May 24, 2009

"Obama's Nixon-Goes-to-China" Opportunity

My new VDARE.com column reviews Charles Murray's recent book Real Education.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good column, but I think that you overestimate the impact of racial disparity on the liberal aversion to tracking and discipline.

Here in Sweden, anti-tracking aversion and anti-discipline hysteria has been ruling the roost ever since the 70-ies. Multiculturalism is a late-comer in these parts when compared to educational Rousseauism.

So, in short, while the "race thing" certainly makes the problems in the US worse, the core problem is likely to be the underlying ideology. Even if all racial issues went away tomorrow in the US, the ruling educational ideology wouldn't yield because of it.

onestdv said...

Didn't that book come out in August? I'm still saving it for a rainy day. It's refreshing to see someone denigrate the Marxist liberals who run the education system.

But will the elites listen? How could the elite get behind a program that will ultimately make their college degrees less worthy of praise. And after all, ANYONE, with a bunch of nice white ladies teaching them, can be an Ivy Leaguer!

onestdv said...

Didn't that book come out in August? I'm still saving it for a rainy day. It's refreshing to see someone denigrate the Marxist liberals who run the education system.

But will the elites listen? How could the elite get behind a program that will ultimately make their college degrees less worthy of praise. And after all, ANYONE, with a bunch of nice white ladies teaching them, can be an Ivy Leaguer!

Anonymous said...

Worse, the opinion-setters angrily castigate those who explain the implications of how they behave when it comes to their own children.

Progress will be made when we realize that there is a master plan.

Kevin said...

I guess we can dream, can't we?

John Cunningham said...

A great article, Steve. Alas, your hope that the Obamassiah would try to implement Murray's views in some way is hopelessly naive. as Chairman N.S. Khruschev once said, "That will happen when shrimp begin to whistle."
Obama cares solely for his own power, and it would require a huge investment in political capital to make even the slightest step in the direction of Murray's views. Thus, there is zero chance that he would risk taking on the entire array of teacher unions, lefty academics, and lamestream media.

Jody said...

Although the President constantly demands that the best teachers be sent to teach the worst students, in his own much-praised teaching career he made sure to teach only some of the most carefully selected elite students in the world: University of Chicago Law students.Rather than view this as a stunning example of hypocrisy, I prefer to view this as an implicit admission by Obama that he thought he was a *really* bad teacher and thus needed to be placed with the best students.

Stopped Clock said...

So is it D) or E)? I think the question is phrased ambiguously since you don't know if the 10 percent increase refers to the 'before' or 'after' figure. I'm going to assume the answer is D, because that's the one that's less intuitive, but I'm not really that surprised that over half of the students got it wrong. It's not a very nice question.

Anonymous said...

"Guess what percentage of 8th graders got this one wrong?"

This brought back some memories. I used to work in the human resources department of a large government agency. None of my co-workers appeared to understand the concept of percentages. When we would get a union raise (4%, for example), they asked me to calculate how much of a dollar increase that would be for them. These were grown women, making $40k-$45k a year. I used to help them out with Windows a lot - most did not understand the concept of the file either. They knew how to open and close a few Word Documents, but copying them, moving them from one place to another, renaming them, attaching them to e-mails they've written - all of that usually required my help.

Eventually a civil service exam was held for our title. All nine of us took the test. I was the only one who passed. I'm not trying to brag here - the test was anything but difficult. If you're reading this blog, you would have passed it too. Our supervisor got a 54.

At first there were rumors that those who failed the test would be replaced by people who passed it. There was some gentle ribbing in my direction. Some even joked that I, the only white guy (and the only guy) in the unit, could some day become supervisor. Once, looking for a case file on a co-worker's desk, I accidentally found a Xeroxed copy of a newspaper article saying that all civil service tests were racially discriminatory. It seems that they passed it around among themselves, but had the tact to not want me to see it.

Of course nothing came of that test. The whole thing was forgotten, as if it never even happened. By now that civil service list has long ago expired, but most of my old co-workers, including the supervisor, are still working where they did then. I eventually transfered out to a different department.

As you might imagine, I read Steve's articles on the Ricci case with some interest.

Some other IQ-related observations:

They all played lotto a lot. For example, they had a superstition that if someone they knew had a kid, the next day everybody had to play the number representing that kid's weight in pounds and ounces. Numbers to be played for this or that reason were discussed every single day.

