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posted by mrpg on Friday April 21, @06:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the college-matters dept.

In a recent study, we investigated how many of the wealthiest and most influential people graduated college. We studied 11,745 U.S. leaders, including CEOs, federal judges, politicians, multi-millionaires and billionaires, business leaders and the most globally powerful men and women.

We found about 94 percent of these U.S. leaders attended college, and about 50 percent attended an elite school. Though almost everyone went to college, elite school attendance varied widely. For instance, only 20.6 percent of House members and 33.8 percent of 30-millionaires attended an elite school, but over 80 percent of Forbes' most powerful people did. For whatever reason, about twice as many senators – 41 percent – as House members went to elite schools.

For comparison, based on census and college data, we estimate that only about 2 to 5 percent of all U.S. undergraduates went to one of the elite schools in our study. The people from our study attended elite schools at rates well above typical expectations.

Why waste $150,000 on an education you could get for $1.50 in late fees at the public library?


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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:37AM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:37AM (#497266)

    For whatever reason, about twice as many senators – 41 percent – as House members went to elite schools.

    I like that they don't say that they have no idea why it could be, but I think it is obvious to everyone. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Secret societies, fraternities, etc. Gee, why do most of the country's most powerful politicians come from a small group of elite schools? Gotta maintain this newfangled aristocracy.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:44AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:44AM (#497268)

      You know young rich niggas
      You know so we never really had no old money
      We got a whole lot of new money though, hah

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:51AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:51AM (#497272)

        Ugh, you're attempt at some sort of authenticity comes off as veiled racism.

        Yes, the "aristocracy" had a few decades of trouble as silicon valley disrupted business as usual. However, as we can all see the wild frontier of possibility is being locked down for strict control and manipulation.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:59AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:59AM (#497279)

          Don't you know hip-hop music is a black youth's ticket out of the poverty trap. More generally any kind of nonproductive work that gains celebrity is the fast track to fortune. Because our civilization is made entirely out of bullshit.

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Friday April 21, @03:27PM

            by DannyB (5839) on Friday April 21, @03:27PM (#497452)

            Have faith in America's leaders. They will fix everything. They lead by example. And the people should be inspired to follow in their footsteps:
            1. go to prestigious school
            2. become famous
            3. learn to influence people
            4. become successful

            For instance:
            1. (go to prestigious school) be unable to read, write or speak in complete sentences
            2. (become famous) be a reality tv star, the type of job which is the economic powerhouse of the 21st century
            3. (learn to influence people) use language like Trust Me, I Promise, Believe Me, which is the language of a con man; normal people with reputation of honesty and fair dealing don't talk like this
            4. (become successful) but don't release tax returns or anything that could reveal just how unsuccessful you actually are; or that would let the newer investors know what happened to older investors, or about any possible smoke screens concealing debt, etc

            No specific American leaders were named, and any resemblance to actual persons is unintentional and purely coincidental. Very few animals were harmed in the making of this post.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ledow on Friday April 21, @09:23AM (8 children)

      by ledow (5567) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @09:23AM (#497314) Homepage

      Bear in mind, in my country "school" means up to 18 years old.

      I grew up in a rough area, went to state school. Pretty much, I was the only person from my school year to go to university (18-21 years, generally, and completely optional) and graduate, and even then I didn't really do very well. So I come from an "ordinary" background. Neither of my parents have a qualification, for instance. And yet I think I succeeded enough to have an opinion on this.

      I now work in a private school (literally I see the kids move to Eton, Harrow, etc.), and I see the kids there every day. It's almost embarrassing how much better they are.

      Private schools are eye-opening. None of the junk that "school" was about when I was a kid. The kids come in, they come prepared, they come in excited, they work longer and harder than state kids, the parents drive them, lack of discipline (including self-discipline) is not tolerated, there is no hand-holding - if you need to be somewhere, learn something, talk to a teacher, you need to organise it. Whether you're 6 or 16. And you better not be a second late, or miss an appointment. There's teamwork and camaraderie. The kids are there earlier, there till later, and get more done. There's almost no downtime during the day, even during lesson changes.

      I don't doubt that the social aspect is a factor - the "old boys network" definitely exists. But there's a reason that not many state school kids last, even if their parents have the money to send them to private school. They raise the bar. You're there to learn, and to become an educated intellectual person, or you're not there at all. In my country, there's none of this sports-scholarship nonsense. Though they exist, if you can't perform academically as well, you're out.

      Every kid plays an instrument. Not reluctantly, they all play, and perform better than I ever could. Every kids plays every sport. All of them. There are dozens of sports teams for even the tiniest of private schools. They're all better at them than I ever was. Every kid is performing years ahead of state school peers. All of them. Even the ones that get thrown out for not performing. Every kid has dozens of school-run after-school activities to choose from and almost all of them do (or else they go elsewhere and do things too). It's not unusual to still see 10-year-olds in school at 6/7pm even if they're not boarders (don't get me started on how much extra boarders do), after starting at 7am. That doesn't happen in state schools here.

      Is it because they have so-much-better equipment and money to throw at everything? No, not really. If anything, they have traditionally avoided teaching fads and modern technology (though they can catch up very quickly if they see the need). Is it because the teachers are just so-much-better? To a degree. But they don't get paid much more than state school teachers so you're not recruiting geniuses. In my school, the most highly qualified people are two people with PhD's - one's a librarian, one's the headmaster's wife who doesn't teach either. Everyone else just has bachelor's (minimum requirement to teach) or a few of them have master's.

