01 December 2012

Majoring in Hackademics: The UnCollege

College debt across the US has skyrocketed to near $1 trillion, risking a catastrophic financial bubble when it bursts. At the same time, the benefit a student derives from a four year college degree is falling off, year by year.
The diverging trends are taking a toll on students and recent grads. Student loan delinquency rates now exceed those of credit card, mortgage, and all other types of consumer debt. And many indebted grads are being forced to delay buying homes, having children, and saving for retirement.

The situation is causing many experts to warn of a student loan bubble that could burst much like the housing market did in 2008. Howard Dvorkin, author of Credit Hell, told The Fiscal Times last month: “It's hard to predict when the student loan meltdown could occur, but if the bubble explodes, the consequences will be devastating for the economy.” _Minyanville

The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education.

...UnCollege advocates a D.I.Y. approach to higher education and spreads the message through informational “hackademic camps.” “Hacking,” in the group’s parlance, can involve any manner of self-directed learning: travel, volunteer work, organizing collaborative learning groups with friends. Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt might consider enrolling in a technology boot camp, where you can learn to write code in 8 to 10 weeks for about $10,000, Mr. Stephens said.

THEY can also nourish their minds from a growing menu of Internet classrooms, including the massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which stream classes from elite universities like Princeton. This guerrilla approach hits home with young people who came of age seeking out valuable content free on Napster and BitTorrent.

Mr. Stephens, a dropout from Hendrix College in Arkansas (he later earned a Thiel Fellowship), started UnCollege less than two years ago, and already its Web site attracts 20,000 unique visitors a month. “I get on scale of 10 to 15 e-mails a day from people who say something along lines of, ‘I thought I was the only one out there who thought about education like this, I don’t feel crazy anymore,’ ” he said.

There are other groups, too, like Enstitute, which offers two-year apprenticeships with entrepreneurs in lieu of college, and Zero Tuition College, an online support network for students looking for alternatives.

The goal is not to foment for a mass exodus from the ivy halls, Mr. Stephens said, but to open people’s minds to a different set of opportunities. _NYT
Children need to be trained in the many arts of making money long before they reach college age. Children schooled in The Dangerous Child Method will acquire the skills to support themselves financially at least three different ways -- and they will know how to manage the money for its best utility as well.

The US government educational system isolates children from a very young age from real world responsibility and avoids teaching them vital real life skills which they will need when they are out on their own. Each stage of education kicks the can down the road a little further, expecting that the next level of education will fill in the gaps. Sadly, parents are complicit in this massive scam of the "educators," and then they wonder why their children move back in with them -- unmarried, unable to find work, without meaningful skills or competencies.

The trend toward general indebted incompetency is one that the government welcomes -- because it gives governments new excuses to expand to new areas of oversight and responsibility, while taking away or restricting more individual responsibility. Time is running out on this misguided culture of psychological neotenates and lifelong incompetents.

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Blogger kurt9 said...

One of the problems is that many jobs require a college degree even though a college degree in no way relates to the ability to perform the job. I think this means that HR managers are using college degrees as nothing more than a screening tool.

The hyper-credentialization of society is very destructive to the economy as a whole as well as a massive injustice to young people.

Saturday, 01 December, 2012  
Blogger Priest said...

Might another method of getting around the credentialization process simply be to get a set of credentials from online schools?

Saturday, 01 December, 2012  
Blogger Dan Kurt said...

re: "One of the problems is that many jobs require a college degree even though a college degree in no way relates to the ability to perform the job." kurt9

The need for a "college degree" to be hired is because:
1) a Highschool diploma is worthless as a signal of competence given the quality of American HSs;
2) spending 4 years in college at least shows a prospective employer that the applicant for a job has a modicum of “stick-to-it-ness” and would probably show up for work;
3) may, and only may, be a proxy for an IQ test, something now banned to screen for employment.

Dan kurt

Saturday, 01 December, 2012  
Blogger sykes.1 said...

Credentialing cannot be done online.

The value of a BA/BS degree derives from two things. First, the graduate has been screened by an admissions committee. Depending on the school, this produces a set of students with above average to extremely above average academic (only!!) ability. The completion of the degree indicates that the graduate has substantial work ethic and competitive ability.

The value depends upon the school and the discipline. A physics degree from Cal Tech is infinitely more valuable than an Womyn's Studies degree from Florida A & M.

Online education is possible and some people benefit from it. Some companies even accept online degrees. However, most won't. I taught engineering at the college/university level for 37 years. I finally realized that I wasn't actually teaching, I was supplying the structure and discipline the vast majority of students needed to learn.

Some companies even accept online degrees. But high prestige companies don't. In fact, as is painfully obvious, companies that offer high prestige, high salary jobs demand degrees from elite schools. The Nazarene University MBA is fine for your local Krogers, but Goldman Sachs wants something from Harvard.

Sunday, 02 December, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Sykes: The Nazarene University MBA is fine for your local Krogers, but Goldman Sachs wants something from Harvard.

This is an issue that the many drop-out billionaires and mega-millionaires were not too concerned about. The credentialing issue is not a worry to people with good ideas and drive, who understand how to turn ideas into products, services, and companies.

The US educational system as it is does not try to train creative entrepreneurial minds. It trains conformist job-seekers, who mewl and graze in herds, as a rule.

If you are going to be a steer, you may as well be an alpha-steer, I suppose. But children and youth are not given a choice between being steers or tigers. Perhaps they should be.

Sunday, 02 December, 2012  
Blogger Lime Lite said...

The only thing you need to think about is this: would you be able to pass the Harvard entrance exam of 1869? If you look at the standard of intelligence back then compared to now then you know why America is going backwards.


Monday, 03 December, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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