Phi Beta Cons

High School Dropouts Falling Behind

The Wall Street Journal has an article on the declining job prospects for those without a high-school diploma. While it’s hard to argue that the data are incorrect, it’s also worth noting that the article indirectly supports the credential inflation that is prevalent in current education debates.

Consider this telling excerpt and quote: 

Metalico Inc., which recycles metal and makes metal products at plants near Pittsburgh, says it requires a high-school diploma due in part to the complexity and expense of its machines, which can cost $500,000 apiece. “You bring in a guy, and he can’t read or write and doesn’t understand mechanics and he can destroy the machine on his first day,” said a senior company executive.

If industry folks do not think that individuals can “read and write” until they finish the equivalent of high school, that does not speak well for the perception of U.S. K–12 education.

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