      But private schools just operate differently. Your kids cannot coast in a private school, it's just not possible. If you're going to affect school results, you are out. As such, having got through an elite school is not just a case of money-no-object, but on performance. The situation is the same in the UK, almost every prime minister and senior figure in government, judiciary, etc. are privately educated at elite schools. And we're not even talking about university (e.g. Harvard, Yale) but from Prep schools, to senior schools. You can't even GET into those elite schools without having the same kinds of performance. That's why state school kids can't compete. They're competing against 15 years of that kind of expectation and they have to be very good to catch up. That sort of head-start is what makes them different.

      Go watch "Harrow: A very British education". Those are CHILDREN, not even what I would class as adults (much of US "school" is actually adults). Watch what they are expected to do, and can do, every single day. Watch the level of performance. Watch how much there is no nonsense.

      Now, I'm not saying that, say, all royalty are geniuses just because they got put into those school and are handled with kid gloves just for the prestige, but most of these "elite" people just aren't important enough to a private school system to care about them differently. If they got there, it's not just because daddy is rich (all the daddies are rich), it's not just because they have a title (the titles mean nothing if they're going to have to publicly fail them for not being good enough), it's not just because generations of their family went to the school (that might get you in, but it won't keep you there). It's because they literally perform better because of the advantages of such an education, which most of them have had since they were 4 years old.

      They also come out with some amazing social skills, able to argue adults in circles just like politicians can from even a young age. They are educated, intellectual, well-versed, used to public speaking and persuasion and able to manipulate and study people, because they'd done it all their lives and been "trained" to do it.

      There's a reason the people trained at "elite" institutions end up in positions of power. It's not just "jobs for the boys". They have had a lifetime of education and intellectual stimulation.

      I'm not saying a college drop-out can't be a billionaire, we know that to be true.
      I'm not saying a private education makes EVERYONE a genius, we know that's not true.
      I'm not saying that a private education is entirely merit-based across the globe.

      But there's a correlation there, and a causation.

      Until I worked in a private school, I too thought they were just snobby places where everyone was patted on the back for being Hugo Montague Winthrope III. But that's not true of all the ones I've worked in.

      If that translates up to elite universities, etc. (which it does), and that most statistics show privately-educated people are in higher-paid, higher-responsibility, higher-prestige, etc. positions in later life (they do), then I can see why. I see it everyday.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @10:31AM (4 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @10:31AM (#497332) Journal

        So parents that considers it a virtue to study diligently and a no bullshit teaching environment is the key?

        I'll guess that no child left behind test schooling is not prioritized at those places..

        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Friday April 21, @02:13PM (1 child)

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday April 21, @02:13PM (#497404) Journal
          Parental involvement is the only factor that has consistently been shown to improve performance. I went to a school not too dissimilar to the one that the grandparent describes. Around 5-10% of the top year were awarded places to Oxford or Cambridge each year. Not everyone there was wealthy (and no one was super wealthy - one son of a rich person was turned away because he insisted on security arrangements that the school thought would impact other students too much), and there was an assisted places scheme to cover the fees for people from poorer backgrounds. Pretty much everyone had supportive parents and you were expected to work at school, and if you didn't work and your parents didn't do anything to sort out the issues then you were expelled (this happened very rarely - I think to three people in my year over a 11 years).

          My godmother's children went to a state school, but in a prosperous middle class area and had quite a similar experience. Their school wasn't quite as well funded, but whenever they organised a fundraising event to make up the shortfall in government funding they'd have parents helping out and lots of cash flowing in. In contrast, state schools in poorer areas often have parents working such long hours that they can't support the students and with no disposable income to support the students.

          --
          sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ledow on Friday April 21, @05:28PM (1 child)

          by ledow (5567) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @05:28PM (#497500) Homepage

          If you commute your teaching down to the average, your school will perform in the averages.

          Yes, pretty much, high demands are made of everyone. There are learning support (what used to be called "special needs") procedures and departments but they don't generally deal with anything near what a state SEN department would.

          And that's the problem. Although putting SEN kids (real ones) into a school makes them feel "normal" and maybe even raise their results (the science is very mixed on this, I'm not convinced that it helps them except socially, personally), it does slow down the other non-SEN kids to a certain extent, whether by taking away staff, time or resources that could be used elsewhere, or just on the impact in the classroom on behaviour, etc.

          Years ago, we would separate out children by ability (grammar schools, etc.) and then again by behaviour ("special" schools). We don't do that any more. While that might be good for the averages, for the expense and for the kids suffering, it can actually have a negative overall effect on the normal school intake.

          Part of the reason that "Academies" in the UK are able to produce temporary (1-2 years) results improvements is because they are outside regulations on who they can kick out and who they have to accept (i.e. all the kids kicked out of other schools). So after conversion from a normal state to an academy, results skyrocket. Until they are then forced to take back normal intakes - including SEN and others - when it all returns to normal.

          Private schools are literally taking those who want to learn. Same as highly-religious schools (where nonsense isn't tolerated), and well-funded schools (e.g. new Academies, those associated to particular charities or organisations, etc.).

          The question of whether this is "right" is a moral one. But before we jump into the "he became prime minister only because he has a rich daddy and all his friends are already there", we have to consider whether there's a reason behind that that's more than just "jobs for the boys". From what I see, there is quite clearly an advantage to a selective, attentive, well-funded and parent-backed education. And that correlates more highly to such positions than "who my father was", except indirectly.