I used to get a lot of chain e-mails from them that were supposed to bring me luck. You had to think of somebody you loved or pray for someone and then forward the e-mail to a set number of friends for it to have an effect.

They lived from paycheck to paycheck, sometimes asking me for $5 or $10 loans, so they could have lunch the day before payday.

Some had bank accounts and others didn't, but they all participated in a weird scheme where everybody would contribute $100 every payday to a common fund. A primitive lottery was held in which every member was assigned a payday when she could collect the entire group's contributions for that day. The goal was to be lucky and pick an early date out of the hat - then you'd get (let's say) $1,000 up front, and later make 10 spaced-out $100 payments to the common fund. It was a kind of an interest free loan. But of course if you weren't lucky, you would pick one of the later paydays.

When they asked me to participate in this scheme, I declined, stupidly saying that instead I could get interest on my money in a bank. That was a source of many jokes and not a little resentment later on.

Nanonymous said...

An irony: The supposedly uber-egalitarian commies in the USSR had a sense to institute precisely what Murray suggests:

1) There was a system of special schools for gifted which selected students based on entrance exams.

2) Students that did not do well academically were actively encouraged to enter a massive system of trades-oriented schools (brief descriptions here and here).

John Seiler said...

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Seriously, the government schools are beyond reform. The best strategy is to undermine their funding as much as possible. Oppose all taxes to fund them, especially tax increases to pad the teachers' and administrators already fat salaries.

Get your own kids out of the government brainwashing factories and into private or parochial schools, or home-school your kids.

Rich folks should build private schools -- make sure there's no connection to government at all, such as vouchers -- and give scholarships to poor kids and smart kids.

Imagine...if Bill Gates, instead of giving billions to government schools, used his dough to endow as many private schools as he could in Seattle. In a decade the whole government school complex might collapse. That would lead to vast competition among private/parochial schools, reductions in costs, and the return of wasted government-sector money to taxpayers, who could use that to pay for tuition.

Anonymous said...

Steve, wonderful article.

2 points:

1. Obama is not very bright, a follower, and a diversity pimp

2. He lacks imagination

Anonymous said...

"The supposedly uber-egalitarian commies in the USSR had a sense to institute precisely what Murray suggests"

The USSR was only ueber-egalitarian before 1946. After 1946 it became ueber-conservative - family values in print and later on TV, worshiping of classical European culture, nationalism, etc. I love Steve's blog, but I don't think he understands that. He probably imagines that the USSR of 1970 was the same ugly beast as the USSR of 1930.

The Cold War started because Stalin turned conservative after WWII. While he was an actual, civilization-hating left-winger, FDR had no problem with him. A surprisingly small percentage of conservatives get that.

Pouffiassei said...

John Seiler said...
-- and give scholarships to poor kids and smart kids.


Point of order:
Shouldn't true scholarships be given to scholars regardless of there economic status? I hate this creeping Marxism which has cheapened the word. If you want to pay the tuition fees for poor kids couldn't we just call it mendicantships instead?

Truth said...

"The author advocates, modeled on the existing Certified Public Accountants exam, more national certification tests in a wide array of careers. Let students get as much higher education as they need to sit the exam in their chosen career. Then publish their scores for employers to see...."

Great, another brilliant idea bought to you by the Marxist, "Anti-Marxists" otherwise known as race-realists!

Just what we need at this point in time. Another 319 different state supervised agencies, looking over 156 different "crafts" in order to sanction and qualify the applicants for positions. Notice, if you will, the disparity between agencies and crafts. Of course this stems from the quite capitalist meme of someone establishing an accrediting body for ironworkers, and his cousin across town feeling that his test is shit, and starting his own. All of course, backed up by the normal lawsuits, nepotism, backbiting, etc. etc, that always accompanies these things.

The joke, as Nanonymous pointed out, is that the further you people think you are getting from communism, the closer you get to communism. And the closer you get to realizing it, the further you get from realizing it.

I have a revolutionary idea for Charles Murray and all of these Ivy league educated fools that you people drool over, ready:

Why doesn't the owner of the construction company write his own god damned exam as to what he feels will accentuate his business in an ironworker and administer it to applicants himself!?

Revolutionary, I know.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: There is of course the massive exception of his 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, a tome so interminable in length and slippery in style that few have managed to figure out what Obama was talking about... In 1995, Obama became Chairman of the Board of the lavishly funded Chicago Annenberg Challenge, dreamed up by unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers among others, and operation run out of the same floor (perhaps the same office) as Ayers’s Small Learning Community educational project. Years later, a careful study of test scores of students showed that Obama and Ayers had wasted about $100 million.

