Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Education and Tea Leaves....

Megan McArdle chimes in with her thoughts on wasted education dollars and this case her own. This one focuses on Sallie Mae, which makes education loans that in many cases are never paid off, for an education that never benefits those who work to get it.

Who benefits? Unscrupulous schools, especially those taking advantage of dreamers:

I don't know how I ended up at Career Blazers (yes, I cringe myself at the name). It was like one of those plucky, poor-but-honest people you read about in Victorian novels--everything clean, freshly painted, and nonetheless falling apart. But I was too desperate to get out of that secretary's chair to be picky. I gave them something like $5,000, in 1995, to teach me to be a Certified Netware Engineer--an administrator of Novell's corporate networking software.

The technies in the audience are wincing, and believe me, I am too. As I found out after I'd wasted thousands of dollars and three months, a CNE was a necessary, but not sufficient, credential to get a job in IT. The minute anyone tells you that he has one (or an MCSE, the Microsoft equivalent), any seasoned professional will bar that person from touching his equipment. Anyone who would actually mention his CNE is definitionally too ignorant to be useful, and just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. Of course anyone competent usually had the credentials--but all the credentials proved, by themselves, was that you could breathe and answer a multiple choice test.

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