          Celebrity children, for instance, are often pains in the arses to deal with. The rich celebrity thinks that no matter how stupid their child is, paying more money should see them through the school with A grades. That's not how it works. In fact, if anything, private schools aren't swayed by "new money" people, because their reputation and results are worth a lot more to them for ongoing business than saying that they have a reality show millionaire's son in the house.

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @11:41PM

            by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @11:41PM (#497665) Journal

            It seems that self control, self determination and a calm environment is really important key issues. So the question becomes really what would one need to break free from school and that is really money. If the state gets to steal them, then it will undermine this (on purpose?).

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by AthanasiusKircher on Friday April 21, @06:07PM (1 child)

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @06:07PM (#497515) Journal

        Thanks for the comment. I completely agree. I've taught in a lot of different kinds of schools over the years -- before going to graduate school, I taught in high schools, both a public lower-middle-class school and an elite private school that fed to the Ivy League. I've also taught at universities of different levels of prestige.

        At least in the U.S., I think a lot of it really is happening at the primary and secondary level. Everyone thinks that "college" is the way to get ahead, but really the gateway is the prep schools. I agree completely with the description -- I taught physics at that Ivy League feeder school I mentioned, and most of the kids were amazing.

        Something significant I'd add about my experience: support for teachers was also completely different too. There were a lot of teachers with masters degrees and several with doctorates, but that's not what made the difference. The whole school community was dedicated to teaching.

        In a typical public school classroom, you often have a couple "classroom visitations" by an administrator each year. Those are the days when all the kids are worried because the principal is in class or whatever; they're generally scheduled in advance. After the observation, you'd get some sheet with a few lines of written feedback from the principal; unless you were a disaster, nothing else generally happens.

        Not in the private secondary school I was at. In a "normal year," you had visitations on a regular basis from a "master teacher," who would generally have an extended chat with you after each observation, talking about potential pedagogical strategies. The head of the secondary school would simply wander into my class maybe once or twice each month unannounced and just "hang out," talk to the kids a bit if they were doing a lab activity, and just see how things were going. At first, this was nerve-racking to me, but I quickly got used to it -- they were there to help, and the kids were used to it, so it didn't disrupt or change class dynamics when they showed up.

        I wasn't there long enough to go through the more intensive process, but after a few years, each teacher would pair with a "master teacher" mentor for a year and go through a series of even more intense observations and detailed discussion about how to improve your teaching skills or come up with new strategies. Every teacher repeated this pairing with some other teacher every few years, encouraging collaboration and different perspectives. The "master teachers" were ones who had been through this process several times and existed as a committee at the school level, available for consultation on demand as well.

        The strange thing about this all is that it was enjoyable. It wasn't the authoritarian structure of a public school where the "principal is coming to class today!" Even when the head of school wandered in, it was just like having another teacher hanging out (he too continued to teach a class, even with his administrative responsibilities). And it wasn't like the awful "pedagogy classes" I went through with some professor pontificating on incredibly generic strategies that weren't really useful in any specific case. This was true mentorship, where everyone really just cared about making the school better, and you had individual conversations with colleagues who wanted to help you and were interested in your particular teaching.

        And, similar to your experience, it wasn't about teaching "innovations" for innovation's sake. It wasn't about buzz words. It was about real conversation about connecting with your students and often making subtle tweaks that could help them learn better.

        I don't know that every private school has this sort of thing, but I've known teachers at other elite private schools in the U.S., and I've heard similar stories. Teachers are drawn there because they know they'll teach smart kids who are interested in learning (not because they'll earn better salaries, because they generally don't get a lot more than public school teachers, frequently even less). They stay because they have a supportive community that cares about teaching and learning, and the kids pick up on that, which is why they care about learning. (This type of community also promotes mentorship, which the kids pick up on and likely leads them to be more proactive about making connections and networking later in life.)

        Even many of the GOOD public school teachers I knew had an ultimate goal of the "standard lesson plan" -- after teaching a class for 3 or 4 years, they'd have a blueprint that made their life so much easier. In contrast, many of my colleagues at a private school found intellectual stimulation in changing up some aspects of their curricula every year. And without state mandated curricula telling you what you had to do every week, you had the freedom to explore such options. It really was a community of lifelong learning, both for teachers and students.

        None of this is to disparage public school teachers. I've seen some slackers as teachers there, but I've also seen plenty of public school teachers who care A LOT too. But the community and support is just different... not to mention the most significant factor: in public schools, I generally taught 6 sections with a total of ~150 kids each year. In the private school, I taught 4 class sections, with a total of ~50 kids. That made a HUGE difference in the kind of interactions I could have with my students and the time I could devote to preparation, grading, etc. I barely remember any of the students I had taught in public high schools, because there were just so many of them. But I still can think back fondly on many of the students at that private school, because I got to know a significant number of them very well.

        And they cared about me too: when it was announced at a schoolwide meeting that I'd be leaving and going to graduate school, I had students I hadn't even taught stop by my classroom afterward just to congratulate me and tell me how their friends enjoyed my classes and how they were sad they wouldn't get to take a class with me next year. What kind of teenager does that sort of thing? But that was normal in that community.

        • (Score: 2) by ledow on Friday April 21, @11:18PM

          by ledow (5567) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @11:18PM (#497649) Homepage

          Precisely.

          The school environment is radically different. Though in the background the drive for results is that, it's not the focus. The focus is on getting the kids to the point where they know that themselves, and drive that themselves, and have enough interest, support and enjoyment to make themselves do what's needed.

