this excessive 'practicality' means tha the job will go to someone on the other side of the world anyway.

theresa

Hee Hee!

Marilee Jones just proved you don't need advanced degrees, or even an undergrad diploma, to be an Admissions Officer at one of the nations' top universities.

Let's all apply to fill the post, and contest when they turn us down!

Mary

The other important issue is that, most likely, if she hadn't lied about her credentials, she never ever would have made it beyond an entry level position. She was brilliant at the job, but without the requisite academic "union cards"--and as a woman--her talent, ability, intelligence were worth exactly nothing. So, what is a smart, gifted, ingenious woman without the correct number of diplomas supposed to do to get ahead? A little creative cheating, that's how. I only wish she had gotten away with it. I hope she writes a huge best-seller exposing MIT and makes millions and gets whatever job she wants. Secretary of Education in the next (Democratic) administration?

Anarcissie

"If you live outside the law you must be honest."

ShortWoman

Welcome to the party. Guys like John Taylor Gatto have been saying for years that the modern American educational system is all about teaching kids to be conforming workers, loyal to The Company over The Family.

You can read his support for that idea at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

Anarcissie

Sure, but that goes back to the 19th century -- Horace Mann's idea of adopting the Prussian education system, which dovetails with the total industrial state. If you want a constant unlimited increase of production and consumption, you need people whose major concern is not family (or some other non-industrial pursuit) but work and trade. Like machine parts, the more they conform to standards, the more they are mutually replaceable standardized parts offering standardized functions, the better.

However, the American educational system doesn't do that as efficiently as it might, because it also concerns itself with producing caste, class, authority and product scarcity. Marilee Jones was industrially efficient (apparently) but by violating the rules of the hierarchy and con game she was a part of she weakened its authority, its mystique. The authorities could not condone that, could they?

jack

I think your penultimate paragraph is particluarly perceptive. The one before it is what we have been saying about the high school diploma for over 40 years.

js

Also some colleges are treating undergrad students more and more like children. It's hard to bear for a person with self-respect at 18, it's even more intolerable if you want to go back to school at 30.

chris

The NY Times on Marilee Jones:

"Her crusade is markedly different from the mission that first brought her to M.I.T.’s admissions office in 1979."

"She was hired to recruit young women, who at the time made up only 17 percent of the university’s undergraduates. Today, about 45 percent are women."

"Ms. Jones brought a varied background to the task. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., not far up the Hudson River from her childhood home in Albany."

"She had worked, as well, as an emergency medical technician and as a torch singer in local clubs, performing Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday songs."

"She was already living on the M.I.T. campus with her husband, Steve Bussolari, who was then a graduate student, when she was hired as an admissions officer, in what she described as “the lowest job in the office.”"

"The work appealed to her, though, and she clearly had a feel for it. Ms. Jones is enthusiastic about admissions and passionate about working with teenagers. Over time, she said, she performed virtually every job in the office, from overseeing transfer applications to applications from international students. Ms. Jones, who is 55, was appointed dean in 1999."

Based on the fact that her husband was a grad student at MIT when she began working there, it's likely she was hired BECAUSE she was the spouse of a student who was probably receiving a stipend. Her marital status would likely have eased the hiring process. In fact, she probably could have gotten hired if she'd told the truth.

chris

The latest from the NY Times on Marilee Jones:

"Ms. Jones, 55, originally from Albany, had represented herself as having degrees from Albany Medical College, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In fact, she had no degrees from any of those places."


"Phillip L. Clay, M.I.T.’s chancellor, said in an interview that a college degree was probably not required for Ms. Jones’s entry-level job in the admissions office when she arrived in 1979."

"And by the time she was appointed admissions dean in 1997, Professor Clay said, she had already been in the admissions office for many years, and apparently little effort was made to check what she had earlier presented as her credentials."

Many employers know people get through the door with false statements on their resumes. When I started on Wall Street with a major brokerage firm, I was part of a group that would sit for a licensing exam after a couple of months of schooling.

Shortly before the test, however, we were told that if our resumes contained any inaccuracies, such as claiming a college degree when none had been earned, we could make the change without fear of losing our jobs. The test results were going to the SEC, along with our personal histories as presented on our resumes. No time to fool around.

Some people made some changes; some decided to chance discovery. One guy had lied about graduating from college. He did not correct his lie. He was fired. Meanwhile, others without college degrees kept their jobs.

chris

The premise for this article is fraudulent. Jones was hired into a position for which a college degree was not required. Nevertheless, she lied. It’s sad. She began, in her own words, at the lowest job in the department. She was a secretary. However, like many secretaries before and since, she showed she was on the ball and aspired to more than typing and filing. Meanwhile, the computer revolution had begun the same year she was hired. That’s an interesting footnote to this story.

Virtually every industry has its back doors. Though it’s not a good idea to falsify medical credentials to impersonate a doctor, there are many jobs that are learned by doing, including a lot of medicine. Learning by doing is often a substitute for a college degree.

