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Me in the Los Angeles Times

Summary:
When I was in high school, I wrote quite a few letters to my local newspapers.  The Daily News published a few, but I don't think I ever cracked the Los Angles Times.  Until yesterday.  Highlight from my piece in the Opinion column:Almost everyone pays lip service to the glories of education, but actions speak louder than words. Ponder this: If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn't really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton, though, the guerrilla student would

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When I was in high school, I wrote quite a few letters to my local newspapers.  The Daily News published a few, but I don't think I ever cracked the Los Angles Times.  Until yesterday.  Highlight from my piece in the Opinion column:
Almost everyone pays lip service to the glories of education, but actions speak louder than words. Ponder this: If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn't really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed, the rare, earnestly curious student touches our hearts. At the end of four years at Princeton, though, the guerrilla student would lack one precious thing: a diploma. The fact that almost no one tries this route -- saving hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way -- is a strong sign that students understand the value of certification over actual learning.
Read the whole thing.

P.S. As you may know, op-ed authors don't choose their titles (or subtitles).  "School is all about signaling, not skill-building," is an obvious overstatement.  My real view, as I state in the article, the book, and many other places, is that school is mostly signaling.  My preferred point estimate is 80% signaling, but I'm not married to that number.



Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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