Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's the response, DSW...

...and for the record, you served up a BP fastball...

I normally don't counter-post, but since DSW at Sonoran Alliance has misrepresented what I said in an earlier post, a counter-post is an appropriate response.

Especially since DSW himself (or herself; it's an anonymous blog) chose to go the counter-post (both to me and to David Safier at Blog for Arizona) route instead of simply commenting on my original post.

The post in question criticized Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) for rationalizing his anti-education funding vote by saying that ' "Education does not create jobs," he [Biggs] said. "Entrepreneurs and businesses create jobs." '

My response was thus - "Apparently he believes that entrepeneurs and businessmen don't need educations, nor do they need a workforce knowledgeable enough to adequately staff their businesses."

DSW's response to my criticism?
"Maybe this is a good time to chime in and remind our liberal bloggers that there are many highly educated Ph.D’s employed by our fine university system who could only find jobs within the university system. They have created no jobs. Simply put, having an excellent education does not guarantee you a job."

On a couple of points he is correct - having an excellent education does not guarantee one a job, nor, generally speaking, do teachers create jobs.

They just give people the tools (knowledge, ability to think critically and learn more) to create jobs or to fill those jobs adequately. In other words, they give people the tools they need to succeed in our society.

And a commenter (John) on DSW's post does bring up the success of college dropout Bill Gates and uses it as a bulwark to the argument that education isn't necessary for success.

That commenter might have had a point, except for a few things - Gates is highly intelligent, had access to oodles of investment capital via family connections (hat tip to commenter Ron on DSW's post for reminding everyone of that fact) and Gates had access to highly educated people to write Microsoft's software and do its accounting and legal work, and so forth.

Now, I'm not disparaging John's point completely - people without much formal education *can* succeed greatly if they have enough drive and intelligence (Gates is a case in point) and people with a lot of formal education and not much active intelligence can fail spectacularly (to whit: George W. Bush of the two Ivy League degrees and the lowest Presidential job approval ratings ever. To be fair to the Ivy League schools though, legacy admissions and "gentlemen's Cs don't motivate people to learn, especially when the Friends of Dad and Granddad are around to smooth the way.)

BTW - DSW should update his post - Tedski at R-Cubed is on the Biggs quote, too. :)


testcase said...

And of course the comment is even dumber considering we would not even have computers if it wasn't for many people with PhDs.

Anyways, do they start bringing up PhDs. Having an educated workforce means things like quality undergrad programs and good k-12 schools. The whole PhD thing is a bit of a red herring.

Richard said...

On Bill Gates being a Harvard dropout:

I haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling Outliers, but from reading reviews and articles, I know that he stresses that Gates achieved success in good part because, well, here's an excerpt from David Leonhardt's review in the New York Times:

"Bill Gates is introduced as a young computer programmer from Seattle whose brilliance and ambition outshine the brilliance and ambition of the thousands of other young programmers. But then Gladwell takes us back to Seattle, and we discover that Gates’s high school happened to have a computer club when almost no other high schools did. He then lucked into the opportunity to use the computers at the University of Washington, for hours on end. By the time he turned 20, he had spent well more than 10,000 hours as a programmer.

At the end of this revisionist tale, Gladwell asks Gates himself how many other teenagers in the world had as much experience as he had by the early 1970s. “If there were 50 in the world, I’d be stunned,” Gates says. “I had a better exposure to software development at a young age than I think anyone did in that period of time, and all because of an incredibly lucky series of events.” Gates’s talent and drive were surely unusual. But Gladwell suggests that his opportunities may have been even more so."

Sounds like government funding to me!