The military requires a college degree of anyone who hopes to become an officer. However, in the Marine Corps, there is what is known as a mustang. The guy who gets into Officer Candidate School because he’s proven himself as an enlisted man. Meanwhile, there’s the Warrant Officer corps in the Army. Then there are those who enlist and go to school during their enlistment, obtain a degree, generally on very easy terms, and then head for officer training.

People have always found ways to rise on Wall Street without a degree, though these days it’s tougher.

That aside, though it’s been said Marilee Jones was good at her job, how does anyone know? What are the standards by which her performance was judged? Simply completing her assigned tasks is hardly enough. Did MIT benefit in any demonstrable way from her activities?

Do more women attend MIT because she was head of admissions? I doubt it. The trend of women enrolling at ostensibly men’s colleges started almost 10 years before she arrived at MIT. Most women avoided schools like MIT because they weren’t seeking engineering degrees. But MIT is well regarded in many disciplines outside science and engineering. You can earn an English degree at MIT.

Anyway, Barbara makes many false connections in this piece. She says “the pundits keep chanting that we need a more highly skilled workforce, by which they mean more college graduates, although the connection between college and skills is not always clear.” That’s false.

This economy needs more people with specific identifiable skills and knowledge. More engineers, for instance. But most engineering is complex stuff. No one will learn the rudiments and the advanced stuff on the job. School is the place to get started in engineering and science. It doesn’t matter what Thomas Edison did over 100 years ago.

Does the US need more people with English degrees? No. But no one studies English for the job-getting power of a B.A. in English. Moreover, it’s never been claimed that every college major leads to a job. Some don’t. It’s that simple.
Barb claims, “ And how about all those business majors – business being the most popular undergraduate major in America? It seems to me that a two-year course in math and writing skills should be more than sufficient to prepare someone for a career in banking, marketing, or management.”

It might seem that way to Barb. But a student of business needs an introduction to accounting, finance, marketing, economics and writing. Accounting is the language of business. A person doesn’t need deep knowledge of accounting, but it’s important that every business student knows how to prepare an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. It’s also important for a business student to know a little finance – where the money comes from, how to get it and how to put it to work. And marketing – the customers and how to serve them. Business students are often poor writers. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. But many find that acquiring clear communication skills offers big advantages.

As a graduate of an engineering school, I can tell you there was not one superfluous course in my curriculum. Moreover, there’s so much to learn that most engineering schools require students to take more credits than students in non-engineering programs. The campus debate about curriculum development at my school always boiled down to attempts to force engineering students to take more humanities courses to round out the otherwise narrow focus of their studies. We were all willing, but there was barely enough time to finish our technical studies. And no one wanted to replace an engineering course with a liberal arts course.

Lastly, engineers rarely have trouble finding jobs when they graduate. But that's because an engineering degree is a serious statement.

chris

This just in:

Marilee Jones DID graduate from the College of St. Rose in Albany.

Thus, even though she didn't need a college degree for her first position at MIT, she had the goods.

Too bad she was so embarrassed by her alma mater that she chose to claim she had graduated from three prestigious institutions.

I suppose she was thinking that if she had graduated from RPI, Union and Albany Medical, degrees from those three schools would have offset the ignominy of having graduated from the unremarkable St Rose.

Frankly, she appears to be a nut. I'm not sure what she claimed were her majors at RPI, Albany Medical and Union, but how many choices are there?

Albany Medical and RPI? Were there any other graduates of a medical school and an engineering school working as secretaries at MIT?

b

I am a person who has taken complete advantage of the system. I got a theater degree (!) then a master's in library science. In NO way have my degrees done anything than open doors. However, I'm not blaming this on the institution, but myself. I could have chosen a more....shall we say...serious course of study, but I just wanted the initials after my name, understanding that it was the college degree that opened doors, not knowledge. Sad, but true.

And it worked.

Where I work (publishing) you need at least a bachelor's to get hired, but to really RISE up in the company it better be either a) a MBA or b) a degree from an ivy league institution.

So I agree with the first poster, Gill. This is a class thing first and foremost.

John Dixon

Ehrenreich suggests that Jones became "nationally known for insight and performance" despite not having a degree, and takes Jones's achievement as proof how little a degree is really needed. But Jones was "nationally known" only because as the head of admissions at MIT she had the authority and status that such a position lent her. It was only with this status that she was then able to get book contracts and speaking engagements and build a national reputation. But she would never have achieved this status in the first if she had not misrepresented her degrees. So it can hardly be argued that her case shows how little you really need a degree to be able to perform a job well and become "nationally known." Her initial fraud was not extraneous to her subsequent performance but was rather an indispensable ingredient in it. Her "performance" is not some unsullied expression of her merit. It depended on her very successful efforts to establish her "character" and "authority," a success built on mispresentation.

I also dispute the notion that Jones only
"lied about her academic credentials 28 years ago." Jones regularly spoke at conferences, wrote books and articles, all of which would presumably have required bio's. She even had her own blog on the MIT Admissions site, which introduces her as a "scientist by training" (in the same sense that George Bush is "an historian by training"). Are you suggesting that over 28 years and 10 years as Dean of Admissions she never had an active hand in preparing these bio's or that she applied for the Deanship against 65 top national candidates without ever once reviewing her CV?

