Credentialism, Corporate Education, and National Security

My friend Selil has a good but somewhat overwrought piece up, titled “The industrial devolution and disenfranchised knowledge worker.” After a hyperbolic opening, Selil proceeds to make several good points, including:

  • “Credentialism,” and over-focus of degrees, burdens student with extra educational costs.
  • “Corporations have abandoned the education and apprenticeship models outsourcing their educational needs”
  • The harm this does injures are national security.

Selil’s points are fair, but I feel his post is more an expression of anger at injustice from someone in the system, rather thana disappointe analysis of it.

“Credentialism” is obviously inefficient. Credentialism is also necessary, considering Supreme Court rulings. It would be more efficient to give employees intelligence tests, if you wanted to weed out, say, the bottom third of candidates. But a company can’t do that, because it is racist. If you want a more efficent system that’s kinder to students, allow companies to measure intelligence using tests, and just accept that such tests will prevent a disprortionate number of certain racial minorities from employment in this jobs.

Selil is correct that companies have “outsourced” educational needs to educational institutions (this is part of the breakdown of the American micro-welfare state system, with “jobs for life” and the rest of that post-war consensus stuff). But Selil is wrong that apprecenticeships have been outsourced. Indeed, I would imagine that companies spend more on “apprenticeshpis” (lowered productivity due to ramping-up new workers) than ever in the past.

Selil also worries that our educational system injures our national security. I agree. As I’ve said before, “our broken education system means that our critical infrastructure is run by Chinese (and Indians, and Russians, and other foreign nationals). I hope we can fix it.