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“Are Too Many People Going to College?” by Charles Murray

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Dominik Bier

on 27 October 2016

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Transcript of “Are Too Many People Going to College?” by Charles Murray

Are we forced to go to college?
How well are teens prepared for college? (financially and mentally)
Are there other options?
E.D. Hirsch Jr’s Argument
Discussion Questions
What are some difficulties about going to college?

Can you think of successful people who don’t have a degree?

Why do you think people drop out and still become wealthy?

In what ways does society pressure young people to get a degree and is this a harmful practice?
Group Project:
Rhetorical Analysis

“Are Too Many People Going to College?” by Charles Murray
By: Romao Algarin, Dominik Bier, Anna Blanchette, Lindsay Hoffman, Marykate O’Brien

Murray starts the essay with an excerpt:
written by someone who believes that we should not even ask the question, “are too many people going to college?”
This person says more people should be going to college
It’s called a liberal education after all
Murray refers to E.D. Hirsch Jr’s argument, which states that:

To be fully engaged in a culture, you must be familiar with the body of core knowledge
talks about the different types of literacies besides language literacy, such as cultural, scientific, geographic literacy, etc
The body of core knowledge holds the culture together
America is made up of immigrants, and sharing this core knowledge strengthens our identity as unified Americans
K-8 are years which the core knowledge should be learned
Kids at this age learn with enthusiasm and enjoyment
Murray’s Argument
Uses an anecdote to show that ability level and enjoyment level correspond with each other
The more capable of an activity a student is, the more he/she will enjoy it

Many 18 year olds may meet the minimum ability level to get into college, but they shouldn’t be going
Colleges accept too many people that don’t possess the ability to succeed in the courses resulting in dropouts
Believes that 4 years of class work is too much for many careers and that the internet makes the “four-year brick-and-mortar residential college” obsolete
Murray proposes 3 counterarguments for why this type of education works, and then argues why the invention of the internet makes all these features obsolete
Murray’s Argument - Money
It is said that people with a BA earn more money on average than those without a BA
but Murray states that getting a degree for that fact can be the wrong economic decision for many
Many people would make much more when their interests and abilities could put them at the top of the income distribution for jobs not requiring a degree.
If these people choose to earn a degree for a supposedly higher earning job rather than something they are skilled at, then they could come out on the bottom of the income distribution for that job.
The essay uses the example of a young man who would be a great electrician based on his abilities and interests, but he is considering going to college to become a manager
He could make more money at the top of the income distribution for electricians ($70k a year) than at the bottom of the income distribution for managers ($38k a year)
Top 5 most successful college dropouts
Start at 1:28
Murray’s Argument - Intrinsic Rewards and American Society
Intrinsic reward - An outcome that gives an individual personal satisfaction such as that derived from a job well done.
Everyone enjoys being good at what they do for a living, not being mediocre
American society has turned the BA degree into a symbol of first-class citizenship

Sends message that young people should aspire to go to college no matter what
Adolescents have misaligned ambitions as a result of this, their career goals are too optimistic
Thank you
for your
Full transcript