Steve, you just can't continue to ignore Jack Cashill's ongoing work on this question:

Who Wrote Dreams and Why It Matters
americanthinker.com

Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: Why doesn't the owner of the construction company write his own god damned exam as to what he feels will accentuate his business in an ironworker and administer it to applicants himself!?

Actually, that sounds like a great idea to me.

Do you promise on your honor that you won't sue him if you are offended by the results of this approach?

Anonymous said...

I think of a "Nixon goes to China" moment as a moment where an idiotic Western leader pulls defeat from the jaws of victory. Open up China to the world? Biggest mistake - militarily, economically, culturally - we've ever made.

Richard Hoste said...

Steve you can't resist these kinds of articles, can you?

"Guy X (usually Obama) believes and does everything that is the polar opposite of what I believe. So why doesn't he just all of a sudden wake up one morning and do what I want?"

Was it you who wrote before the election about Obama doing the "Nixon-Goes-to-China" thing and coming out against racial preferences? It might of been a guy at Slate.

By the way, fellow ISteve readers, I've started my own blog which is basically a series of HBD book reviews. I did Spent today and pointed out how Miller supports voluntary segregation while being a little less than honest about the implications of it.

HBD Books

Truth said...

"Do you promise on your honor that you won't sue him if you are offended by the results of this approach?"

Yes Lucius, "I" promise that "I" won't sue. However, take it from a small businessman, lawsuits are part of success. You may get a "discrimination" suit just as well as you may get sued for "reverse discrimination" or someone slipping and falling on a dry floor.

If you totally eliminate this possibilities, we are living in communist China, now aren't we?

testing99 said...

China was going to someone, to Westernize. If it had not been Nixon it would have been, say, Valerie Giscard D'Estaing.

As for the likelihood of Obama abandoning his patronage schemes he's done all his life (see Ayers, Annenberg Challenge) it's about zero.

We're probably already seeing the nascent movements of people using alternative educational stuff.

There's the language instruction from Rosetta Stone Inc. (computer learning). There's the Teaching Company for arts/music/literature/history education. There's University of Phoenix for business skills certification.

Yes, all lack prestige. All lack wide acceptance. None have the prestige or social network that Harvard have. But ... each is far more affordable, convenient, and useful to those paying on their own for specific skills or knowledge than the classical education model in schools not named Harvard.

For High School kids there's the Sylvan Learning Centers. An open admission by parents and the markets that the classical High School Educational system has failed.

What I expect is the "Fex-Ex" experience ... gradually the market will encroach on the failure of public schools with segmented approaches. For Fed-Ex it was air freight. For UPS ground delivery cheaper and faster. I'd expect public schools to be gradually chipped away until all that's left is low-performers.

In other words, if you are bright or merely average, and African American, let alone White, your parent(s) will spend a modest sum to send you to a better, more focused private school with better results.

It will be fought the way Fed-Ex was fought, but with enough market power victory for the private sector is possible.

There is no possibility of reform within the public schools, which exist to create employment for patronage efforts, and little else.

Anonymous said...

stopped clock

A percentage of increase or decrease is always calculated on the number before it changed (the base). This is basic eighth-grade math. You should be embarrassed that you never learned this.

One of the good things about NCLB is that it introduced some basic standards into education. Teachers apparently need to be reminded about what they are supposed to be teaching. If this means teaching to the test, fine--teach to the test. Having people graduate from college without knowing how to calculate a percentage is a ridiculous situation.

Anonymous said...

John Seiler said:

"Imagine...if Bill Gates, instead of giving billions to government schools, used his dough to endow as many private schools as he could in Seattle. In a decade the whole government school complex might collapse."

Imagine... how the Obama administration would punish Microsoft and how the media would rip him a new one. ;-) Gates is paying bribe money to keep the diversycrats off his back so that his business can function.

Chief Seattle said...

To the anonymous poster who took the civil service exam - enjoyed your account. Hope you will continue to post here.

Steve Sailer said...

Chief Seattle writes:

"To the anonymous poster who took the civil service exam - enjoyed your account. Hope you will continue to post here."

Yes, me too.

