Phi Beta Cons

Ban Discrimination Against Non-Degree Holders?

In his USA Today column today, Glenn Reynolds argues that people who are committed to equal opportunity should insist on laws that “ban the college box.” That is to say, prevent employers from asking applicants about their educational credentials.

Reynolds writes, “College is sold as a source of social mobility because getting an education improves your chance of getting a job. But there’s another way of looking at things. College isn’t so much a source of mobility as the lack of college is a barrier to moving up, a barrier that disproportionately affects the poor.”

I’m no fan of bans on any sort of peaceful behavior, but such a ban would be among the least harmful things Congress could do. Better, however, would be for employers to find better signals about an applicant’s capabilities. Having a college degree no longer betokens any intellectual accomplishment. I keep hoping that some famous person like Bill Gates will begin an initiative to break the business community of the bad habit of ruling people out of consideration merely because they lack college credentials.

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

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