          I spent years in school feeling "held back" by my peers, my teachers, even the senior teachers and "best friend" teachers. They could not deviate, or take time to do things. I was a pest because I finished my work and wanted to move on and couldn't because it wasn't on their plan and they had to get all the others even STARTED on their task. Because I was "obviously" going to do okay, I was sidelined. There was little point wasting time on me when they could get a borderline kid into something that showed up on the results tables, or their appraisal. It wasn't just a handful of poor or distracted or overworked teachers, they had no drive for their subject because it had been sucked out of them by administration. I'm not bitter, I did better than virtually everyone else there, and I came out with the greatest gift of all - realising that's not how it should work and learning was a thing you needed to be able to do for your whole life. The frustration actually instilled it in me to do it myself, after a while. And the teachers who tried will always be the "best" teachers I will remember long after they're dead.

          As an adult, I worked for state schools for about 10 years. The same was true on the backend as an adult as I saw first-hand as a child. Kids were side-lined because they over-achieved, while those who played up got all the time and attention. I started to take activities and extracurricular classes, as a way to give what I had to those kids who could benefit from it. It worked, I was proud, I made differences. I literally had people CRYING in my office because they lost pages from their lesson plan, I had teachers REFUSE to let me backup their data because it contained a lesson plan (like it was some kind of top-secret document) and they didn't want me to see it in case I gave it to another teacher. It was literally that bad (and pointless, I'd like to point out, because the lesson plans were not even that good and often cribbed from Internet sources and even paid books full of nothing but lesson plans).

          But then an opportunity came up at a private school. I'll be honest, it was luck. I responded to a forum post for a job, at exactly the time I was hating the school I was at, when all the staff were changing for pen-pushing morons who couldn't speak to adults, let alone children. Instantly a reply come back that I'd be perfect and would I like an interview. The next day I sat an interview with a private school. Within a few weeks I was working there.

          It totally changed my opinion. I stood at the backs of classes while I did my work (IT), or watched the lessons from afar. I got kids who were interested BROUGHT TO ME (the IT guy) because staff recognised an interest within the child and thought they could benefit by speaking to me and helping me out. It was literally a place to walk in, help people learn and then go home. Little else was involved, and everyone had a focus. Sure, there are endless meetings about all kinds of things for the teaching staff, of course, but that's more to do with legislation, professional development, and even just working out what to do and how to apply things. The teachers work just as hard but there's a purpose rather than a checklist.

          And if a child deviates in the middle of the lesson, people know their subjects and jump off to deal with the deviation, provide the knowledge and then steer it back to the topic. It's all there, in their heads, not on paper in a lesson plan. I'm sure they have things written down. I'm sure they have to cover topics fully. I'm sure they have checkboxes to tick. But that's NOT the lesson. I've never seen anyone care about lesson plans in private school, in fact they tend to throw them all on Google Docs or a shared drive for everyone else to be able to see "best practice".

          And the kids thrive. They make friends with the caretaker not because he's a nice old man, but because he shares their love of plants, or playing guitar, or even mathematics. The parents know the staff, the staff know the kids. The kids come to ask questions. They'll come out of hours, to anyone who can answer, and they'll listen and learn and come back and show you what they've learned.

          Until you work there, you can't quite understand it. You can stop a random, say, 7-year-old in a Prep school. You can have a conversation with them just like an adult. They'll talk to you about all kinds of things. They won't clam up, or not want to be seen talking to you, or be embarrassed. Then they'll come and find you later in the year just to show you something they think you might be interested in because of that conversation, even if they aren't into it. They'll find their friend that plays guitar (or whatever) and bring them to you because they thought that the two of you might be able to talk and learn from each other.

          It's an entirely different kind of atmosphere.

          And I cannot see a single reason that all that wouldn't translate positively to adulthood, further education, the rest of their lives, career and experiences.

          My school has things like "breakfast with the headmaster", kids look forward to it because they like talking to him and being invited to do so, and it makes them feel like any other adult to be allowed to do so and have the same expectations of them as any member of staff doing the same.

          It's not because "breakfast with the headmaster" would turn any school into a fabulous wonderful place. It's because it's just a natural consequence of the kind of atmosphere, people and pupils that are already in place.

          And, to be honest, I meet an awful lot of parents, and an awful lot of alumni (even the ones in their 80's still come back every year to talk to the teachers and look around the school again). They're just pleasant, educated, intellectual people. They'll talk to the caretaker in the same friendly joking way as they talk, swearing away, and they'll talk to the headmaster or the governors laughing politely in an official meeting. They get on with people at all levels, because they understand all levels, because people are all people, all different to them, and they know how to talk to the them. They're not upper-class twits or better-than-thou's.

          They've been taught to be well-rounded individuals who just want to learn about others, and learn from them, and teach them things. And that's because that's what private schools have always taught them.

          And, yes. Some of them are politicians. Most of them are successful. And one of them came back to work as a caretaker at the same school he was a pupil at 50 years earlier. The caretaker who has better elocution and knowledge of some subjects than the people now teaching it. He just slots back into the atmosphere because after having his life, he decided it was the best place to start his slide into retirement.

          If I could afford it, I'd put my kid through that system immediately.

      • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Monday April 24, @07:05PM

        by linkdude64 (5482) on Monday April 24, @07:05PM (#499002)

        Uh, yeah, sure, that was like a really detailed and informative perspective or whatever but you didn't even mention skin color once???????????

