I want a Rhetorical Summaries for these three readings

– I want a Rhetorical Summaries for these three readings each one in seprit page.


– I want a one page  for each reading so the total is three seprit pages.


– I attached the three readings. 




What’s Wrong with Vocational School?

Charles Murray


Wall Street Journal

January 17, 2007

The topic yesterday was education and children in the lower half of the intelligence distribution. Today I turn to the upper half, people with IQs of 100 or higher. Today’s simple truth is that far too many of them are going to four-year colleges.

W. H. Brady Scholar

Charles Murray

Begin with those barely into the top half, those with average intelligence. To have an IQ of 100 means that a tough high-school course pushes you about as far as your academic talents will take you. If you are average in math ability, you may struggle with algebra and probably fail a calculus course. If you are average in verbal skills, you often misinterpret complex text and make errors in logic.

These are not devastating shortcomings. You are smart enough to engage in any of hundreds of occupations. You can acquire more knowledge if it is presented in a format commensurate with your intellectual skills. But a genuine college education in the arts and sciences begins where your skills leave off.

In engineering and most of the natural sciences, the demarcation between high-school material and college-level material is brutally obvious. If you cannot handle the math, you cannot pass the courses. In the humanities and social sciences, the demarcation is fuzzier. It is possible for someone with an IQ of 100 to sit in the lectures of Economics 1, read the textbook, and write answers in an examination book. But students who cannot follow complex arguments accurately are not really learning economics. They are taking away a mishmash of half-understood information and outright misunderstandings that probably leave them under the illusion that they know something they do not. (A depressing research literature documents one’s inability to recognize one’s own incompetence.) Traditionally and properly understood, a four-year college education teaches advanced analytic skills and information at a level that exceeds the intellectual capacity of most people.

There is no magic point at which a genuine college-level education becomes an option, but anything below an IQ of 110 is problematic. If you want to do well, you should have an IQ of 115 or higher. Put another way, it makes sense for only about 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education. And yet more than 45% of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Adjust that percentage to account for high-school dropouts, and more than 40% of all persons in their late teens are trying to go to a four-year college–enough people to absorb everyone down through an IQ of 104.

No data that I have been able to find tell us what proportion of those students really want four years of college-level courses, but it is safe to say that few people who are intellectually unqualified yearn for the experience, any more than someone who is athletically unqualified for a college varsity wants to have his shortcomings exposed at practice every day. They are in college to improve their chances of making a good living. What they really need is vocational training. But nobody will say so, because “vocational training” is second class. “College” is first class.

The culprit for educational deficit is often low intelligence.
Large numbers of those who are intellectually qualified for college also do not yearn for four years of college-level courses. They go to college because their parents are paying for it and college is what children of their social class are supposed to do after they finish high school. They may have the ability to understand the material in Economics 1 but they do not want to. They, too, need to learn to make a living–and would do better in vocational training.

Combine those who are unqualified with those who are qualified but not interested, and some large proportion of students on today’s college campuses–probably a majority of them–are looking for something that the four-year college was not designed to provide. Once there, they create a demand for practical courses, taught at an intellectual level that can be handled by someone with a mildly above-average IQ and/or mild motivation. The nation’s colleges try to accommodate these new demands. But most of the practical specialties do not really require four years of training, and the best way to teach those specialties is not through a residential institution with the staff and infrastructure of a college. It amounts to a system that tries to turn out televisions on an assembly line that also makes pottery. It can be done, but it’s ridiculously inefficient.

Government policy contributes to the problem by making college scholarships and loans too easy to get, but its role is ancillary. The demand for college is market-driven, because a college degree does, in fact, open up access to jobs that are closed to people without one. The fault lies in the false premium that our culture has put on a college degree.

For a few occupations, a college degree still certifies a qualification. For example, employers appropriately treat a bachelor’s degree in engineering as a requirement for hiring engineers. But a bachelor’s degree in a field such as sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies nothing. It is a screening device for employers. The college you got into says a lot about your ability, and that you stuck it out for four years says something about your perseverance. But the degree itself does not qualify the graduate for anything. There are better, faster and more efficient ways for young people to acquire credentials to provide to employers.

The good news is that market-driven systems eventually adapt to reality, and signs of change are visible. One glimpse of the future is offered by the nation’s two-year colleges. They are more honest than the four-year institutions about what their students want and provide courses that meet their needs more explicitly. Their time frame gives them a big advantage–two years is about right for learning many technical specialties, while four years is unnecessarily long.

Advances in technology are making the brick-and-mortar facility increasingly irrelevant. Research resources on the Internet will soon make the college library unnecessary. Lecture courses taught by first-rate professors are already available on CDs and DVDs for many subjects, and online methods to make courses interactive between professors and students are evolving. Advances in computer simulation are expanding the technical skills that can be taught without having to gather students together in a laboratory or shop. These and other developments are all still near the bottom of steep growth curves. The cost of effective training will fall for everyone who is willing to give up the trappings of a campus. As the cost of college continues to rise, the choice to give up those trappings will become easier.