And my thanks to Chief Seattle, as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not him but I also work for the Federal Governement and am too familiar with most of his observations.
Even today I have to help the women I work with when it comes to creating bookmarks, hyperlinks or embedding files. Spreadsheets and databases? Forget about it!
The classic, though, was a former worker, now retired, who would save her files to a floppy ('A' drive) but never understood why they weren't on her 'C' drive. I explained it a million times but she was always conviced her computer was deleting her documents.

PR

Anonymous said...

"I have a revolutionary idea for Charles Murray and all of these Ivy league educated fools that you people drool over, ready:

Why doesn't the owner of the construction company write his own god damned exam as to what he feels will accentuate his business in an ironworker and administer it to applicants himself!?

Revolutionary, I know."

The idiot Truth troll strikes again. I have seen her before on other blogs.

Yeah, why don't companies test applicants themselves? Uh, because as in the Ricci case, they get sued and they lose, donkey. It's called EEOC and AA. Any test whites, Asians or men do better on, are automatically called racist and discriminatory.

Paranoid Bitchy Incessant Whiner said...

Well I guess my first two posts to this thread got censored.

Dan Kurt said...

re: from Steve Sailer's VD column: "...every child can be anything he or she wants to be. No one really believes it."

Anecdote. Never knew or heard any thing to that effect as a child growing up until I had my one and only interview with a College psychologist early in my freshman year of college during the Fall of 1959. An optional service provided by the college was a counseling session for those students who who believed they needed to be counseled.

I took the offer and met with the bespecticaled Ph.D. psychologist. He had my High School Transcript, an I.Q. test given to me at the college, and the results of some other tests that I took such as the SATs. My perceived problem was that I had no clue as to what I wanted to study and hoped he could point me in the proper direction.

He asked me why I wanted to have the counseling session. I replied with my question as to what should I study and what field would make the best use of my talents.

He closed my folder and led me to his office door saying, "Anything you want. You can do anything you want " as he eased me out into the hall closing the door to his inner office.

I didn't think it was funny at the time.

Dan Kurt

anony-mouse said...

That 8th grade question was culturally biased. I'm sure a lot of the students in America today would be overwhelmed by the concept of 'employees'.

TomV said...

Truth,

Since lawsuits are part of success and you're apparently a successful guy, why don't I sue you for posting glib obfuscations on the web?

Answer: obfuscation is not an actionable claim. Such a lawsuit would not survive a motion to dismiss and, since plaintiff lawyers know this, not even be filed in the first place.

Employment discrimination, by contrast, is not only actionable, but presumed under the Disparate Impact doctrine. Even if the facts are in your favor (under current law, that means you could show "business necessity" -- good luck with that), you might well be compelled to settle to avoid litigation cost in money, time, and nuisance. For the long term, to preempt Disparate Impact strike suits, you would implement a racial hiring quota and perhaps even hire a "diversity officer."

Putting an end to this silliness would not turn this country into Communist China, quite the opposite.

Stopped Clock,

You had 100 widgets yesterday. Today you have 150. What's the percentage increase? If you think there's any ambiguity, just apply the "Huh?" test to each alternative answer that you come up with, and the ambiguity will disappear.

If your comment were on any other blog (especially a liberal one), I would've just scorned and moved on. Since this is iSteve, however, I try to be matter-of-factly helpful. Gee, discrimination really is everywhere, isn't it?

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Gates is paying bribe money to keep the diversycrats off his back so that his business can function.

You know you might think, except that I recall reading about the will of a deceased football team owner (forget the owner, forget the team (the Redskins?)) who left a substantial amount of money to some sort of diversity initiative. Though it may seem obvious to us that diversity is a failure and a danger to the US and that there is high (fixed) IQ disparity by race, there really is a substantial number of very smart, successful true believers out there and our job wouldn't be nearly as hard if that weren't the case.

Bill Gates's foundation now has control of over one-third of his wealth (assuming estimates of his private wealth are accurate). Does he have to pay that much bribe money?

There's the language instruction from Rosetta Stone Inc. (computer learning).

Anyone here have any actual experience with Rosetta Stone and know whether it's any good or not? If so, were you brushing up on a language you had already had some exposure to, or were you learning from scratch?

clem said...

That 8th grade question was culturally biased. I'm sure a lot of the students in America today would be overwhelmed by the concept of 'employees'.

You're right. The question should have read: "There were 90 unionized staff members in a branch of the federal government last year. This year, with a black president in power for the first time in history, the number of staff members increased by 10 percent. How many staff members are in the government this year?"

