Phi Beta Cons

Another Reason for Credential Inflation

Employers keep ratcheting up their educational credential demands to sift out people who, on the basis of their lower credential levels are presumably less competent and trainable. It’s not just the business sector that contributes to credential inflation — so does government.

In reading the new book by Judge (and former U.S. Senator) James Buckley, Saving Congress from Itself (see my review here), I came across this passage:

“State agencies have also used the leverage of federal funding to achieve changes in state laws….Massachusetts, like other New England states, had long relied on town selectmen to administer assistance to the poor. In the 1960s, this rankled the state’s welfare director, who sought a rule requiring that Massachusetts administrators of the federal AFDC program have college degrees, which was his way of moving welfare administration from the town to the state level. As the Massachusetts legislature, half of whose members then lacked college degrees, was unlikely to oblige him, the director secured a letter from the relevant federal agency instructing him to administer AFDC funding through holders of college degrees.”

Buckley’s book is loaded with examples of the malign effects of what ought to be unconstitutional federal grants to state and local governments, but that is the only one pertaining to higher education.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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