Lion of the Blogosphere

How to end the hegemony of elite schools

Some libertarian types blame it all on government. “If only Griggs v. Duke Power Co. were reversed, then businesses would hire on objective tests instead of college degrees.” People who say that never even bothered to read the opinion. The opinion stated that using a high school degree as a hiring requirement was discrimination because it had a disparate impact on blacks. The exact same reasoning could be applied to college degrees. “On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.” (Source.)

Why hasn’t any employer (as far as I know) ever been sued for requiring a college degree? Because everyone “knows” that college degrees are really really important. Worship of credentials is baked into society, and has infiltrated the big corporations as much as it has infiltrated liberal lawyers.

If you want to see real change, it is only going to come from government. The federal government must establish a set of achievement tests that are alternatives to college degrees. Then for starters, the government would hire based only on how well applicants scored on relevant achievement tests and disregard whether they have a college degree. The more advanced use of achievement tests would be for the government to pass civil rights laws which make it illegal for business to favor college credentials over the achievement tests, on the grounds that college credentials discriminate against the economically disadvantaged. (On the other hand, it will never be a ground that achievement tests will benefit blacks, because blacks will do poorly on achievement tests compared to whites because of lower black average IQ.)

Those people who hate Asians may dislike this approach because they think it would disproportionately benefit Asians who do better on tests than other races. However this is only a temporary phenomenon that tests benefit Asians more than college credentials. Asians immigrants don’t understand how our society works, but they are as motivated as the Jews were to figure it out. And in the future, we will probably see a lot more Asian activism in pursuing legal action against those elite colleges that discriminate against Asians solely because of their race.

Ironically, colleges began emphasizing non-scholastic and non-test admissions criteria like sports, participation in philanthropy, “leadership,” etc, because they thought it benefited WASPs at the expense of Jews who were stereotyped as bookish nerds who were not well rounded. But the Jews learned how to adapt, and now Jewish kids’ college applications are full of sports, philanthropy and leadership activities just like WASP kids used to be. Yes, I agree that people in prole areas of the country, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, are consequently disadvantaged in admission to elite college because they don’t understand the rules; neither their parents nor their public school teachers understand the rules. On the other hand, elite colleges seek geographic diversity (the last thing they want is yet ANOTHER kid from the New York metropolitan area), so kids in flyover country who have parents or teachers who know the rules and guide them properly have a big advantage over kids from the New York metropolitan area.

For that matter, I personally was disadvantaged because my prole parents didn’t know the rules. (This idea that all Jews know the rules are false. Prole Jews are just as clueless as prole gentiles.) I may very well have gone to Harvard or Princeton if I had parents who knew the rules and guided me better.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 29, 2017 at 9:34 AM

Posted in Education

26 Responses

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  1. “Then for starters, the government would hire based only on how well applicants scored on relevant achievement tests ”

    You mean something like the old civil service exam Carter discarded? Probably to allow more black employment in DC.


    December 29, 2017 at 11:19 AM

  2. A two-fer here:

    Check out what Reality sez about college degrees.

    I find her kind of endearing. And BTW she is NOT Jewish, that was an alt-right rumor, but to the alt-right, everyone is Jewish. I wonder if they accuse each other of being Jewish.


    December 29, 2017 at 11:23 AM

  3. i am unconvinced that “elite schools” really have that much hegemony, more they just have elite students. control for all the socioeconomic, psychometric and academic variables, as well as major, and compare them to equivalent students in non-elite schools. i bet there barely any difference in outcomes when this is done. in australia not only is this the case often students in “elite schools” actually have worse employment outcomes than equivalent students in less highly rated schools.

    james n .s.w

    December 29, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    • I’ve heard people describe Australia as the polar opposite of the US. A country where people just go to their local state school and don’t obsess over it at all.


      December 29, 2017 at 4:00 PM

      • Nothing high tech has come out of Australia. Not that it’s a bad place to live, but a lot more cool tech and cool other stuff comes from Scandinavia than Australia.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 29, 2017 at 4:07 PM

    • There are no state schools in Australia, there are universities and some of them are more prestigious than others. It is true though that most people will go to a university within their state since there is no point going to another state, the good or bad universities in each state have more or less the same reputation and there are only 5 main cities where most of the population live anyway.
      The reason nothing cool came out of Australia is that the Australian economy is resources based, 50% of the export is mining and agriculture. Also I think weather, distance and bad internet infrastructure got to do something with it, it is more cultural than something to do with education or existence of ivy league.