        /sarcasm, for the record

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @12:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @12:57PM (#497371)

      One more group to add to the list, the country club set. I noticed this years ago (USA) -- all the big deals seemed to be nailed down on the golf course.

      I don't play golf, de facto limits me to smaller deals...

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Weasley on Friday April 21, @04:50PM

      by Weasley (6421) on Friday April 21, @04:50PM (#497488)

      I think it is obvious to everyone

      But it's not. The middle-class/lower-class believes that success comes through competence and hard work. They willfully ignore the fact that the highest levels of leadership are usually appointments from among the ranks of the upper class, and that upward mobility is far more rare than they think.

    • (Score: 2) by eravnrekaree on Friday April 21, @08:18PM

      by eravnrekaree (555) on Friday April 21, @08:18PM (#497571)

      The reason for the statistics is not that college produces geniuses but that its a way to keep the same elite families in power. Look at the average politician and large corporations in the USA, companies like GM which were destroyed by these geniuses and the fact that politicians have run the country trillions into debt, started pointless wars, etc. It contradicts the idea that they are where they are because of merit. Its due to the elite cabal who keep the same families in power and the only point of elite college is to keep these famileis in power, the ive league is sort of like a certificate of belonging in the elite cabal where elite parents certify their children to be elite like themselves.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:40AM (25 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:40AM (#497267)

    Fell for the scam, I did. Got a tech degree, went out into the world all bright-eyed and hopeful, looking for one of those tech jobs I'd read so much about. Nothing. Put together a portfolio of open source and peddled it on the job market. Again nothing. Went back to school, got another tech degree. Still absolutely nothing.

    Never again. College is a waste of time, a waste of effort, and a waste of money.

    I didn't need to go to college to end up doing nothing. I could have done nothing for free.

    Now I'm bitter and I'm disillusioned and I hate you all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:53AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:53AM (#497273)

      Yeah that's the problem with going to schools that aren't accredited. They're a sham to get you to go into debt. The degree and the education you get at those places is worth less than the paper it's written on.
      You should have at least gone to a 4 year College. Even a Community College. The benefits of a 4 year degree are myriad including showing an employer you're willing to stick with something for 4 years.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:46AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:46AM (#497298)

        I wish I had been a college drop-out, so I could threaten the world with biological warfare, like Billy Gates [theguardian.com], or Nuclear Arms and Get-it-on, like L'il Kim, the Turd. But:

        showing an employer you're willing to stick with something for 4 years.

        Teaching at a college, and after consulting with my colleagues, it seems that most students, and this is a new thing this semester, are not able to stick with something for four or five months! Attendance has plummeted. First, I thought it was me, since I am a "bad teacher", (even though I look nothing like Cameron Diaz), one of those who forces the sad puppies of college who only want to learn stuff they can sell to the highest bidder to actually learn stuff, and if they blow me off, I have no difficulty in depth-charging their GPA, reporting them to the dean, and shooting their dog in the ass. And I do, on a regular basis. They complain to the admin, and I say: listen, you punk ass STEM major, do you have any documentation that you attended the course after the third week of the semester? Can you answer ever a SINGLE question on the final exam? Why are you too stupid to be able to know what a syllabus is, let alone read one? Oh, my god!

          Alright. Faculty. End of Semester. Accredation pressure. Accountability pressure from total assholes with degrees in "education management" and selling out to the Gates foundation and Lumina. I am jaded. I am pissed off. My only hope, which has always been the hope of all teachers everywhere and throughout time, is the some of my students, the ones who show the fuck up, read the goddamned assigned material, and actually do more study than is required, they will go on to preserve the profession of scholarship, and ultimately, become just as bitter as I am. I love them.

        And to those "drop-outs" who succeed in spite? You are uneducated. You are a Runaway, with billions of dollars. How can you not scare yourself, let alone the rest of us?

        • (Score: 2) by Jerry Smith on Friday April 21, @08:10AM

          by Jerry Smith (379) on Friday April 21, @08:10AM (#497303) Journal

          Teacher here. I hear ya.

          --
          All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:51AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:51AM (#497340)

          Unless the point of the class is to study a particular professor, it's usually much more illuminating to read textbooks and whitepapers and do gobs of problem sets—and this is 100x the case for STEM subjects.

          You're right: After the first 3 weeks, I usually stopped attending classes, and just read my books. It was so much better than listening to some Indian practice his English for an hour.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @02:33PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @02:33PM (#497414)

          I got a STEM degree and had very poor attendance for most of my science classes.

          Lecturing was not the most efficient use of my time for me to learn most of the time. Attending lectures were a luxury for me because it meant that I had enough down time (no immediate assignments or impending exams) from my other STEM and non-STEM classes that I could sit through someone explaining the topic to me. This held true for any lecture-heavy class excluding some of the upper-division/MS level courses that I was able to take in my third and fourth year.

          Despite my formal education, I am more than aware that a university degree does not necessarily mean someone is not "uneducated". I got my degree because I was smart, I was motivated enough to tolerate all the bullshit requirements involved, and because I could "afford" (grants, scholarships, community college courses, and loans) a subsidized public university. Mark Twain had a nice quote on the subject along the lines of "Don't let schools interfere with your education".

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday April 21, @03:33PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) on Friday April 21, @03:33PM (#497454)

        Yeah that's the problem with going to schools that aren't accredited. They're a sham to get you to go into debt. The degree and the education you get at those places is worth less than the paper it's written on.

