Fast, Cheap and Out of Control: The Long (and Very Lucrative) Search for Short Cuts in American Education

In the latest episode of the Have You Heard podcast (episode #49 to be precise), Jack and Jennifer explore the rich history of edu-preneurialism. Bob Hampel, author of Fast and Curious: a History of Short Cuts in American Education, steps into the studio to talk about edu-scams, past and present. Transcript available here. And in our special extended play version, available to our Patreon subscribers, we talk about teacher rating systems and the free-marketizing of public education. To get access to extended episodes, reading lists and more, just click on this little button!

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Major: Debt

Students are told from a young age that the only way to get ahead is to go to college. And that’s bad advice, says writer Neil Swidey.

college_bannerEduShyster: You recently wrote an eye-popping report in which you challenge one of our most deeply held beliefs: that, as you put it, *the best route out of poverty runs through the college quad.* Explain.

Neil Swidey: What we have now is a decades-long consensus of advice that we give students, particularly low-income students, and it’s so widespread and accepted that it’s in the ether. Students, from a young age, are told that the only way to get ahead is to go to college, and not just to college but to a four-year college. But when you dive into the data, as I did for this project, what you find is that the low-income students who graduate, and graduate without a lot of debt, are outliers. And the ones who don’t finish are worse off than if they’d never gone to college at all. So we have to ask ourselves what it means when that good outcome we’re encouraging is statistically very unlikely to happen, and the negative outcomes are much more likely. Of course all students should be able to get ahead. But we can’t be giving students aspirational advice that ends up deepening their hole rather than helping them move ahead. Continue reading →