13 February 2009

Is A Four-Year Degree Really Necessary?

"As steadily as ivy creeps up the walls of its well-groomed campuses, the *education industrial complex has cultivated the image of college as a sure-fire path to a life of social and economic privilege. Joel Kellum says he's living proof that the claim is a lie . . ."

*(Don't you just love that phrase?)

We often here big government types along with academics preach that the way to success salvation is through "institutions of higher learning." Of course, its important to point out that both government and academia benefit financially from that notion, so their proclamations should be viewed with the same skepticism as a used car salesman's pitch. More and more folks are finding out that the traditional path to a college degree, or other advanced training, often leads to a dead end.

Story here.

Also, if its an accredited 4 year degree that you really want, you can obtain one without the culture-rot being force fed you and at a much lesser cost by going this route. Please don't misunderstand me here. No one is more in favor of learning everything we can than I am. I read constantly and attend professional and history seminars several times a year. And there is certainly a place for a traditional degree--which still may be the best route for some--but other options should be considered in many instances.

John Stossel recently had a segment on this issue:


Crystal Marshall said...

Mr. Williams,

My dad receives Forbes magazine and I actually just read this article a few days ago. Just recently I, too, was under the illusion that I needed at least a master's in education degree if I wanted to become a teacher. However, in talking with actual teachers, I have been saved from wasting time and money on needless education courses; as one teacher told me, "Ed-school classes tend to be trendy, theoretical, jargon-laden, and profoundly uninteresting". I also have had other teachers advise me that the best way to learn how to teach is to actually just teach, and keep up with important developments in education through my own reading and research. It is rather freeing, in a way, to know what I have been saved from :0)

Although I personally will not be following the CollegePlus option, I have a couple friends who are involved in it and have benefited from it immensely. So-called "real" academics may look down upon it, but I think that this is the direction in which higher education is headed, due to growing cynicism towards the universities' half-truth marketing of the necessity of a degree, and also because today's students are willing to use technology and distance learning to save time and money.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Crystal for sharing your views and experiences. I think you are right on the money! BTW, my oldest daughter obtained her teaching/history degree through Mary Baldwin College's adult degree program. She homeschools her 4 daughters full time now, but may pursue something in education once the girls are out of school.

Arthur B. Breedlove said...

This post really hit home for me as a graduate from a four year institute. I know now that I am not alone. I have also found that a degree might actually also be a hindrance for promotions if your boss has a bias against college graduates. I felt like my last employer categorized me as a person with book smarts rather than someone with real world experience. I never thought that the two had to be mutually exclusive. To think that I endured four years of left-wing rants for this! I now wish that I had pursued a technical degree instead.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


I attended one semester at a local community college with the intent of eventually going to law school. (God, please forgive me.)

The rest of my schooling has been technical - paralegal and legal training, financial services, etc. I hold a professional designation in the financial services field.

And I read a lot (too much according to my wife.) Yet with what would appear to be a somewhat limited education, I've authored 3 books, produced 2 well-received history related films, been published in a number of national publications and received several awards for my work. (Gee, just think what I might have done with a REAL education.)

All that to illustrate that one does not need a degree to experience "success" - even in fields where degrees are typically "required." I'm blessed and am very thankful for God's goodness.

All that being said, I do plan to get a degree at some point, just to see if I can do it the "non-traditional" (CLEP) way and because I would like to teach in a Christian school at some point in my latter years - assuming I make it to my latter years.

Arthur B. Breedlove said...

Mr. Williams:

A very interesting and inspiring story that you have, sir. I have also contemplated a career in paralegal studies and have thought about authoring a book. I guess I always thought you needed a PhD in order to publish a scholarly work. I haven't read any of your books as of yet. I did however, enjoy your "Still Standing" documentary, and passed it around to my friends in the SCV.

The job market is such that I have resorted to seeking employment overseas. I returned from Kosovo several months ago and am preparing to leave again soon for another job overseas.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Thanks for the kind words, though I would not classify my Stonewall book "scholarly." It is heavily footnoted, nonetheless. It was good enough that the Nation's preeminent CW historian, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., wrote the foreword. That's good enough for me.

I hope your job situation improves.