One of the first times I mentioned my dad here was when I talked about his advice to me about choosing a college: “You can get a good education anywhere, but you have to want it.”
It’s as true now as it was then, which brings us (via Legal Insurrection) to Anchor Rising, where Justin Katz talks about one of the problems at which politicians love to throw money: a skills gap. We’ve talked before about educational romanticism, which has somehow become the only acceptable way to think about education these days, despite its astounding disconnection from reality. The so-called skills gap (an inequality in results) is a fact that undermines the theory of educational romanticism, and since abandoning the theory would prove too painful, we have to presume that the fact is changeable. In order to change that fact, however, we have to throw taxpayer money at it. In the case Katz describes, the solution one educrat proposes is for “the state […] to do more to cater to student needs to keep them in school.”
Katz asks the key question:
Why should we devote resources begging people to act in their own self interest? They ought to want to pursue a path that leads them to high-paying jobs. If the route to a comfortable life is to stay in school, all that ought to be needed is for young Americans to be made to understand that — and to understand that hard work, dedication, and sacrifice on their own part is going to be required.