Free at last!

Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: Yes... However..

How come it can't be just "Yes"?

Anonymous said...

' Chairman N.S. Khruschev once said, "That will happen when shrimp begin to whistle." '

Shrimp DO whistle -- when you throw them into a pot of boiling water. It's metaphor time!

Big Bill said...

The dumb teacher (Obama) and the smart students reminds me of a theater teacher 40 years ago. He was drafted and with his stentorian voice and theater degree was selected to teach Army law to young lawyer recruits.

He remonstrated with the assigning officer in charge that he knew nothing about law, and was told he didn't need to know anything, he was to teach by the book.

He got up his first day, started teaching, and when he was interrupted with a questions, fixed the young lawyer trainee with a sharp glare and told him not to get ahead of the class. The boy meekly shut up, and my theater teacher returned to his outline.

When class left for lunch, he called a for-real JAG guy and asked him the question. The JAG guy told him and my teacher memorized it.

Sometime in the afternoon session, he woudl turn to the student, and say as a breezy aside as thought it just came to him, "which reminds me, by the way, the answer to your question is [blah, blah]."

He was able to teach an entire Army law course without any legal training, knowledge or experience.

The PK said...

Dan Kurt: "He closed my folder and led me to his office door saying, "Anything you want. You can do anything you want " as he eased me out into the hall closing the door to his inner office."

I really hate "guidance counselors". My father (a minister) took an aptitude test in his mid-50s to see what he might enjoy doing instead of preaching.

They told him that 89% of the people who scored as he did and took up engineering reported they were very satisfied with their careers.

All of a sudden his pleasure in car engine rebuilding, programming a TRS-80 to manage his church (in 1979), cabin building, plumbing work and municipal swimming pool maintenance made sense.

He wished he had taken those tests forty years before when he was 15, but they too said "he could do anything". He just wouldn't be happy about it or particularly good at it.

Please, parents, there are tests available (for a modest price) that can give your kids some intelligent guidance for the future, to show them what could be both financially promising and pleasurable for them to do.

Mercer said...

I have not read Murray's book but I think it strange to propose the CPA exam as a model. To take the CPA exam you have to have four or five years of college- it depends on the state. Does he mention this?

It would make more sense if he proposed something similar to the various IT Certifications like MCSE and CNE. I don't think any college is required to take these tests. Does he mention any of the IT certifications in his book?

I agree that is a waste of the country's resources that a college degree is required for so many jobs. I think all a degree proves is that someone can sit at a desk for four years.

Bob said...

The prospect of high-quality public education is what keeps smart people of limited means reproducing.

Dumb people don't think this far ahead and will have children no matter what.

Steve understands, from his posts about suburban Chicago and San Gabriel Valley schools, that upper-middle class suburbs are extremely proud and protective of their public schools. You see the same thing in most small town and rural districts.

Getting rid of public education is a dumb and unachievable goal. The better move is to break up school districts, oppose income-based state funding of school districts, and oppose low-cost residential development in your own school district.

Big Bill said...

Re: Anonymous on Sweden's "anti-tracking" mindset:

See Paulo Freire and his "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" - no teachers, no students, all learn from each other - group learning at tables - smart kids teach the dumb ones at the table and they share a common grade - helps the smart kids develop social solidarity with the dummies.

Freire is the messiah for progressive teachers. He is taught as gospel in every teacher's college.

Freire teaches that school is all about consciousness raising, solidarity and bringing social change to societies, and not about re-creating and continuing the culture you are born in wit hthe next generation.

Steve Biko loved Freire and helped shut down the Black South African schools during apartheid, turning all those young black boys loose to toyi-toyi and necklace the township residents the ANC did not like instead of learning to read and count.

Read www.zasucks.com regularly to see what kind of "culture" and "society" it produces and what is in store for us as we are increasingly unable to feed the black and brown population.

Mr. Anon said...

"The PK said...
I really hate "guidance counselors". My father (a minister) took an aptitude test in his mid-50s to see what he might enjoy doing instead of preaching."

Guidance Counselor - a person whose judgement is so poor, that the best career he could manage for himself is guidance counselor.

Anonymous said...

I also worked for the federal government. Where I worked, about 80% of the staff were useless, incompetent bureaucrats. It was basically impossible for anyone to get fired. Everyone intentionally inflated their budgets, paying exorbitant fees to contractors and buying superfluous equipment.