Justin K.

My grandpa did not graduate from high school or go to college. Yet he managed to build a strong career. He retired around the age of 50 and him and my grandma traveled around the USA for a few years. Then lived out there years without any assistance other then his retirement.

I being the only one in my family to graduate high-school let alone college, have put in 10 times the amount of work of my gramps and I am not even close to having a financially secure job like he did when he was 25 years old. Even in my own life time I can see the requirements triple. I compare my self at the age of 10 to my nephew.(who is the age of 10 right now.) When I was 10 I had to do 1 hour of home work a night. My nephew at the same age has to do 3 hours of home work per night. Also the subjects are harder. A 10 year old boy should not have to know algebra. On top of that he has to learn 5 words of spanish each week.

You might ask "Why is the work load so much higher?" I think it's because each generation as adults around the age of 30 or 40 say "If I could do this I expect this 20 year old kid to do it 5 times better thin me." In other words, each generation raises the bar.

So it's easy to see why she felt the need to lie. Man kind is asking to much from them self. Who knows, maybe this is why the divorce rate is climbing up to 60%...

Justin K.

hmmmm....

Anarcissie

John Dixon: '... [I]t can hardly be argued that [ Marilee Jones's ] case shows how little you really need a degree to be able to perform a job well and become "nationally known." Her initial fraud was not extraneous to her subsequent performance but was rather an indispensable ingredient in it. ...'

Agreed. But if the existing degree system is fraudulent, a proposition I would be glad to argue for, than MJ did defraud the defrauders; she conned con men for 28 years, and in the essential terms of their own operation, too. That is quite an accomplishment, although it does seem rather ambiguous morally speaking. A con is still a con even if you're conning con men.

Monica

If she had a degree after all, it's not as if she succeeded despite not being college-educated. It's just that she lied about where she actually studied and what degrees she got. I would have said the same thing even if she took many courses without actually getting the degree.

This reminds me of people who used to "pass for White" to get jobs Black people were not supposed to get. They actually had the looks they needed, but a background check would have revealed their true ancestry, which is why it was in their interest to get low-profile jobs.

I'm not saying that racial discrimination is good. On the contrary, I'm saying that not checking a job applicant's background too carefully can actually be a good thing. Loopholes are often seen now as unacceptable. In fact, they can be a way to improve in reality some unfair situation, when the rules of the game are unfair.

What I don't like is that actual accomplishments such as being a dean for 28 years, living a crime-free life for 20 years after escaping from prison, having been a legal resident for 20 years since the age of 3 without becoming a citizen, and so on, are not recognized. Whoever does such things is still treated as if he or she did not deserve the job, had to go back to jail, can be deported to his or her country of origin if convicted of some crime, and so on. After 28 years, Marilee Jones was obviously qualified in any case, degree or no degree, but that's not how the system works.

Anarcissie

Marilee Jones is doubtless qualified for many things, but she's not qualified for serving in her former job at MIT, because an important part of that job was not only executing but exemplifying the ideology under which MIT operates. Once her lack of pedigree came to light, she could no longer fulfill this requirement.

When you talk about loopholes in an unfair game, you're essentially suggesting a different kind of society. That's a pretty big order because most of the people who succeeded under the rules of the game as they are have a substantial interest in keeping them that way. And they write the rules.

Monica

But she does have a "pedigree", as you put it, because she got a degree. Besides, if they wanted her to be able to stay, all MIT had to do was not to reveal her lies, and perhaps even arrange for her to get some degrees now. Even now, the fact that hard work combined with education can lead to great success is still a positive enough message.

Letting her keep her job would have mereley recognized her real situation. She had job experience, for which presumably she could have been awarded a "honoris causa" degree (honorary degree given to people with great accomplishments without having them take courses). She also had a real degree, so she was more or less qualified, regardless of whether her degree would have been considered enough for her position. In fact, she pretty much played by the rules by being educated and with a degree, and actually competent. She only bended them a little by lying about what her degrees were, how many, from where, etc.

Also, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of loopholes for a good reason or making the statu quo change. Once upon a time, the rules were that some people were serfs or slaves or not allowed to have decent jobs and others were masters and/or noble, and women could not vote, were not expected to have a career, and so on. Needless to say, those who fought against the rules or managed to succeed more than they were expected to did not necessarily ask for permission.

George

I wouldn't want someone who fraudulantly represents herself as a scientist determining who is qualified for admission into engineering and science programs.

bpb

I don't have a college degree, but I made sure my two children got one. I never let them think going to college was an option, it was just the next step. That being said, I am a government employee. You are often promoted just because you have a degree. It doesn't matter if the degree is relative to the positon or not. I've often said you could have a degree in basketweaving and qualify. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but not by a lot. I'm almost 50 yrs. old. I'm NOT going back to school. My life experiences should count for something! My husband (has a couple of doctorates) says I have the equivalent of a B.S. degree, but I can't claim it - I'd be fired. No matter the degree, each job requires on-the-job training. I can learn as well as the next person.

