The BA is B-A-D

by Robert Pondiscio
October 12th, 2008

Imagine that you have been made a member of a task force to design America’s post-secondary education system from scratch, writes Charles Murray at Cato Unbound.  One of your colleagues submits this proposal:

First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that often has nothing to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn’t meet the goal. We will call the goal a “BA.”

You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane, says Murray.  ”I have taken as my mission to do everything I can to undermine the BA,” Murray announces.  “The good news is that the conditions are right for change. There is a diverse world of work out there, filled with jobs that are interesting, well-paying, and intrinsically rewarding, that do not call for the kind of training that colleges are designed to provide.”