* * *

A reality about the job market must eventually begin to affect the valuation of a college education: The spread of wealth at the top of American society has created an explosive increase in the demand for craftsmen. Finding a good lawyer or physician is easy. Finding a good carpenter, painter, electrician, plumber, glazier, mason–the list goes on and on–is difficult, and it is a seller’s market. Journeymen craftsmen routinely make incomes in the top half of the income distribution while master craftsmen can make six figures. They have work even in a soft economy. Their jobs cannot be outsourced to India. And the craftsman’s job provides wonderful intrinsic rewards that come from mastery of a challenging skill that produces tangible results. How many white-collar jobs provide nearly as much satisfaction?

Even if foregoing college becomes economically attractive, the social cachet of a college degree remains. That will erode only when large numbers of high-status, high-income people do not have a college degree and don’t care. The information technology industry is in the process of creating that class, with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as exemplars. It will expand for the most natural of reasons: A college education need be no more important for many high-tech occupations than it is for NBA basketball players or cabinetmakers. Walk into Microsoft or Google with evidence that you are a brilliant hacker, and the job interviewer is not going to fret if you lack a college transcript. The ability to present an employer with evidence that you are good at something, without benefit of a college degree, will continue to increase, and so will the number of skills to which that evidence can be attached. Every time that happens, the false premium attached to the college degree will diminish.

Most students find college life to be lots of fun (apart from the boring classroom stuff), and that alone will keep the four-year institution overstocked for a long time. But, rightly understood, college is appropriate for a small minority of young adults–perhaps even a minority of the people who have IQs high enough that they could do college-level work if they wished. People who go to college are not better or worse people than anyone else; they are merely different in certain interests and abilities. That is the way college should be seen. There is reason to hope that eventually it will be.

Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar in Culture and Freedom at AEI.




February 25, 2007


What a College Education Buys


How important is college to Americans? Put it this way: When Philip Zelikow, the State Department counselor who worked often on Israel-Palestine issues, resigned in November, he cited “some truly riveting obligations to college bursars.” That’s how important college is — it’s more important than peace in the Middle East.

The Democrats’ promise last fall to make college more affordable for the middle class was a no-lose gambit. It pleased everybody. When the new majority voted in January to halve the interest rate on federally guaranteed student loans, 124 


 joined them. “I just think that we need more of our kids going to school,” said Representative Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican. But given that 45 percent of U.S. high-school graduates already enroll in four-year colleges, how dire can this “need” be?

Certain influential Americans have begun to reassert the old wisdom that a college education is one of those things, like sky diving and liverwurst, that are both superb and not for everybody. Not long ago, the conservative social scientist Charles Murray wrote a three-part series in The Wall Street Journal in which he attacked the central assumption behind President George Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. The idea that “educators already know how to educate everyone and that they just need to try harder” is a costly wrong impression, he wrote. Not all schoolchildren have the intellectual capacity to reach “basic achievement” levels. In college, similar limitations apply. The number of Americans with the brains to master the most challenging college classes, Murray argued, is probably closer to 15 percent than to 45.

Of course, part of the reason Americans think everyone should go to college is for its noneducational uses. Anyone can benefit from them. Colleges are the country’s most effective marriage brokers. They are also — assuming you don’t study too hard — a means of redistributing four years’ worth of leisure time from the sad stub-end of life to the prime of it. (Just as youth shouldn’t be wasted on the young, retirement shouldn’t be wasted on the old.)

But the price of college long ago outstripped the value of these goods. The most trustworthy indicator that an American college education is something worthwhile is that parents nationwide — and even worldwide — are eager to pay up to $180,000 to get one for their children. This is a new development. A quarter-century ago, even the top 

Ivy League

schools were a bargain at $10,000 a year, but they received fewer applications than they do now. Presumably, college is steadily more expensive because its benefits are steadily more visible. In 1979, according to the economists Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, a 30-year-old college graduate earned 17 percent more than a 30-year-old high-school grad. Now the gap is over 50 percent.

These numbers don’t tell us much about how people get educated at a typical American college offers. You can go to college to get civilized (in the sense that your thoughts about your triumphs and losses at the age of 55 will be colored and deepened by an encounter with Horace or Yeats at the age of 19). Or you can go there to get qualified (in the sense that Salomon Brothers will snap you up, once it sees your B.A. in economics from 


). Most often, parents must think they are paying for the latter product. Great though Yeats may be, 40-some-odd thousand seems a steep price to pay for his acquaintance. The timeless questions that college provokes — like “What the hell are you going to do with a degree in English?” — must get shouted across dinner tables with increasing vehemence as college costs rise inexorably.

But the education kids are rewarded for may not be the same education their parents think they are paying for. Economists would say that a college degree is partly a “signaling” device — it shows not that its holder has learned something but rather that he is the kind of person who could learn something. Colleges sort as much as they teach. Even when they don’t increase a worker’s productivity, they help employers find the most productive workers, and a generic kind of productivity can be demonstrated as effectively in medieval-history as in accounting classes.