Anarcissie

Monica: '... . She only bended them a little by lying about what her degrees were, how many, from where, etc. ...'

But the system of which she was a major cop, a important mandarin, depends on _belief_ in something which can't be proved. In fact, she disproved it by doing her job. They had to get rid of her.

... [T]hose who fought against the rules or managed to succeed more than they were expected to did not necessarily ask for permission. ...'

It is true that systems of social order change. But it usually requires a major struggle because the people who benefit from the status quo, or think they do, obviously resist the change, and they usually have a lot of power.

In any case the social order most of us live under in North America or Western Europe is becoming _more_ orderly, more repressive, more interested in theories and rules and less in facts and experience. The revolution is going the other way. Marilee Jones wasn't in any old business; she was in the very business her existence contradicted, because that's where the money and power and social status are.

chris

b wrote:

"Where I work (publishing) you need at least a bachelor's to get hired, but to really RISE up in the company it better be either a) a MBA or b) a degree from an ivy league institution...."

"...So I agree with the first poster, Gill. This is a class thing first and foremost."

Ridiculous. An MBA degree is available to anyone with any undergraduate major. Business schools are wide open.

It might be tough getting into the Harvard or UPenn MBA programs, but that's got nothing to do with the social class of the applicant or the applicant's undergraduate school or major.

Moreover, getting into an Ivy League undergraduate school is a matter of merit, not family or class.

A few marginal students may slip in because parents gave huge donations. Huge donations. Not $100,000. Huge.

A few more get in because they are the sons and daughters of alumni. A few. So what?

Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and the others are private universities. They can admit or reject students on any basis they choose.

If the entire Ivy League decided to admit only kids with perfect SAT scores, I think there are enough of them to fill the freshman class.

But they don't. Harvard no longer looks at SATs. Thus, even if you believe that some people score higher on SATs because their families have money for extra test preparation, that won’t help a student get into Harvard.

chris

bpb, you wrote:

"I'm NOT going back to school. My life experiences should count for something! My husband (has a couple of doctorates) says I have the equivalent of a B.S. degree, but I can't claim it - I'd be fired."

Perhaps, but there are testing agencies that give "credit for life experience" (CLEP) exams that are accepted by colleges and employers.

Meanwhile, online colleges are gaining stature. University of Phoenix, for one.

It is a simple process for you to weigh the financial advantage of a degree versus the cost of an online program and the CLEP tests. The CLEP tests cost about $75.

As you noted, a degree in basketweaving -- if there is such a thing -- is as good as any other. A degree in your favorite subject would cost you very little, especially after you reduce your course load by passing CLEP tests for $75 a piece.

Anarcissie

chris: '... It might be tough getting into the Harvard or UPenn MBA programs, but that's got nothing to do with the social class of the applicant or the applicant's undergraduate school or major. ...'

Class is only partly hereditary in the U.S. When we say that colleges and universities are class filters, this doesn't mean they eliminate all people below a certain class level. It means that the administration operates to pass through a certain kind of person who incorporates desirable middle-class values like obedience and conformity to the existing order of things (besides showing a certain degree of intellectual and social capacity). Heredity, in the sense of the environment one grows up in because of who and what one's parents are, can be a big help in understanding these things and their value, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

From what I read, though, the high-prestige institutions _are_ reverting to hereditary class culture, due I guess to the the rich getting richer and the poor poorer and the middle wasting away.

Chris

I have a great dea of life experience but then who at age 46 doesn't? I never finished college partly for economic reasons but long ago excepted and expected a life of working poverty as a result of having no degree. Fortunately for me I have no kids or debt. I have no idea how the people in my situation that have either or both make it.

Anarcissie

Some are lucky. I got into computer programming before Academia had figured out how to produce "software engineers" and thus slam the gates in the faces of the unwashed. I doubt if that can be done any more no matter how talented you are. Everything seems to be _under_control_.

One of my relatives wasted several years and thousands of dollars trying to get a "software engineering" degree. They made her take completely irrelevant courses like Calculus. In the end she couldn't get a job in the field anyway (no experience; female; overweight; Italian ancestry; honest; meek; unslick; working-class manners, dress and accent; lived in wrong suburb; etc.) That was in the 80s -- things are probably worse now.


John Dixon

It's hard not to see success as a sign of character and intelligence. A high-flying money manager who makes a lucky call is hailed as a genius. The business man who just happens to be at the right place at the right time is seen as a paragon of initiative, risk-taking and business savvy. I think with respect to Marilee Jones, Ehrenreich along with most commentators, is yielding to the same fallacy. They hear her story of success and assume this success must reflect her brains and personality. And so they take her to be an example of true merit triumphing over false merit based on mere paper degrees. In their view, the higher education system, instead of being the channel through which individual achievement is made possible, becomes the obstacle, through the barriers of obsessive "credentialism" that it throws up. Jones's story is one of American individualism in which real ability defeats false credentialism.

