Virtual Voices
Charles Murray
Michael Temchine for WORLD
Charles Murray

Charles Murray and education

Q&A

Many Christian schools, happily, have economically and ethnically diverse student populations. Some, though, have problems similar to those of elite private schools.

Noted author Charles Murray (see our Q&A from WORLD Magazine’s Nov. 3 issue) argues that most students at such schools “have no understanding of what at least half the population is like on a personal level.” At many such schools the socioeconomic backgrounds of students are “extremely homogeneous, except for a couple of scholarship kids, who probably were likely, just statistically, likely to be chosen from a minority, because the schools are trying to fill those quotas.”

Murray said teachers and students at such schools should “get exposure to a much broader variety of people.” He pointed out that some schools schedule volunteer times at soup kitchens, but that leads to a “bipolar experience”: Students see “people at the very bottom and skip over all the people in between. They skip over the family of the truck driver. They skip over the family of the small store owner, the farmer, and the rest of them. And that’s what most of America is like.”

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On college education, Murray noted that students who don’t get college degrees (unless they’re computer geniuses) are still second-class citizens in the professional job market. That’s a problem not only because the “education bubble” means colleges are overpriced, but also because students in some majors learn little but propaganda. Another large problem: “A whole lot of people who would have been a whole lot happier in life doing other things are cramming themselves into the B.A. mold in order to get this badge of first-class citizenship.”

Murray called this “human tragedy on a large scale.” He pointed to a class divide “increasingly based on education, but a great deal of that is artificial and could be done away with. … This business of everybody ought to go to college that is spouted most recently by our president, but also by lots of Republicans, is just simply nuts.” He said employers need to take the lead by hiring based on skills rather than degrees.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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