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No disagreement here on anything you've written.  Empty credentialism has become the hallmark of US education.  Engineering and health sciences have managed to resist, but social "sciences" are a joke, law is a sick joke, and education is an obscenity.  Even if you look outside traditional education, e.g. technical training for skilled trades, all it amounts to is jumping through hoops to get a piece of paper; it doesn't mean they can do the job or that their knowledge isn't sadly outdated.

I too am abundantly overqualified to teach certain subjects, but in the US you can't even substitute teach without a teaching certificate.  You can be a 22-year-old moron who isn't even registered to vote and still be allowed to teach American Government if you have that certificate.  On the other hand, you can have been in law and politics for 30 years, but they won't let you anywhere near a classroom without that certificate.

What to do?  First thing, let's kill all the education colleges.  Their societal negative ROI can be matched only by law schools.  Second, there should be no education degrees.  Teachers, including elementary school teachers, should get degrees in substantive fields.  "But we're generalists," whine the elementary teachers.  Tough.  If you haven't mastered enough math to teach sixth grade, you're dumber than a sack of hair and should go herd cats for a living.

Third, beat human resources "professionals" with ax handles until they agree to stop using credentials as a substitute for knowledge.  "But we need precise credentials to match the precise requirements of our precise job descriptions," whine the SHRM-bots.  Yeah, right.  All those things are about as precise as the bisecting line of a sneeze.  It's no wonder the economy is crap; you've turned our training and personnel systems into garbage in-garbage out.  Do your jobs, flush credentialism, and come up with something real.  Real data, even with broad margins of error, are better than falsely precise data.  Or meaningless data.

Finally, we need to stop treating for-profit schools as if they were for anything other than profit.  This can be done in one step, namely allowing students to bankrupt out of the loans these places had them take out.  Cut off that cash cow, and these boiler room operations will dry up and blow away.  That would also go along way toward taking care of point 3 above, as HR departments would no longer have lines of well-credentialed zombies for every position.

by rifek on Thu Feb 6th, 2014 at 01:44:03 PM EST
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