We Need Other Ways to Win

Before there was Academically Adrift, there was Other Ways to Win: Creating Alternatives for High School Graduates by professors Kenneth Gray and Edwin Herr.

In Other Ways to Win, Gray and Herr question the college-for-all stance by noting that college is a losing proposition for the academic middle and proposing alternative tracks for success. They do not bash weaker students as much as they advocate educational options for different aptitudes.

The authors also disarm the college wage premium supporters by agreeing with them, but noting that benefiting from this premium is a calculated risk, not an assumed guarantee. 

As a nod to the underemployment argument, Gray and Herr put forth the most powerful point of the book:

On average, technical workers without a 4-year college degree will earn higher salaries than all 4-year college graduates except those who find work in the professional ranks.

George Leef cited this book in his Inside Academia interview on overselling higher education, and I review it here on the NAS site. Even though it’s not the newest book, I recommend giving it a place on your bookshelves.

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