It is truly amazing how, when you remove all incentives toward productivity, inefficiency is not merely ignored but actively encouraged.

Anonymous said...

5.20.09
The NBC pundits are dead wrong again. This is not the bottom of the recession. Its not the beginning of a true recovery. Its only a brief period of optimism or the beginning of that short and shallow revival. There will be some positive signs over the next year or so amoung the negative. But they will not lead to a true recovery. Our leaders may claim to end the recession in 2010. If that claim is made, it will be based only on that short and shallow (printed) revival. It absolutely will not last. I stand by my predictions made earlier this year. Obama's efforts are revolutionary but they are too little too late. He will have no choice but to acknowledge a severe US depression by the end of his first term or shortly thereafter. Every major economy in the world will be in depression by 2015.

The NBC pundits (Chatzky and Wong) are bound and determined (paid) to plug their coorporate sponsors and perpetuate the 'multiple credit card' lifestyle. Their claim is that you need more than one to build reasonable credit, finance a home, and be relatively secure financially. THAT IS ANOTHER FLAT-OUT LIE. The industry is simply too corrupt and predatory to deal with. It has been for at least 20 years. The use of 'multiple credit cards' is simply too risky, addictive, complicated (check that fine print), and ultimately expensive. In the vast, overwhelming majority of cases, the 'multiple credit card' user has ended up further in debt year after year after year. Their credit was built to some extent on a temporary basis and their ability to repay loans was diminished gradually right along with their bottom line. They ended up paying as much or more in finance charges as they did on principal. That is OBSCENE. Now, their net worth is way down. Their ability to get out of debt f#$&@#. That 'credit' didn't get them anything but F#$#@#. Still, those NBC pundits (liars) have the nerve to perpetuate that 'multiple credit card' lifestyle as if it were ever legit or necessary to begin with. It wasn't. Until two years ago, one could have built reasonable credit with a stable income, a checking account, a savings account, one secured credit card, one loan for a used car, one loan for a new car, and a reasonable downpayment. Until recently, that was enough credit to get a first home loan. Now, the economic boom is OVER. The majority are F#$&@#. Its only going to get worse. A LOT WORSE. The window for ordinary (decent) people to stake their rightful claim is closing fast. They better get out of debt soon and well prepared for the comming US/global depression. It will be catastrophic. Under these circumstances, it is downright reckless and irresponsible to promote more use of credit cards. Only a calculated PIG with an ulterior motive would have the nerve. The 'multiple credit card' lifestyle wasn't the only cause of this economic crisis but it was a contributing factor. Another vehicle amoung many to transfer wealth from poor to rich. Which again, is the single greatest underlying cause. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL.

The White Detroiter said...

Murray's arguement for certification tests replacing college degrees is highly appealing to me but unfortunately many jobs may still require a degree even if a widely respected certification test is available.

He uses the CPA Exam as a good model. As someone who became a CPA a few years ago, I agree that the CPA Exam is a lengthy and rigorous exam that demonstrates strong knowledge and accounting skills. However, despite the fact that the Exam has been around for roughly 90 years, starting in the 1990's almost all 50 state licensing boards made earning 150 college credit hours a requirement for getting licensed as a CPA. Since a bachelor's degree usally requires 120-127 credits, this forces students to take at least another years worth of courses.

It also delays aspiring public accountants from working full-time at public accounting firms. I tried getting a public accounting job after earning a bachelor's degree but few companies would give me even a 20-minute initial interview (Luckily I already had a full-time job in the accounting department of a local company). Most firms explcitly state that they only want candidates who have finished their 150 hours. A year later after completing the hours (and the CPA Exam) I was being taken to expensive restaurants by lots of firms for easy interviews. The extra year of schooling really didn't do much to better prepare me for a career in public accounting though. I wish I could have gotten full-time work experience a year sooner. It would be a shame if more professions followed public accounting's lead by requiring more and more school.

Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing how, when you remove all incentives toward productivity, inefficiency is not merely ignored but actively encouraged.

Oh but they are efficient. Efficient at passing tax payers money along to their relatives and friends!

Anonymous said...

"Everyone intentionally inflated their budgets, paying exorbitant fees to contractors and buying superfluous equipment."

Responsible bureaucrats (1) inflate their budgets and (2) hire high-priced contractors.