But this view stems from a fallacious reversal of cause and effect. Her ability was not the cause of her success. Her success created around her the aura of ability, which in turn made possible further success. I am happy to say that the editors of the MIT Tech recognize this point when they say in a recent editorial that Jones's degrees cannot be dismissed as unimportant in accounting for her effectiveness because "It is very likely that Jones' supposed degrees commanded respect, helping her be a more effective leader." It is somewhat ironic that Ehrenreich, who has been such a champion of the downtrodden and critic of inequalities and unfairness in our society, here is succumbing to the appeal of the very individualist belief system that helps justify those inequalities as a reflection of individual differences of character and intelligence.

Richard Maddox

You do a disservice to the people who make the time and effort to gain an education and broaden their knowledge. You also do a great disservice to the parents who work so hard to give their children an opportunity at a college education.

Your commentary is smug shameful, and you've obviously lost objectivity as well.

You've also lost a reader.

Richard Maddox
Austin, Texas

Anarcissie

John Dixon: '... It is somewhat ironic that Ehrenreich, who has been such a champion of the downtrodden and critic of inequalities and unfairness in our society, here is succumbing to the appeal of the very individualist belief system that helps justify those inequalities as a reflection of individual differences of character and intelligence.'

Liberal critiques of inequality are usually framed as conflicts between the individual's true merit and initiative in opposition to collective irrationalities and interests, are they not?

spit

Heh. It's amusing to read all the defenders of the Great Higher Education System as I procrastinate when I should be off memorizing things that I'll forget in three weeks so that I can parrot them back on largely multiple choice exams in a few days.

I love college, actually, or at least I love the idea of it -- learning is damned important and fun. But what a lot of people are missing, apparently, is that college has become less and less about actually learning much and more about jumping through the proper hoops. It's a degree factory, a middle class vocational school, granting expensive pieces of paper so that we can all run off and find jobs. When "getting a job" trumps "getting an education", I think we've lost something important along the way -- the two aren't really related, for most people.

Are there fields where college is necessary? Sure. I can't replicate a chemistry lab in my basement, and calculus is reasonably difficult to teach yourself. That doesn't change the fact that 90% of my fellow students have absolutely no desire to be there, don't really care about what they're learning, won't remember any of it anyway, and are shelling out large sums of money so they can gain access to a world of jobs that pay better -- jobs for which a degree is often frankly just sort of silly anyway. While that's a rational and wise decision on their parts, it's also a sad state of affairs for anybody who is interested in learning, or anyone for whom college simply isn't the right path (and many, many smart folks can't deal with the college structure -- it's not for everybody, and shouldn't necessarily have to be).

I've been in college for (cough, cough) years, the early chunk of it at blessedly cheap community college, figuring out what I'm doing. The single most important lesson I've learned in that time is that undergrad is 95% about being a good trained poodle. Which is necessary, I suppose, given that "trained poodle" is a field in pretty high demand.

Eh, long pre-coffee ramble. I'd best wake up and be off to pretend to learn something.

lc2

Now we are finally getting somewhere in this forum. John Dixon's post contains the most thought-provoking comments I've read in years. And I'm inclined to think that Barbara Ehrenreich would agree. Why? Because the most powerful statement she made in N&D, imo, is that the working masses are as diverse in terms of intelligence, competence, and intellect as their middle-class and aristocratic counterparts. This concept is undoubtedly shocking to people who've not lived cross-class-culturally since high school-after-school-job days. But to those who've lived and/or worked alongside those who spend their entire working lives staffing institutional kitchens, providing childcare, or clerking in retail ... what a shot in the arm that was, to see one of the literati class present the peons as real people. I applaud John Dixon for taking this concept a step further and making us challenge our preconceptions of the aura of success.

A good book that addresses this head-on is "The Cliff Walk" by Don Snyder, the memoir of a comp.lit. PhD who didn't get tenure and ended up begging for carpentry work ... for which he was eminently unqualified.

chris

Anarcissie, you wrote:

"When we say that colleges and universities are class filters, this doesn't mean they eliminate all people below a certain class level. It means that the administration operates to pass through a certain kind of person who incorporates desirable middle-class values like obedience and conformity to the existing order of things (besides showing a certain degree of intellectual and social capacity)."

Nonsense. In fact, acceptance at top schools reflects the applicant's position in the right-hand tail of the Bell Curve.

It is indisputable that "practice makes perfect." Though talent exists, it is nothing without practice. But you characterize the ambitious pursuit of goals as "obedience" and "conformity."

What's obvious here is envy. Envy expressed by those who resent the achievements and successes of people who may not look like they've got more on the ball than almost everyone else.

You wrote:

"Heredity, in the sense of the environment one grows up in because of who and what one's parents are, can be a big help in understanding these things and their value, but it isn't absolutely necessary."

In other words, not only must people learn to read, write and compute, but to be truly educated they must also gain an understanding of the power and impact of knowledge.

You have played a word game. You fudged the meaning of "heredity", altering its relationship with "tradition" to a pejorative term connected with the idea of gaining an unearned advantage acquired at the expense of others.

You rambled:

"From what I read, though, the high-prestige institutions _are_ reverting to hereditary class culture, due I guess to the the rich getting richer and the poor poorer and the middle wasting away."

