In his controversial new book, The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money, economist Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of American education is not to enhance students' actual skill but to signal and certify the qualities of a good, conformist employee. RealClearBooks recently interviewed Caplan about the rise of credentialism, useless degrees, and why we need to rethink our entire approach to education.
RealClearBooks: What was your goal in writing The Case Against Education?
Bryan Caplan: My goal in writing the case against education was to explain what I really think is going in what is a really puzzling industry. There are stories about who’s training people for the jobs of the future, and then you look what is going and it’s like – most of what’s being taught is so irrelevant to any child past, present, or future. You have to really wonder what the point is. And yet, you see that people with more degrees are making more money. So, bringing it all together I try to come up with a story and defend it that I think makes the most sense.