Accuracy in Media

Does everyone need a college education? According to Charles Murray,
“No, too many people are going to college. A Bachelor of Arts in and of
itself tells you nothing. We have exalted a meaningless document.”

Murray, a W. H. Brady Scholar at American Enterprise Institute (AEI), does not argue that people should not be educated. “Everyone
deserves a liberal education. However, they do not need to attend a
four-year college or university to obtain it,” he said recently at AEI.

Murray discussed his new book. Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing American Education Back to Reality.
The first truth is that “ability varies. Too many people are being told
they can do something they cannot.” Murray believes that a recent SAT
study proves exactly this. “According to a recent SAT study, only
student who score above an 1180 are prepared for college. When
calculated, this is only 10% of high school seniors. Yet, guidance
councilors tell 90% of their students to go to college.”

does not argue against the monetary statistics that show a person’s
income is higher with Bachelor degrees than without it; however, he
argues that this is due to public perception. “What does a Bachelor in
Sociology, Political Science, History, Psychology, Philosophy, or
Business Administration show? Nothing. A student could have coasted
through by choosing the easiest classes, with the easiest professors,
and not have opened a single book. However, if you don’t have this
piece of paper, you can’t even get a decent job interview . . .What we
need to do is instill a liberal education. And, we can instill a
liberal education without the four-year institutions.”

Next, Murray argues a mathematical fact, “Half of all children are
below the average.” (The definition of average is exactly that, half
are below it, half are above it.) Yet, we continuously push for all
children to go to college. “Sixty-four percent of 18-year-olds don’t go
to college. And, a third that do drop out.” It has been proven that
everyone is not college material. Does this doom those incapable of
college to trivial jobs? No, in fact, Murray argues that this would
allow a higher percentage of society to feel passionately about what
they do. “The goal of education is to learn how to make a living in an
area that interests you.” Instead of telling students to attend
college, advisors and parents should tell young people to go into a
field that they feel passionately about. “If a student at age 14 shows
an…ability in machinery, why not help that student grow in that field?
Society today demands this child go to college instead of enrolling in
an apprenticeship. Society today demands this child become a mediocre
business manager when he could be a top-notch mechanic making a six
digit figure.”

Thirdly, as already stated, Murray believes “too many people are going
to college.” Every human’s capacity is different. College is simply a
stretch too far for the majority. “The goal of K-12 should be to bring
young people to adulthood with a knowledge of their own capacity. Many
people are told they can handle college, when truthfully they cannot .
. . . People need to realize this.”

Finally, Murray explains, “The future of America depends on how we
develop the intellectually ‘gifted.’ These ‘gifted’ are the broad
elite. They are the top 10% of society . . .The majority of these men
and women have an IQ of 120, when the average American’s is 110.” The
‘gifted’ in society run our society. They are the CEO’s, doctors,
judges, and politicians. Murray explains, “By pressuring many young
people to attend college [who] do not have the capacity, we are
dampening our higher education system. We have made college easier, so
that those who lack the capacity are given the opportunity. It is this
that is stripping a proper education from the people who will run our

In his lecture, Murray states he doesn’t have the answer for fixing the
education system. He suggests, “We dump the progressive curriculum and
install E.D. Hirsh’s ‘Core Knowledge’ into the education system.” He
admits, however, that this will not fix everything. “My contribution to
the problem, is talking about the problem . . .It’s up to you all to
solve it.”

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