The rich getting richer? More nonsense.

Try this: More people than ever getting rich. The millionaires club is soaring. Those with more than $10 million comprise a fast-growing population.

Bill Gates is New Money. Wall Streeters with $10 million or more are Newly Rich. Their wealth is not acquired by fleecing the middle class.

Frankly, there is very little Old Money left. The big fortunes, like the Rockefeller fortune, have been turned over to philanthropic foundations. Large portions of those fortunes are positioned to be given away.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have already declared their ambitions and intentions of handing out their billions.

Meanwhile, many other wealthy individuals who derived their wealth from Wall Street are huge benefactors of the poor. There are thousands of impoverished kids in New York City whose private school tuition is paid by Wall Streeters. There are entire schools funded by Wall Streeters who believe they can change children's lives through comprehensive education plans.

Meanwhile, if the "obedience" and "conformity" you disparage were more common, most of the pathologies afflicting the poor would disappear.

chris

John Dixon writes:
“It's hard not to see success as a sign of character and intelligence. A high-flying money manager who makes a lucky call is hailed as a genius. The business man who just happens to be at the right place at the right time is seen as a paragon of initiative, risk-taking and business savvy.”

These glib comments seem to have earned some cheers from the crowd. Too bad Dixon is flat out wrong. No observer, expert, critic or pundit would claim that someone who achieved a flash of fame or a round of high-fives for a single act is a “success.”

No money manager who makes one lucky call is a genius. Everyone on Wall Street with the job of money manager has made one lucky call. But one lucky call does not carry a money manager through a career and all the way to retirement. There are thousands of money managers. But there’s only one Warren Buffett. Is he lucky? Is he lucky every year? Or a genius.

Or the businessman at the crossroads. Was Henry Ford just a regular guy? Or was there something about him that set him apart? Dixon's comment seems to suggest that people’s talents and abilities all hover within a narrow band. That there are no stand-outs. No geniuses. No superior minds. No people who are struck with insights that change the world. What nonsense.

Warren Buffett is a huge success. Henry Ford was a success. They are successes because they go to bat every day and every day, week, month, year they punch out more hits than their competitors. Their success IS a sign of character and intelligence. Their success is a sign of their intense devotion to their personal goals.

But Marilee Jones was not a success. She showed no initiative. No savvy. She took only one risk. In her career, she scored exactly one hit. Her big lie. The one action she took. The one that followed her moment of insight that struck in 1979 when she unified all her observations, knowledge, understanding and theories of her present and future into a single conclusion. The one that recently exploded in her face.

She APPEARED to succeed in a job in which it was almost impossible to fail. Her APPEARANCE was manufactured by her lie about the schools she had attended and the degrees she had received. By appearing as one who had risen into the upper ranks of the educated, her job performance, within wide limits, was irrelevant.

Dixon writes:

“I think with respect to Marilee Jones, Ehrenreich along with most commentators, is yielding to the same fallacy. They hear her story of success and assume this success must reflect her brains and personality. And so they take her to be an example of true merit triumphing over false merit based on mere paper degrees.”

Marilee Jones succeeded at nothing. Her job boiled down to sounding sensitive and compassionate. No heavy lifting. All the hard work was handled by the students themselves. Over 90% are in the top 5 percent of their high school classes. Over 60 percent scored a perfect 800 on at least one part of the SAT. The school receives over 10,000 applications. Over 80 percent are qualified. The school accepts about 1,500 into the freshman class.

After weeding out the UNQUALIFIED candidates, the admissions department weeds out the huge excess of QUALFIED candidates. If anything, the population of talented, ambitious and brilliant students has increased far faster than the number of seats in the freshman classes of the best schools in this country.

How does an admissions officer fail when facing this demographic onslaught? This gusher of academic ability? Is it possible to miss when you are shooting fish in this barrel? Marilee Jones could have picked the names of qualified MIT applicants from a hat while blindfolded and she would have earned the same professional praise.

Dixon writes:

In their view, the higher education system, instead of being the channel through which individual achievement is made possible, becomes the obstacle, through the barriers of obsessive "credentialism" that it throws up. Jones's story is one of American individualism in which real ability defeats false credentialism….But this view stems from a fallacious reversal of cause and effect.”

The view is fallacious partly because it presents handholding and a soothing manner as something more than a simple skill.

Dixon writes:

“Her ability was not the cause of her success.”

Obviously. She skimmed her apparent success off the applicants themselves. Her ability was to capture a little of their character and deceive her professional audience into thinking she was in part responsible for their academic success and well being.

Dixon writes:

“Her success created around her the aura of ability, which in turn made possible further success.”

I am certain that not one student applying to MIT did so because Marilee Jones ran the admissions department. Jones was selling something that needed no selling. MIT is bought by students, not sold to them. MIT is the hot product in short supply. As long as demand for a seat in the MIT freshman class far out-ran the supply, she could count on endless praise. What talent, skill or intelligence is needed for the job of gatekeeper at the hottest club in town?