1. Budget cuts, when they come, are typically straight across-the-board. They are never done intelligently. Never. So, organizations that run a tight ship will be paralyzed (and their best employees will leave), because they have no fat to cut. Organizations that have prudently built up some surplus capacity in the good times can accept cuts and still perform.

2. Consultants can be expensive, but they are cheaper than mediocre employers because they are competent and they go away when they're no longer needed.

These practices are grossly inefficient, yes, but they may (sometimes!) enable and organization to be effective. Effectiveness before efficiency.

ip

Anonymous said...

"He closed my folder and led me to his office door saying, "Anything you want. You can do anything you want " as he eased me out into the hall closing the door to his inner office."

I really hate "guidance counselors"

Like my guidance counselor at gigantic State U 20 years ago. Here was a 17 year old, not very well educated or sophisticated, in the 95% SAT verbal with low math scores.

They give me a Chinese physics professor who can barely speak English. He takes one look at the scores and signs me up for Humanities instead of Western Civ. No clue on his part how, culturally, I might be unready to put Boccachio's "Decameron" in it's proper context.

No wonder white boys are staying away from higher ed in droves.

Truth said...

"Employment discrimination, by contrast, is not only actionable, but presumed under the Disparate Impact doctrine."

I'll tell you what Tommy, why don't you take a couple of hours off on Saturday to do a little social experiment; go to your local home depot, K-Mart and Wal-Mart to apply for a job, and see if any of them give you a qualification test. If they do, you can spend the rest of your life wondering how these businesses stay solvent despite the flood of discrimination lawsuits

Lucius Vorenus said...

Jesus T-F-ing Christ, the LIFO stack sure did go spastic on this thread.

My head is kinda swimming right now.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to ask a question. The French education system, which I'm told is tracked, is generally considered more rigorous than the American version. Similar versions are true in East Asia, where in some countries Calculus is pushed out by the 9th year of schooling.

Let's leave out the distribution of intelligence of various ethnicities for once, and instead let's just consider France. According to various IQ estimates, the sons and daughters of Al-Khwarizmi rank at 80 to 90 some average IQ, which would be considered mentally retarded in the United States. How do they fair in French schooling?

silver said...

Captain Jack,

Anyone here have any actual experience with Rosetta Stone and know whether it's any good or not? If so, were you brushing up on a language you had already had some exposure to, or were you learning from scratch?I used it a bit starting out with Spanish. Way too slow for my liking. And the end of the day it just teaches you vocab. Far better off getting some word lists and just sitting there memorizing them, day after day until you've built yourself up. Then get stuck into drilling grammar exercises.

Programs like "Destinos" for Spanish or "French In Action" for French are vastly superior. The beauty of these is it's the language as spoken in real life, just slowed down so that you can more easily attune your ear to it. Get yourself a minimal vocab list of 20 verbs, learn their conjugations, learn some 20 adjectives and about 100 nouns under your belt and learn a bit about the grammar and then throw yourself into one of these programs. They're available for free at learner.org

I knew this Brazilian guy (well, Italian/Hungarian from Brazil) who had mastered some ten languages. I met him while living in Thailand at session of pick up basketball with an international cast. This guy was speaking fluent French to a Frenchie, Spanish to this Puerto Rican guy and Danish to a Dane and me in a Greek so fluent I had no hope of following along. He's lived in all the countries whose languages he speaks but he says he began studying them all before he went. He says the trick is to start out just listening to a language, for hours and hours. You won't understand a single thing, but you'll eventually be able to make out where one words finishes and another starts. (Obviously learning something of the vocabulary aids you in recognizing the "shape" of the words.) He claimed he never bothered going further with a language until he reached that point.

With Spanish, all I've done is go through Destinos, read a lot of Spanish language media, and watched long hours of telenovelas. I've never had a real life conversation in Spanish with anyone but I managed to put together this, which was enough to fool a native speaker into thinking I knew my stuff.

Anonymous said...

"I'll tell you what Tommy, why don't you take a couple of hours off on Saturday to do a little social experiment; go to your local home depot, K-Mart and Wal-Mart to apply for a job, and see if any of them give you a qualification test."

I'll tell you what, Truth, if you throw out any more awesome non sequiturs like that, I promise I'll become a leftist for you. Cause that was awesome. Deal?

Anonymous said...

Silver - and me in a Greek so fluent I had no hope of following along.

Do Asians, sorry, I mean Serbs like you normally speak Greek?