3:01 PM, Feb 23, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
The country’s incoming college students have been exhorted, repeatedly, to major in something “useful,” rather than something intellectual. The idea is that there is a split between “useful” majors, which teach a specific skill (like marketing, computer science, or architecture) and “useless” majors, which are designed to impart, gasp, knowledge (think the humanities, natural sciences, etc). Major in something “useful,” the argument goes, and expect to be showered in riches. Those who major in something “useless,” meanwhile, can look forward to a future on the unemployment line. It’s not exactly a novel argument: The Daily Beast, Forbes, Yahoo News, USA Today, Newsweek (and who wouldn’t take career advice from Newsweek?), and President Obama have all made this philistine point.
Of course, the notion that the entire purpose of a college education is to secure a job is a perversion of the actual purpose of education – but nevermind that for now. Because it turns out that even accepting President Obama’s cramped vision of education, he and his friends at the Daily Beast are simply wrong on the merits. In fact, a lot of “useful” majors are useless on today’s job market – and a lot of people who majored in something “useless” are doing just fine.
Monday brought yet more proof of these facts, with the release of a new report from Georgetown University, From Hard Times to Better Times. The report provides a thorough analysis of the employment prospects of recent college grads across a wide swath of college majors, both “useful” and “useless.”
The results are interesting, and, well, useful. For example, among recent college graduates, those who majored in business (“useful”) have an unemployment rate of 7 percent. Those who majored in the physical sciences, like, well, physics (“useless”), have an unemployment rate of 5 percent. Recent graduates who majored in the humanities and liberal arts (“useless”), meanwhile, have an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent -- versus those pragmatic souls who majored in the “useful” field of architecture, and whose unemployment rate tops 10 percent. Indeed, recent humanities grads have a nearly identical unemployment rate to those who majored in uber-“useful” computer-related fields. Broken down further, recent graduates in “French, German, Latin, and other Common Foreign Languages” have a 7.1 percent unemployment rate. That looks pretty good against recent “Computer and Information Systems” majors, and their cool 12.1 percent unemployment rate. With the economy in such flux, it increasingly looks like a fool's errand to select a specific major with employment prospects in mind.
The good news is that across graduates of all majors, the unemployment rate is falling. Actually, that’s true except for one major. That subject? The “useful” major of journalism.
7:04 AM, Feb 18, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Encouraged by Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin mocked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her Ivy League degree in remarks posted to Kelly's Facebook page.
"You know," Kelly told Walker after he brough up Clinton, "she went to Yale."
Walker laughed. "All the more reason to put someone in who's a fighter, not just an Ivy Leaguer. Someone who's a fighter."
11:07 AM, Jan 19, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The president is proposing more higher education (at the community college level) as a cure for our economic woes. Along with some substantial tax increases, of course. But is more college the answer?
12:31 PM, Jan 9, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
While we earlier estimated the cost of President Obama's "free" community college to be around $34 billion, the White House has finally released its own estimate: $60 billion.
The news come via the latest White House pool report:
7:01 AM, Jan 9, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Previewing an item from his upcoming State of the Union address, President Obama announced a "Free Community College" plan
2:02 PM, Jan 7, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Know a college student interested in political philosophy, economic policy, or the study of war? Encourage them to apply to the Hertog Foundation's summer fellowships where they can learn from an outstanding faculty, including some names that will be familiar to WEEKLY STANDARD readers -- Bill Kristol, Yuval Levin, James W.
9:17 AM, Jan 6, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
While college football fans were riveted to the two playoff games on New Year’s Day (make that one-and-a-half playoff games, as the second half of the Rose Bowl was hardly must-see T.V.), some commentators could hardly wait to seize the moment to criticize the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), college football’s previous format for determining its national champion.
11:42 AM, Dec 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Not a lot of good news coming out of Michigan these last few years. Detroit went broke, people left the state for Texas and other places where they could find jobs, and the University of Michigan football team could not seem to beat Ohio State.
Reflections on current outrages Jan 5, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 17 • By PETER AUGUSTINE LAWLER
Thanks to Rolling Stone and Lena Dunham, a big and sensational media issue today is rape on campus. Both the magazine and the author/actress appear to have published false accounts of rape that were written to fit a preconceived liberal or feminist agenda. Vulnerable women are raped by “a Republican” (Dunham) or gangs of fraternity boys who think it is their white, patriarchal privilege to treat women like chattel.
7:40 AM, Dec 24, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Last week the White House released a first draft for what it ultimately intends to be a report card for the nation’s colleges. And there’s no way this effort will improve the lot of the typical college student.
By 60 to 23 percent margin, fans said they would rather entrust the BCS than a committee. 6:04 PM, Dec 7, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Most college football fans are happy that the sport has adopted a 4-team playoff. The method of selecting those four teams, however, is another matter. This past offseason, McLaughlin & Associates asked self-described college football fans this question: “As you may know, college football will have a 4-team playoff starting next season.
We need rivalries.4:05 PM, Dec 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A few hours before kickoff, my wife and daughter and I went to Gladys Knight’s place in Atlanta for the chicken and waffles (can’t recommend the “Midnight Special” enough) and the room was full. It seemed like every third table was occupied by people wearing crimson or orange. When they caught the attention of someone in similar colors they would utter their war cry. “Roll Tide,” of course, or “War Eagle.”
10:06 AM, Dec 3, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
For the past decade, the Bowl Championship Series unfailingly provided the matchup for college football’s national title game that reflected the public consensus. (In the six years prior to that, the BCS’s record was spottier, but after 2003-04, its formula was wisely streamlined, and its subsequent results were impeccable.) This year, that BCS selection process, which involved 167 polls voters and six compu