12th Annual Symposium Asks Students to Think About What They are Learning versus What they Need to be Learning in the 21st Century

Economist Bryan Caplan was the featured speaker at the Academy-sponsored 12th Annual Symposium hosted by the Gies College of Business at UIUC. Combined with the one-sidedness of many college courses, America may also face an excess of spending on education. This is counterintuitive to a lot of people, but when you stop and think about how much society spends on education (and the increasing burden of excessive student loans) and the questionable content and return to much of what is taught it is hard to argue with the conclusion that the system is broken.

Caplan argues, “Lots of kids loathe school. They’re bored out of their minds, and humiliated by teachers’ endless negative feedback.  Such kids disproportionately come from poor and working-class families. 

But since the middle- and upper-classes control the curriculum, they’ve stubbornly moved to a “college-for-all” approach to school – and turned vocational education into an afterthought.  The result: Most poor and working-class kids endure thousands of sad hours, then leave school unprepared for either jobs or college.”