The (non)value of education: My experience as a professor convinces me that students do not learn much long-term that is independent of what they would learn anyway, given their IQ.
Let's attempt a test. The General Social Survey quizzed respondents with eleven basic science questions. I regressed their quiz scores on years of education and a measure of IQ. Here are the results:
OLS unstandardized coefficients (standardized coefficients in parentheses)
Years of education .038 (.107)
IQ .034 (.425)
N = 222
To give you an intuitive sense of the results, the model predicts that if you have an IQ of 100 and complete 12 years of school, your predicted science score is 8.6 (out of a 11). If you have the same IQ but finish 16 years of education, you're score is 8.9--not much of a difference. If, instead of being a high school grad with a 100 IQ, you have the same level of education but an IQ of 125, your predicted score is 10.2--a big improvement over 8.6.
I sometimes get the feeling in the classroom that I'm just going through the motions. Students learn plenty, but it's clear that it doesn't stick. These data are consistent with that impression. I'm inclined to think that a GREAT deal of time and resources are wasted. For many, college might do little more than condition students to adopt liberal values.
Oh how the country genuflects to that sacred idea--education. Unless it produces real, useful results, I say bullshit.