        Its not nice to criticize Trump university. So don't.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @08:51PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @08:51PM (#497582)

          Hooray! You were able to slip in a bash at Trump despite the article having nothing to do with him! Congrats, as a member of the Committee of Disgruntled Hillary Supporters, you have done your duty for today.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:57PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:57PM (#497620)

            Hooray! You brought her up even though dislike of Trump does NOT mean love of Hillary . . . Why does it always have to come back to her? I really don't understand.

            FYI, I dislike them both . . .

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 23, @02:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 23, @02:44AM (#498151)

        The benefits of a 4 year degree are myriad including showing an employer you're willing to stick with something for 4 years.

        You could dig giant holes in the ground with spoons for 4 years and gather evidence that you did this, then. What matters is how much you understand the material and how well you can do the job, not whether or not you have a piece of paper. If employers are not properly testing people in the first place and instead just relying on degrees, then they are fools; most college graduates (and non-college graduates) are know-nothing losers, so you need to test your applicants whether or not they have degrees. Most colleges are little better than the disaster that is our K-12 school system; rote memorization and one-size-fits-all education strategies are routinely utilized.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @06:56AM (#497275)

      College isn't a waste, but it is over priced and the economy can not support the number of educated entry level workers. Don't lose hope, you'll find some crappy tech job which will at least get you some experience which you can leverage into better opportunities.

    • (Score: 2) by ledow on Friday April 21, @09:42AM (6 children)

      by ledow (5567) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @09:42AM (#497320) Homepage

      You thought education guaranteed you a job? Maybe you should have stayed in school for longer.

      I have a degree. It's not great.

      I graduated, looked around, couldn't find what I wanted to do. Started my own business instead. Within a couple of years, I was earning more than a full-time job for someone twice my age, going home at 3pm and only working half-the-week. I was earning more than my parents had EVER earned in their lives by age 24.

      Then I went back to the job market, and everyone clamoured for me. At all stages the fact that I had a degree come up. People used it as a item of trust, but not proof of experience. I demonstrated that in different ways, instead, but the degree showed that I wasn't just bluffing or that I wasn't just memorising current stuff without an ability to learn.

      The degree proves one thing: That you can study and learn and not give up. It does not prove competence in any one area, especially in any job-related area. Your open-source stuff? It doesn't prove much. I have that, and I'm not even a programmer. I just do it for fun.

      I work in IT. My degree is in Maths. Nobody cared. I studied the subject I enjoy, and then I worked in an industry that needed skilled people and for which I could quickly acquire or use my skills. At no point did it occur to me to get a job using Maths - I hate finance, I can't stand arithmetic (one tiny, teeny portion of maths). I'd be bored to tears having to work with maths all day long, except as an academic exercise. It was never an option for me, when I was choosing my subjects, going to university or looking for jobs. I did what I enjoyed and could do. Then I needed work, so I found a job I enjoyed and could do. The two were entirely unrelated.

      If you went to a university to get a degree thinking that gave you some right, or even proved you were able to do, a job, you were severely misled and never bothered to question it.

      However, several employers have stated that they considered my degree to be to my advantage and chosen me because of it. To quote my ex-father-in-law (who's a PhD himself) - "When I have a computing question, I come to you and trust you over all my other friends, even the ones who work in IT too, even in the face of outright opposition from them. Because you've got a degree, and they don't." And this guy is the father of the woman I divorced. He still comes to me in preference.

      In all your tech degrees, what's your real-world job experience? Nothing. Who's going to hire someone with no real-world job experience? Nobody. Like nobody hired me out of university. I had to work and prove I could do it off my own back and at my own risk. Then people trusted me.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @10:37AM (2 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @10:37AM (#497334) Journal

        What did your business do?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:58AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:58AM (#497343)

          Or, his parents were living on the government dole.

          There's no other explanation for his supposedly huge income, given that he went on to work in "IT".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:00PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @10:00PM (#497623)

            You have no idea what you are talking about. I have seen guys start up landscaping businesses and expand them to mini empires. Easy enough to do with a tech related company too . . .

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @11:00AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @11:00AM (#497344)

        What you describe is the reason that society needs to return to Apprenticeships: Education cannot be separated from experience; education cannot be separated from productive work.

      • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Friday April 21, @02:10PM

        by DutchUncle (5370) on Friday April 21, @02:10PM (#497402)

        You exemplify the problem with the repeated political claims that "Schools need to train people for jobs" or "Companies need better trained workers out of school". I agree with you, finishing school means that you can (1) learn stuff, both subject matter and "how to function in a given competitive environment", and (2) take on a big project and finish it. It does *not*necessarily that you have some particular narrow training that will satisfy one particular narrow need (that will probably last only a short time).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:00PM (#497588)

        I have the opposite experience. I am young, yet already hold a director level position, and prior to that senior level and management positions at other places. I have no college. None at all. Never once did any company ask if I went and I don't lie or hide it on my resume that I never have. None of them cared, or if they did it sure never affected my ability to find work. Am I a usual case? No. I'd wager you aren't either though. Just as you say your ex father in law goes to you because you have a degree, I have quite a few who come to me instead of others who have PhDs and Masters degrees. I don't think having or not having college comes in to play much at all unless you're a beginning job-seeker fresh in your career.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @03:18PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @03:18PM (#497442)

      Wow. And here I am a college dropout who slings code for a news/finance orientated megacorp that gives above industry standard vacation. I also get paid more than most of my friends with CS degrees. It's not much, but it's enough to live pretty comfortably in the midwest US.

