A real quick, but very insightful post, then I have to go.
I read this on Mish's blog and it got me thinking, "Dude, you're practically middle age by the time you get your doctorate and are ready to go into the labor force."
And then it got me further thinking as to just how much time we waste when we education our children and college students and how we could considerably shorten the time it takes to bring a kid from kindergarten to an employable adult.
First off a sheer improvement in efficiency by eliminating bad students that do nothing but distract those students with potential would certainly allow a teacher to cover an insanely higher amount of ground and impart an insanely higher amount of education. Along the same line would be getting parents to be real parents and force their students to study, to do well, and to do their homework.
Since both are politically incorrect because we champion losers in this country as well as it is a sin to accuse bad parents of...well...being bad parents, we have to focus on things that don't hurt people's feelings, especially morons at the expense of our future labor force.
This changes the focus to what I believe to be the inordinate amount of worthless "pre-requisite" classes that we force students to take to (put it simply) employ people who would otherwise be unemployable.
Why do we have phy ed?
Why do we mandate students take high school psychology?
How many of you took years of foreign language and never used it to this day?
It is these classes that need to be eliminated at the K-12 education level. They serve no purpose in training children into future workers, but they do employ a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise have jobs in the real world.
Then there is lord knows how much spent on "extra-curricular" activities that serve no purpose in helping a kid's future.
Admittedly, I teach dance. But this is recreational and for adults who have since graduated and are presumably in the working world. They have no illusions about going out and competing professionally. It is a veritable recreation. But I don't know how many women I've ran into who I could tell had previous dance experience. And when I asked them,
"Have you danced before?"
They invariably say,
"Yes, tap, jazz and ballet when I was a child."
"So are you a professional ballet dancer now?"
"Oh, no! *giggle*"
Well how much time, labor, effort, money and taxpayer cash was used teaching kids a dance they will never use? Line dance? Jazz? Ballet?
Music is the same way. Along the same line of sports (as well as I presume ballet), what percentage of students that take music and are in high school band go on to make careers in music? Less than 1% I presume. And this speaks nothing to the psychotic parents that (like my own) force their children at the insanely young age of 3 to take piano or violin or tennis.
Now these are all topics or hobbies kids pursue as kids during their k-12 days. However, when they graduate onto college, the pointless "jumping through hoops" classes do not relent.
Freshman composition is the perfect example.
I don't care how bad people's writing is. If it doesn't cut it, it doesn't cut it. But no matter if you had straight A's through k-12 in English, you still need to take this class. Why? Because a bunch of English majors in COLLEGE need a job.
But forget English, the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota require you not only take 3 years of a foreign language, but that you PASS A TEST before you can get your degree. I pissed away 2 years of college German that could have been spent on economics and finance which would have made me an even BETTER economist (if you can imagine that). Regardless, this is not for the students' benefit, this is to employ a bunch of people who majored in a foreign language and can't find a job at the UN.
Business school is just as guilty as any other college.
Why, if you are majoring in accounting, do you need to take HR or marketing? Again, it is not to make you "well-rounded" it's to employ otherwise unemployable "doctorates" in marketing.
And though I did not attend engineering school, there is no doubt a plethora of worthless and pointless pre-requisites in the arts and humanities you must have suffered that only postponed your graduation by a full year.
Now you may be asking "Captain, why are you so hard on people? Why can't you just let people enjoy life a little bit? Life is not all about math and science and engineering and economics."
You're right, that's what you do on your free time. But when you go to school, let us not kid ourselves, it's not for entertainment. It's to train you for a real job in the real world. It's to give you the skills so that you may work up enough money in a successful career so that you may afford pursue your hobbies in the future. Arguing otherwise is putting the cart before the horse, and no doubt you wish to make a living out of your hobby which is almost a guaranteed way to become a rent-seeker.
But there is a larger consequence, or perhaps "opportunity cost" for being so lackadaisical in the education and training of our future labor, and that is foregone production.
Consider this - it is in my estimation that a full 3 years could be cut out from the K-12 education by simply eliminating the worthless classes and activities as well as forcing our students to work harder. I also believe that if you get rid of all of fluff and forced-pre-requisite classes at the college level, you could scale an engineering degree down to 3 years and a liberal arts degree to 3 months (just kidding!). I also believe most masters degrees could be done in 4 years and doctorates (unless in a REALLY advanced field) could be done in 6. And in focusing our efforts on studying as well as eliminating the unnecessary classes, you could have online fully trained and qualified, labor ready to go to work.
Bringing this labor online 4-5 years ahead of schedule and you have some amazing benefits.
Most notably 4-5 years of additional production per graduating class. This alone would (assuming near full employment) more than pay for Obama's spending binge.
You worried about collecting social security when you're older? Well, if people were allowed to get to work earlier instead of rotting in a mandatory "Global-Warming and Why Bush is Hitler Sociology' class, the tax revenues might be there to actually shore up the SS fund.
And, of course, lest we forget, how about all the extra money those students make for themselves (assuming we don't tax them to death) with that extra 4-5 years income? Let alone less student loan debt they might have. Less debt and an extra 4-5 years of income, who knows, all those Gen-X'ers and Gen Y'ers could have actually AFFORDED the houses they tried to buy 3 years ago.
In short you would have a HUGE increase in generational production, GDP, tax revenues and wealth and the country would be immeasurably off.
But of course, there is one thing standing in the way of this;
For you see, such a streamlined educational system would mean a LOT less money for that industry, and no matter how noble and how prosperous a faster, more focused educational system would be for this nation, society must suffer a lower standard of living so we can employ some more theater professors and German teachers.
Enjoy Freshman Comp!