      December 29, 2017 at 7:32 PM

      • australians have not invented much it’s true. many modern innovations are collaboration based though rather than just made by one guy tinkering in a basement. in this sense australians were part of the development of the cochlear implant (cohclear is an australian company), wifi and penicillin.

        yeah people dont care where they go to college here but even in america i am sure what i am saying is mostly true as well.

        james n .s.w

        December 29, 2017 at 10:42 PM

  4. Credentialism is especially bad for women because it leads to childlessness.

    JW Bell

    December 29, 2017 at 12:32 PM

  5. You also have to make it illegal to hire based on connections. A lot of the benefit from going to elite schools comes from the connections you make.


    December 29, 2017 at 12:42 PM

    • I can just imaging Lion’s brilliant response to this, talking about how he didn’t make any friends at Penn, so therefore no one did. Or how he did make friends but they were all losers so, umm, whatever.


      December 29, 2017 at 12:44 PM

  6. I may very well have gone to Harvard or Princeton if I had parents who knew the rules and guided me better.

    Same here. My parents expected me to work crappy jobs starting at 13 y/o and were fine with me spending money on dirtbikes and fixing up cars. As long as I got good grades and stayed out of trouble. I barely knew what the SAT was until the day before the test. As long as I didn’t enlist in the military or take up a trade, any college and any major was fine. Heck, my (divorced) parents even thought it was impressive that I enrolled in the night program at a toilet law school; wasting one year and $5000.

    Oh well, like I posted the other day, I still made myself financially secure; oh, but what could have been.

    E. Rekshun

    December 29, 2017 at 1:16 PM

  7. Don’t college degrees reflect an average SAT score, which is the type of standardized test you like?


    December 29, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    • The SAT is a great test, but the College Board doesn’t certify SAT scores for employers, so it’s not useful as an employment test because employers can’t verify it.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 29, 2017 at 3:52 PM

      • Yes but colleges do, and a college has an average sat score that employers could know.


        December 29, 2017 at 4:11 PM

      • I’m told there is a trend where colleges put the SAT on the transcript.


        December 30, 2017 at 12:37 PM

      • I was not aware of that trend, but if true it would be a really good thing.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 30, 2017 at 1:21 PM

    • And if employers only care about the SAT score than why funnel the $200,000 to the prestigious brand name school?


      December 29, 2017 at 3:58 PM

      • I have not encountered employers who care about SAT scores.

        But yes, the point of my post is to create something more objective for employers to care about besides $200,000 degrees, but that doesn’t have the stigma of being an IQ test or an “aptitude” test, but rather an achievement test or an acquired skills and knowledge test.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 29, 2017 at 4:05 PM

  8. Jimmy Carter abolished exam system for federal government jobs by executive order. Now new employees are hired based on their credentials (college degrees).

    Trump can easily reverse this executive order and implement hiring by exams. This was high school grads and kids with mediocre college degrees can get good government jobs.

    It will also make corporations feel more comfortable switching to exams.


    December 29, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    • This is a GREAT idea!

      OK… looking this up on Google. There was a lawsuit by civil rights groups because only 5% of blacks but 42% of whites passed the tests. Carter instructed DOJ not to defend the lawsuits. A liberal judge approved a settlement to stop using the test. Reagan didn’t do anything to reverse it.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 29, 2017 at 4:10 PM

      • Yes, and sorely needed in my workplace. Whoever thought that employers would be good at identifying talent without a test? Now at lower tier employers we have the problem of people saying that colleges don’t matter, and so a terrible school is as good as a great one, even though that’s not the case, Lion’s points notwithstanding.


        December 29, 2017 at 4:13 PM

  9. How do the top California schools get perceived on the east coast? Stanford is considered equivalent with HYP here, while Berkely and UCLA get perceived as better schools than the non-HYP ivy league. Of course as big as California is there are a lot more jobs on the east coast.


    December 29, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    • I scored 720 on the GMAT and had excellent professional work experience but didn’t get into Stanford Graduate School of Business. Ended up going to a Top 50 MBA program at a large public university on half scholarship, but my career never really took off.

      E. Rekshun

      December 29, 2017 at 6:09 PM

  10. Lion, how is your vacation going? A lot of fabulous posts from you lately.

    RE: “The federal government must establish a set of achievement tests that are alternatives to college degrees.”

    FYI the Libertarians proposed that years ago, and actually got it to the point that USNY had a one weekend test that cost ~$100 and you got your multi-major B.A. in the ’70’s. Then the people championing it moved on/died out and now we have ‘free’ degrees in NY the most expensive way possible.

    There’re more libertarians today so they’re discussing an initiative to be offered in Florida for AA to PhD by exam/thesis supported by lottery/voluntary endowment.


    December 30, 2017 at 12:34 PM

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