      Maybe you need to move, or up your game. Back when I used to work with our clients directly, I used to get job offers from them (Wall Street companies) on a regular basis, but I had no desire to move to NY, and I enjoy keeping whatever tiny bit of my soul I have left still intact.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday April 21, @03:53PM

        by DannyB (5839) on Friday April 21, @03:53PM (#497460)

        Not a dropout, but I can relate to writing code, big company, above standard vacation, decently paid. I won't die rich, but I have a decent life.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @04:36PM (2 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @04:36PM (#497478) Journal

        How long vacation is that?

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday April 21, @05:32PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Friday April 21, @05:32PM (#497501)

          You may not believe it if I tell you. Five weeks paid vacation. Five personal days to take anytime without notice. (What some companies would call "sick" days.) But I seldom get sick. And if I do, I sometimes work. (Yes, really)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, @02:41PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, @02:41PM (#498863)

          AC back again. Was gone for the weekend.

          For me, 4 weeks vacation, 4 "personal days" that can be used interchangeably as vacation, and 6 sick days (that i infrequently use). Last time I checked, there were also 9-10 paid holidays.

          I get up to 5 weeks eventually, but that takes another few years. Would have had it already, but I got screwed during our last merger.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday April 21, @03:49PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) on Friday April 21, @03:49PM (#497459)

      I got a tech degree. But that was back when microcomputers had 64 K bytes. The newest ones might have 96 K or 128 K.

      The thing is, the field was new. Most of the general public didn't even realize the potential. The market for computers (and the software that makes them do something) was so big that we couldn't even imagine just how big it was, at the time.

      There were a lot of people who would start out in the same classes, but couldn't cut it. They could take a language class, say FORTRAN. Learn all the basic statements. But not be able to put together a simple algorithm or flowchart to save their life. That was the problem.

      I don't know, but I suspect that today the same situation exists. There are people who can (which you may be), and there are people who can not. Unfortunately, those who can not tend to be great at passing tests and interviews. So employers grow more and more skeptical because it is difficult to find the ones who can do. (And the interview process has become disconnected from the actual work as a result.)

      I look at things some people will not do today. That with a little ambition, I realize geez, look what I can do on today's hardware, development tools, etc compared to the old days when it was uphill both ways and in plain ASCII. No online help. You had to memorize a stack of manuals. I simply don't know, but suspect that today developers have it too easy. Maybe not. But back in the day, to build, for example, a financial accounting application, you had to build your own friggin' database, b-trees, balancing, etc. Absolutely nothing was off the shelf. No frameworks. No tools. Just a compiler. As a consequence, today when faced with a challenging problem, and in a new environment, but recognizing I've got all the basic parts I need to get things in and get things out of the computer, I can build whatever it takes. Just roll up your sleeves. And that's with less energy than I once had.

      So I don't know what the problems are. Maybe there aren't good tech jobs? Maybe you are not exploitable enough? Maybe employers won't pay what people are worth when starting out? I don't pretend to know. But things are different now.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @04:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @04:42PM (#497482)

        I recall when I experienced a compiler first time. It was like.. "It will do the assembly programming for you!?!?, WOAW!! *hack-hack-hack-kaching-hack-hack-kaching* ;-)

        As for jobs, I suspect many "tech" jobs isn't really about technology. So thus people god at that don't get hired.

        And many in human resources (cattle handlers), bosses, and other loose people not really central to the core business just don't understand what they should be looking for.

    • (Score: 2) by eravnrekaree on Friday April 21, @08:12PM

      by eravnrekaree (555) on Friday April 21, @08:12PM (#497567)

      I agree with your sentiments on college and my experience is the same. Its a complete waste of money and I would have better spent the time if I was doing hands on learning in an apprenticeship type thing. College takes a lot of out of you, both energy wise, mentally , emotionally and financially. It years of terror, anxiety and fear with no value or purpose. Its not necessary to learn in this way and we would be better off just doing self study and learning on the job. Try studying art, music, math or science on your own time, its far more enjoyable and pleasant than it is without the panic of tests and the endless and meaningless rote memorization. Rote memorization is pointless, mindless repetition of facts without understanding, interest or passion. People do it "just to get through it" and it ends up being such a nuisance they never want to deal with the subject again.

      Our lives would be much happier, more productive without college.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:33AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:33AM (#497294)

    Well not entirely, but a big benefit of going to elite schools is that you are surrounded disproportionately by other people who are equally ambitious, excited by learning, and with diverse accomplishments in their background.

    When Bill Gates was starting Microsoft he didn't put an ad out seeking people to start a company with, he started it with an old friend Paul Allen. When he was hiring their first manager, he didn't put an ad in the classifieds - he hired a college buddy: Steve Ballmer. It's not nepotism. These guys are all extremely well qualified for doing what they do. And that's really the point. Elite schools concentrate talent into a very small area. When everybody is succeeding it becomes contagious. You're a lawyer looking for a change. Well your old college buddy is now a senator. You shoot him an email and you two get in contact. He knows you, know your competence. That give you an in which then gets you setup with access and glowing recommendations to the lower level organizing and fundraising necessary to get your name out. 'Hahah. You're the lawyer that ole bastard Bill told me about, right? I'll forgive you for that.' Next thing you know you're joining him in congress.

    • (Score: 2) by lx on Friday April 21, @10:24AM (1 child)

      by lx (1915) on Friday April 21, @10:24AM (#497329)

      It's not nepotism.

      Oh but it is. It's insidious.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @11:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @11:05AM (#497346)

        Life is too short and irritating to waste gobs of resources taking a chance on someone I don't know.

