E 130 First-Year Writing
13 September 2018
Summary of Charles Murray’s “Are Too Many People Going to College?”
If someone graduated from a great university that may be an indication they could do great things but that is not always the case. In the article, “Are Too Many People Going to College?” Author, Charles Murray specifically argues there are too many people going to college. “The student should have already learned what they should learn in college and it might not be necessary for them to go to college.” Charles Murray has a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard and a BA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Political scientist, author and librarian. His most famous books are “Coming Apart” and “The Bell Curve.”
Murray begins his article by providing evidence that there are too many people going to college. Three resources Murray emphasizes is the chat rooms, online classes, google showing that information is everywhere. He says, “Google is able to scan the entire text of every book in the libraries of Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Oxford, NY Public Library and many more books from famous libraries.” Murray emphasizes that you do not need the college libraries or textbooks because, “… close to the sum of total of human knowledge, it will be completely searchable.” Murray explains the technology and how the technology business is growing, “Some people prefer to be face to face while for those who don’t, the value of being on a college campus instead of on a mountain top in Montana is nil.” Murray states that the possibility to learn long distance is way higher now because of the technology that has been created. “…podcasts and streaming videos in real time of professors’ lectures, online discussions among students scattered around the country, online interaction between students and professors, online exams, and tutorials augmented by computer-aided software.” The classroom being virtual is more common in today’s world, than the brick-and-mortar classroom according to Murray.
Most students go to college after high school, so they can get a nice job, and a good education just because that is what is ingrained into young peoples’ minds. “Employers do not value what the student learned, just that the student has a degree,” Murray has said, “most students go to college to pay for their ticket to the job. But, there will still be competition for the job.” For some jobs, college is not needed. The need for the technology industry is growing and need skilled workers of every kind. So, in that case young people do not need to go to college because they already have the skills and their job is rarer.
College education has changed and evolved since school started. In today’s society it is looked bad upon if you do not go to college, so most high schoolers go to college for today’s society without knowing or exploring what they want to do first. According to Murray, “As long as it remains taboo to acknowledge that college is intellectually too demanding for most young people, we will continue to create crazily unrealistic expectations among the next generation,” as Murray points out. Evidence shows a third of everyone who tries for a BA leaves without one in their 4-year college. Some may say, “you need college to have a job.” It is looked down poorly if you do not go to college, but the education is changing. Having a job when you do not have a degree is harder, but if the skills are already there then it is not worth going for four-years to learn things that you won’t use in your life and have student debt.
Murray concludes his article by referring back to the title, stating his point, “There must be a better way.” Murray talks about how colleges lure people who do not have the ability or the motivation to achieve goals and then end up failing. Murray ends on a point of, “we will then stigmatize everyone who fails to achieve.” Failure can become a fear but failure is a part of learning.