Our Education System: A Big Waste of Time and Money?

Bryan Caplan thinks so. Writing as an academic to whom "the education system has been quite good" I suspect his book-in-progress will be even more provocative. I’ve said before that our public education system today is one giant trainwreck. Practical or not, it’s still fun to debate "big ideas" and giant reform around education. I look forward to what Bryan prescribes. From his page one:

[T]hree decades of experience, combined with two decades of reading and reflection, have convinced me that our educational system is a big waste of time and money. Practically every politician vows to spend more on education, and as an insider, I can’t helping asking "Why? Do you want us to waste even more?"

Most people who criticize our education system complain that we aren’t spending our money in the right way, or that ideologues-in-teachers’-clothes are leading our nation’s children down a dark path. While I mildly sympathize with some of these complaints, they often contradict what I see as the real problem with our educational system: There’s simply far too much education going on. The typical student burns up thousands of hours of his time learning about things that neither raise his productivity nor enrich his life. And of course, a student can’t waste thousands of hours of his time without real estate to do it in, or experts to show him how.

3 comments on “Our Education System: A Big Waste of Time and Money?
  • Several years ago my former soccer coach self-published a great and rather provocative book on this topic called The Eden Conspiracy. My school district back in Georgia has been experimenting with his ideas, though I don’t know the results.

    Aside from being my soccer coach, his other qualification is he’s an expert in instructional design. His company used to do things like design systems for teaching astronauts how to fly the Space Shuttle.


    It certainly paid off for him. He lives in the biggest, most historic house in town. 🙂 He was also a great soccer coach despite never having played the game himself. He just knew how to teach and motivate.

  • When I scrolled down Bryan’s article, I found this very intuitive comment by a reader (Brad Hutchings) –

    “how can two parents have two careers and a big house, an Escalade, a Benz, a couple dogs, and a timeshare in Tahoe if there is nowhere to put the kids during the day ? ;-)”

    The smiley denotes the comment made in a lighter vein, but I think it makes a valid point.

    Perhaps it’s time that our Governments acknowledge the need for revamping our educational system perpetuated by parental convenience as against an individual’s necessity to acquire knowledge in a chosen field of enquiry, in a way (s)he thinks best. This would also help deflect too much of subjective knowledge clouding mindspace leaving room for storing more of what (s)he thinks (s)he actually needs (objective knowledge).

    There is too much of education around, but little learning that happens. I can see it everywhere. Especially when Ivy League B-School graduates come with their 7 figure package think up stupid ideas and call them `strategy’, it’s all too evident.

  • Actually education system is not strongly focusing the needs of student rather their own. That’s the fault currently found but so pathetic if students wants to be someone in their future then they must select a proper coaching that will develop them not physically but mental emotionally and spiritually also.

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