Dixon writes:

“I am happy to say that the editors of the MIT Tech recognize this point when they say in a recent editorial that Jones's degrees cannot be dismissed as unimportant in accounting for her effectiveness because "It is very likely that Jones' supposed degrees commanded respect, helping her be a more effective leader."”

True. She acquired credibility with her fabrication. But she clearly proved that whatever skills and mental abilities are required of the person running the admissions department at MIT, the intellectual horsepower implied by her supposed degrees was overkill.

The job itself required nothing more than empathy. But receiving the professional accolades required the veneer of over-education, which added the appearance of self-sacrifice to the character of her employment.

Dixon writes:

“It is somewhat ironic that Ehrenreich, who has been such a champion of the downtrodden and critic of inequalities and unfairness in our society, here is succumbing to the appeal of the very individualist belief system that helps justify those inequalities as a reflection of individual differences of character and intelligence.”

True.

Anarcissie

chris: '... Meanwhile, if the "obedience" and "conformity" you disparage were more common, most of the pathologies afflicting the poor would disappear. ...'

I didn't disparage obedience and conformity, I simply mentioned them. Anyway, I doubt your proposition. The present social order calls for the poor to be more or less as they are; otherwise it would treat them differently.

But obedience and conformity are certainly critical for the middle class. And that raises the question of what society is for. It also makes all the talk about freedom and individualism somewhat problematical, since it is obvious that many people, including the ruling or leading classes in the US and likely elsewhere, desire not more freedom and individualism but considerably less, in order that production, consumption and security may be increased.

chris

Anarcissie, you wrote:

"But obedience and conformity are certainly critical for the middle class."

Says you. While I agree that members of the middle class share some common ground, it is rather the capacity of people to work cooperatively that forms the basis of the middle class. It is not "obedience and conformity" to some over-arching societal power that defines middle classism. It's little more than a measure of one's individual ambitions and drive.

You wrote:

"It also makes all the talk about freedom and individualism somewhat problematical, since it is obvious that many people, including the ruling or leading classes in the US (and likely elsewhere), desire not more freedom and individualism but considerably less, in order that production, consumption and security may be increased."

Less freedom? And you think Americans believe less freedom leads to more production and consumption?

Do the examples of North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, and the entire muslim world teach anything? If there's one fact these demented societies make plain, it's that control equals stagnation, failure, misery and backwardness.

Capitalists might desire the labor of newly freed populations naive enough to work cheap. But the last thing capitalists desire is markets headed toward the inevitable failure that always accompanies government control.

Watch Venezuela as Chavez destroys the oil industry.

chris

Anarcissie,

If you're looking for "obedience and conformity" in American life, see the Marine Corps.

It is the embodiment of those characteristics. And it is a success story. But its principles do not apply everywhere.

Justin K.


Richard Maddox,
I think what Barbara said was more or less true. How ever, even if it where not she still has the right to write it. Freedom of speech. It's still around. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Anarcissie

chris: '... While I agree that members of the middle class share some common ground, it is rather the capacity of people to work cooperatively that forms the basis of the middle class. It is not "obedience and conformity" to some over-arching societal power that defines middle classism. It's little more than a measure of one's individual ambitions and drive. ...'

If the primary good is held to be economic growth, then what you want is a large number of people who will work, consume, and pay their taxes obediently -- to sweat it out in the suburbs driving from the tract house to the industrial park to the mall and back again. If you get a lot of people thinking for themselves, they may get themselves off the debt hook and go fishing. Individual ambitions and drive can exist, but only within the prescribed framework. Otherwise you would see a wider variety of ambitions. And what the schools reflect -- if I may stay on the subject -- is the drive for eternal economic growth.

Maybe this is what people want. They just voted for the lash in France.

lc2

well said anarcissie!!!

Perry

Academia punishes lying strictly because so many academic endeavors are done with no oversight. If people lie to falsify data in research or to publish papers, they can do great harm. Academics pusue knowledge of truth and reality. If you allow someone who is false to keep her job, she sets a poor example for students and undermines the ideals of the academy. It is fundamentally wrong for her to lie about anything and if she doesn't understand that, she has no place at MIT. None of the rest of this matters.

chris

Anarcissie, you wrote:

“If the primary good is held to be economic growth, then what you want is a large number of people who will work, consume, and pay their taxes obediently -- to sweat it out in the suburbs driving from the tract house to the industrial park to the mall and back again.”

Ahhh. An interesting If-Then statement. Too bad it implies the existence of some central unifying force that directs human behavior AND disregards human desires.

Your statement is logically flawed. It doesn’t matter if there is a widely held belief that economic growth is a primary good. But it is a fact that an increasing population will, in the aggregate, engage in more work, consume more, and in some way, contribute more to the benefit of the group than a smaller population. All of human history is proof.

You wrote:

“If you get a lot of people thinking for themselves, they may get themselves off the debt hook and go fishing.”

I believe Cubans are off the debt hook. Cubans like fishing. They don’t own their homes and the state, in its failed way, pretends to provide all that’s necessary for life. I suppose it’s true. The Worker’s Paradise of Cuba provides the basics for human survival.

