Joseph Epstein Is Right about the ‘Dr.’ Problem

Jill Biden participates in a conversation about school reopening in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak during a Biden presidential campaign appearance at the Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake, Minn., September 9, 2020. (Nicole Neri/Reuters)
The education degree is mediocre, and blocks school improvement.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Wall Street Journal editorial page provoked a thunderous denunciation from a host of media outlets and interest groups last weekend by publishing a piece questioning whether to call our incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden.

In his now-infamous piece of snarky commentary, Joseph Epstein criticized the proliferation of doctorates over the past half-century, reserving special derision for honorary doctors such as entertainers, and for doctors in education such as Jill Biden.

Perhaps more important than how we or the media may choose to refer to Dr./Mrs. Biden, the outsized focus on whether to use the honorific for a doctor of education

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Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and edits the Journal of School Choice. He has served on both a traditional public-school board and a charter-school board.


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