Saturday, November 08, 2008

Education worked the best in the 1960s: In my view, a rational education system would make sure that the correlation between IQ and highest degree earned is high. It's very simple: less intelligent people should end their educational career earlier, while smarter folks should pursue higher degrees.

Assuming that I'm correct, let's see which decade had the most rational approach for both blacks and whites. Using General Social Survey data, here is what I found:

Correlation between IQ and years of education--whites

This decade .36
Nineties .39
Eighties .49
Seventies .54
Sixties .61
Fifties .59

Correlation between IQ and years of education--blacks

This decade .39
Nineties .42
Eighties .39
Seventies .49
Sixties .50
Fifties .45

First, we see the highest numbers were in the 1950s and 1960s for whites. The system was most rational during that period for that population. It's gotten worse ever since.

For blacks, we see a small increase from the 50s to the 60s, perhaps indicating decreasing discrimination. After that, the numbers have fallen for blacks as well, and currently the correlation is low and similar to that of whites.

If I'm interpreting this correctly, we're seeing more and more blacks and whites stay in school beyond what their IQs would warrant.


  1. Anonymous8:25 PM

    We have added educational requirements for the workforce compared to the 60's . Less manufacturing jobs. So the market adjusts the best way it can. If there is some way to make society work better, let me know.

  2. This meshes with your earlier post showing that the IQ of college graduates has fallen about 10 points.

  3. math guy11:09 AM

    I'm not sure that Pearson correlation coefficient is the best way to get at this, but its a good question. Try Spearman's rho and see if the same pattern holds.

  4. Stephen5:10 PM

    The cynic in me says that keeping people at school is merely a government policy intended to push the unemployment figure lower than it would otherwise be.

  5. I hope the decline in correlation does not reflect a decline in the educational achievement of high IQ whites.

    Can you look at the data and reassure us on that?

  6. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Also, some public sector
    jobs (teachers,law enforcement)
    enforce certain degrees in order to
    advance to positions (or reach
    a level of seniority) that was
    not required in years past.
    In many municipalities with which
    I am familiar full time local
    police offers must have a bachelor's degree.

  7. A good article in the Atlantic written by a guy who -- as he puts it -- teaches at "colleges of last resort."

    Quote: "Remarkably few of my students can do well in these classes. Students routinely fail; some fail multiple times, and some will never pass, because they cannot write a coherent sentence."

    There is a tremendous amount of waste, frustration, and arguably outright economic exploitation entailed in this process.

  8. The waste in education seems similar to the waste in housing in that both are substantially rooted in PC implying that anyone can achieve at a high education/financial level.

    The waste in housing was necessary (but not sufficient) to generate our present world-wide recession.

    What disaster might the waste in education lead to?

    Perhaps filling up the US with unable immigrants, needed to do the manual work that our over-educated own low-IQ citizens have been directed away from. The lack of intelligence of our population will lead the US to the lower tier of countries in terms of per-capita wealth.

    That's a slow disaster. Any "bubble-like" disasters?


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