The state, however, does its best to ensure that Cuban life remains an unbroken stretch of boredom. But here and there a little humanity escapes and we see that Cubans want what Americans have. However, those are the same Americans you suggest would happily trade places with the simple fishermen of Cuba. It is a certainty that Cuba and Cubans will begin a new era after Castro dies, which might be soon. They will reject their simple life for one that gives them the rewards they want.

Do people think for themselves in Cuba? When they do, they keep it to themselves. Such counter-revolutionary activities subvert the heroic work of the leader of the island prison/utopia. That’s what happens when the state manages every dimension of life.

You claimed:

“Individual ambitions and drive can exist, but only within the prescribed framework. Otherwise you would see a wider variety of ambitions.”

This claim is a whopper. A wider variety of ambitions? Wider? Wider than what?

We humans have studied ourselves, our drives and ambitions, since we organized ourselves into groups. After thousands of years of human history and an equal period of analysis, what ambitions have we overlooked? Really? What have humans ignored? What form of expression is taboo? Taking the whole world into consideration, even murder as self-expression is not taboo.

What pursuits are closed to people? None that I know of.

You wrote:

“And what the schools reflect -- if I may stay on the subject -- is the drive for eternal economic growth.”

Nonsense. If anything shows the range of unbounded choices open to everyone, it is college. If it were true that colleges aimed only to create more worker bees capable of performing tasks leading to economic growth, we’d see the disappearance of the huge number of majors that offer virtually no prospect of paid employment.

You seem enamored of some utopian socialist dream from some earlier era, when many people were infatuated with the economically unsound idea that it’s possible for a society to give goods and services to people even if no one wants to engage in the act of providing the goods and services.

Justin K.

hmmmmmm

John Dixon

Chris writes:
There are thousands of money managers. But there’s only one Warren Buffett. Is he lucky? Is he lucky every year? Or a genius.

Actually this is not entirely a rhetorical question. My view would hold that while real differences in talent exist, our tendency to confuse luck and talent lead us to exaggerate the role of the latter. To distinguish luck from talent in business you can use the law of reversion to the mean. To the extent it's based on luck, over a long time period the performance will tend to revert to the mean. See the Wall Street Journal article, "Buffett's Batting Average Is Sinking
Some Fans of the 'Oracle'
Wonder If He's Lost Edge" (May 6, 2006). This article does not deny that Buffett is an exceptional investment talent, but suggests that some of his extraordinary performance had an element of luck and that things are beginning to revert to the mean.

There is a real world lesson in this about investing. Think twice about pulling all your money out of a fund that has performed badly for the last five years to one that's done great. Each fund might be on the brink of a reversion to the mean!

me

Our 'decider' has an MBA. I think that speaks volumes.

Anarcissie

chris, your last two paragraphs are mutually contradictory. In one you say that people have unbounded choices and in the other you imply that they, or at least some of them, have to work to produce the goods they want.

I agree with the second paragraph, not the first. People have to work to produce goods and otherwise modify the universe. That means their choices are bounded by the labor they are willing to perform to get them (or get someone else to perform for them). Therefore, if they choose an unending quest for more and better goods, for higher social status, or for more power over other people, they will have no time to enjoy the the goods, status and power they have.

People in the ruling, leading, prestige, upper classes, whatever you want to call them, have made that choice. Most of them must bend every effort towards climbing over their competitors. That is why they are in the upper class. (It is true some people are born to privilege, but in the US at least they are likely to lose it if they don't work at keeping it.)

These upper-class folks tend to create the social order, establish the values, set the style for everyone else, which is why things are as they are. And it's not just a matter of the strong pushing the weak around, it's a matter of destroying the environment we live in and starting wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people, as our great leaders have recently done for no discernable reason beyond control of oil fields or domestic political advantage.

The question is, is that the only kind of life people want to live? I would think not. But I may be in the minority.

Anarcissie

perry: 'Academia punishes lying strictly ...'

Only some kinds of lying. Others are tolerated or promoted. For instance, the lie that credentials and competence are strongly linked.

barbsright

Chris, you said in your May 3, 2007 9:59 AM post that you were a graduate of an engineering school. But,in your May 5,2007 4:41PM post you said you never got a degree. I assume both these posts are yours. Please explain. Thanks.

chris

barbsright, you asked:

Chris, you said in your May 3, 2007 9:59 AM post that you were a graduate of an engineering school. But,in your May 5,2007 4:41PM post you said you never got a degree. I assume both these posts are yours. Please explain. Thanks.

You assumed incorrectly. Another poster identifies himself as Chris, with an upper-case "C". I have taken the e.e. cummings approach of starting my name with a lower-case "c".

I earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering.

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You don't need to be smart to filter already self-selected group of high caliber applicants to MIT. Marilee Jones is a known anti-Asian racist with comments like "yet another math geek" at Asian American applicants who are as well rounded as white counterparts according to research. She should have gone to college not for the job training, but to experience the lessons of diversity and experience that not all Asians are engineering geeks. After all, who says they learned so much book smarts in college? People appreciate the college experience being prepared for transition into the real world.

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