Moreover, if you’re not planning on becoming, say, a doctor, the benefits of diligent study can be overstated. In recent decades, the biggest rewards have gone to those whose intelligence is deployable in new directions on short notice, not to those who are locked into a single marketable skill, however thoroughly learned and accredited. Most of the employees who built up, say, Google in its early stages could never have been trained to do so, because neither the company nor the idea of it existed when they were getting their educations. Under such circumstances, it’s best not to specialize too much. Something like the old ideal of a “liberal education” has had a funny kind of resurgence, minus the steeping in Western culture. It is hard to tell whether this success vindicates liberal education’s defenders (who say it “teaches you how to think”) or its detractors (who say it camouflages a social elite as a meritocratic one).

Maybe college cannot become much more accessible. The return on college degrees must eventually fall as more people get them, and probably not everyone wants one. In France, people often refer to their education as a “formation.” The word implies that an increase in your specialized capabilities is bought at a price in flexibility and breadth of knowledge. In most times and places, this bitter trade-off is worth it. But for the past few years at least, the particular advantage of an American degree has been that it doesn’t qualify you to do anything in particular.

Opting Out of College for a Blue-Collar Life





Weekend Edition Sunday


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This is the sixth report in a seven-part series.

Tovia Smith, NPR

Joe Lamacchia has a Web site – Bluecollarandproudofit.com — that encourages students who feel that college isn’t right for them. Lamacchia himself skipped college. He now runs a $2 million a year landscaping business.

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February 25, 2007

In a small office at the public high school in Kingsford, Mich., guidance counselor Kip Beaudoin is doing what many parents might consider treachery: He’s encouraging a student to just say “no” to college.

Senior Will Anderson tells Beaudoin that his parents are pressuring him to apply — that his mother “is always thinking, ‘Be a doctor, be something.'”

But Anderson says his passion has always been working on cars. He sees college as a waste of time.

“I don’t need math, science. I just need to learn what I need to learn and get out there,” he says.

In recent decades, the number of U.S. high-school graduates who begin college has risen dramatically. But so has the number of college dropouts. Beaudoin is one of many educators who think these figures reflect a growing pressure on students to follow the college track, even when they might be better suited to other options.

When Anderson graduates from high school, he plans to enroll in an automobile mechanics’ apprentice program, with Beaudoin’s encouragement. But more often than not, Beaudoin says, parents consider such advice a betrayal.

“Mostly what you get is, ‘Are you telling me my son or daughter is not capable of doing better?'” Beaudoin says.

The Blue-Collar Option

Joe Lamacchia, a father of five from Holliston, Mass., says teachers often made it sound as if his children would “fall right off the Earth if they didn’t go to college.”

“It was incredible how they really believed that,” he says.

Lamacchia himself skipped college, and it’s fine by him if his children do, too. A few years ago, Lamacchia launched something of a crusade to encourage youths who want to skip college; he even has a 

Web site


“When you have a trade, you have it made,” he says, noting that skilled workers, such as electricians or welders, can easily earn as much as $70,000 a year with overtime.

After barely finishing high school, Lamacchia started cutting grass with a borrowed mower. Today, he runs a $2 million a year landscaping and driveway-paving business.

“It’s a great life — blue collar,” he says.

The Risks of Bypassing College

Currently, there’s a shortage of blue-collar workers for manual and technical jobs — from electricians to heating and air-conditioning mechanics to iron and metal workers. As demand for these skills increases in coming years, economists say wages will, too.

But economists also caution that skipping college today is much riskier than it was a generation ago.

“It’s a bit of fool’s gold to think that you can drop out of school today and think that you can do particularly well in the U.S. economy in the long run,” says Harvard economist Larry Katz.

Katz says skilled workers can earn good wages early in their careers, but their earnings cap out early, too. Ultimately, he says, college graduates will make about 60 percent more than those without a degree.

Harvard economist Claudia Golden adds that, more than ever before, students need more education and more highly technical computer skills to perform even blue-collar jobs such as welding, manufacturing and fixing cars.

“Perhaps they had a grandfather who did perfectly fine,” she says, “and they think they can as well. But in the economy of the 21st century, they’re going to do very, very poorly.”

College a Costly Mistake for Some

At Kingsford High, Will Anderson spends two hours every day in an automobile mechanics class that includes training in the latest computer technology. But fewer high schools offer comprehensive vocational education anymore.

Still, Harry Chapman, who teaches chemistry at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, Ky., says he often encounters students who should have been told long ago that they don’t belong in college.

“We don’t have trouble telling someone they’re not suited to be a musician or football player or something like that,” Chapman says. “But for the most part, we won’t tell someone [that] we don’t think they can make it as a doctor or an engineer. It’s like an insult.”

Rob MacDonald, 25, from Waltham, Mass., wishes he had been better advised. He tried college, then quit — but not before racking up nearly $40,000 in debt.

“You don’t realize it at the time, when you’re going to school, that you’re going to have so much debt when you’re done,” he says. “You don’t realize it until you come out.”

MacDonald now works as a site supervisor for Joe Lamacchia, making $50,000 a year. He’s almost done paying off his student loans. And instead of suffering through sociology class, he says he now looks forward to what he does every day.

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