        There's nothing insidious about relying on social networks to get shit done—that's what allowed man to dominate the planet Earth.

        Why do you think crap like LinkedIn exists? People instinctively turn to the one heuristic that works really well: The Social Network.

        This is exactly why society must return to the apprenticeship model: Education cannot be separated from experience; education cannot be separated from productive work; education cannot be separated from one's social network. You must build not only your knowledge and your skills, but also your social network.

    • (Score: 2) by eravnrekaree on Friday April 21, @08:03PM

      by eravnrekaree (555) on Friday April 21, @08:03PM (#497563)

      Most of the people who go to elite schools are children of wealthy individuals. Elite schools are just a way to ensure that the children of the elite end up in positions of power. It has little or nothing to do with merit. It is nepotism because it keeps power in the hands of a few elite families. College really isnt about "education", basically, its a racket designed to extract money from you and to in the case of elite colleges, to ensure power stays in the hands of elite families. Everything you learn in college could be learnt more effecitively and for far less money on your own time using a library, and in a much more enjoyable manner since you are not so worried about rote memorization and regurgitation. Rote memorization and regurgitation is not education, its just mindless repitition. In addition, it causes learning to become such a drudgery it causes early burn out and a loss of creativity. Study and learn art, math, science and history on your own time and your own terms and I think for most people I think you will become far better informed, much more interested in it and find it for more enjoyable than college, with all of the tests, grades and rote memorization out of the equation. Rote memorization takes away critical thinking and understanding and really serves no purpose whatsoever except to turn people into dazed, burned out zombies.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @07:48AM (#497300)

    Maybe I am confusing this with an earlier Fine Article, but if a bunch of college drop-outs live together, do, or do not, their cycles come into sync? Seems to have worked with Alex Jones!

  • (Score: 2) by eravnrekaree on Friday April 21, @07:44PM (1 child)

    by eravnrekaree (555) on Friday April 21, @07:44PM (#497554)

    College is a waste of time and money. I've heard all the excuses for it, like it proves you can "do something". However, it's very expensive and costly, and not the only way to do that.By the time you finish with a college degree, you've pretty much been spent and exhausted just with the work and the stress of it. Its basically 4 years of terror and 4 years of the best years of your life blown with simultaneous and agonizing boredom and anxiety . The mindless repetition and rote memorization of anything stamps out the creativity from people. It is like being put through a wringer.

    I am much more in favor of apprenticeship type programs, certificate tests and self study which would be just as good and would cost a fraction of the cost of college and lead to far less exhaustion. With college its basically 4 years of your life gone without doing anything at all productive or close to what you want to do. Its far better and makes better use of peoples time for them to learn while they are doing what they want to do in apprenticeship programs. Life is too short to waste years of it with nonsense.

    Rote memorization is not the same as learning and thinking. I believe too much of it leads to people being lost in a textbook. I think thats why you see so many college graduates run companies into the ground and why there is such a lack of imagination and common sense among them, its been pounded out of them with the years of regurgitation of endless and meaningless data. Look at the software products on the market developed by "professionals", the endless parade of security problems and bugs, the IoT devices that are basically put together by college educated people who lack imagination or a passion for what they do, and are doing it because its a job for which they spent a good sum of money for a college degree for the right to do. So you end up with people that just want to throw it together and don't really have the depth of passion or understanding to really get into making it work right.

    The brilliance of many shareware and open source projects developed by people who never went to college, and the fact they are in case better than propreitary software really speaks volumes about how fruitless college can be and how years of studying things that have absolutely nothing with what you want to do with your life really gains nothing for the person.

    I do think that people should learn and study arts, sciences, music and so on but you can do this in your free time and for a fraction the cost of college with books that are far less expensive than the overpriced college textbooks. And you can actually enjoy it because you are not in a state of panic in trying to rote memorize for the next test.

    The rote memorization and wringer of college in my experience causes premature burn out and a loss of interest and passion in what one is studying. It is such a drudgery that one ends up never wanting to look at or deal with it again and thus when one has to use it in a job, its just job, the lack of passion and interest is not there, and the innovation is lost.

    Apprenticeships and self study can get people into jobs immediately and will allow them to start applying themselves right away avoiding years of wasted life and burnout with the college wringer, for a fraction of the cost.

    Basically, you shouldn't have to subject yourself to the college money extraction and mental abuse racket in order to get yourself a well paying job. We should phase it out and put people into hands on learning experiences with apprenticeships for most of the jobs in our economy.

    My college experience, you see, was years of abject misery that left me depleted, exhausted and burned out, and I would be glad to see college phased out except for a small number of fields like medicine. I could have done without it, and actually ended up using the brain capacity I have for things with real world value, and made better use of my time with hands on learning and apprenticeships. As someone who went to college, I am one of its greatest enemies and we really should look towards apprenticeship alternatives and stop subjecting people to years of this mental and financial abuse.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, @09:59PM (#497622)

      Perhaps you should have taken a course on organizing your thoughts into writing.I kid! I kid!

      The world of education sucks because Government declared itself to be the service provider, and then promptly went about politicizing the process, which ultimately resulted in the separation of education from productive labor.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday April 21, @10:34PM

    I was a dropout for six years. My career during that time was very successful - it's not like completing my physics degree would make me a better programmer.

    The only reason I completed my degree is that I grew weary of being asked why I never graduated in job interviews.

    --
    we have a ... crazy person (MDC), that regularly posts more coherent and interesting things than do these racist trolls
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