"To get America's job engine revving again, companies need to stop pinning so much of the blame on our nation's education system. They need to drop the idea of finding perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice.
"Only about 10% of the people in IT jobs during the Silicon Valley tech boom of the 1990s, for example, had IT-related degrees. While it might be great to have a Ph.D. graduate read your electrical meter, almost anyone with a little training could do the job pretty well.Credentials are used to monopolize and control access to raise wages.The credential arms race that enriches universities and leaves students in debt bondage is not only unsustainable but unproven.
And just as we need to distinguish schools from education, so we must also distinguish credentials from knowledge. This could not be made more clear than the situation in economics where highly-credentialed experts were almost universally wrong or blind to a fundamental crisis on a global scale. This is a warning that, while we may have a credential arms race keeping everyone busy, that doesn't mean we have deep learning going on at all.
And the role of schools in their current form in perpetuating groupthink and peer-pressure, is largely unexamined. (For the record, students first raised the alarm about economics as a dysfunctional science and at least one economist who foresaw the crisis, Steve Keen, has a credential, yes, but also an untraditional educational background and is urging students on at Harvard.)
Trying to craft a universal architecture of credentials may be a goal of schools around the globe but it is not clear at all that it would actually increase knowledge. In fact, intense centralization of the public schools has shown the opposite. An open and flexible model would be far wiser if we really need intelligence and creativity maximized globally.