‘Captions’ Category


Higher Education: College Degrees Increasingly Worthless

by: John Tamny, Economist Editor of www.realclear-markets

Orange County Register, Apr. 24, 2011.

“If an equal proportion of people were educated at the public expense, the competition would soon be so great, as to sink very much their pecuniary reward.”   Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations”

An all-too-predictable headline blared recently from the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  Though the article was titled “India Graduates Millions, But Too Few Are Fit to Hire,” it would be easy to substitute “U.S.” or some other country with a politically correct worship of the college degree.

The opt-cited correlation between a college degree and higher income has driven politicians on the left and right to make attending university a “right” for everyone.   The fact that knowledge gained in college, on its very best day, has little to no relationship with the work performed after graduation has not deterred a mad political rush to make a college education as universal as health care.

Though politicians, educators and their media enablers would have us believe that the act of earning a college diploma makes short people tall, reality, happily, is intruding.  What’s going on in India is a good example.

As Geeta Anand reported in the Wall Street Journal, though call-center company 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd is eagerly searching for “recruits who can answer questions by phone and email,” it’s found that “so few of the high school and college graduates who come through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension, that the company can hire just 3 out of every 100 applicants.”

This is our future.

Indeed, with politicians aggressively promoting advanced education with the tax payers’ money, the inevitable result will be universities handing out more and more worthless diplomas to marginal attendees who will enter college with no skills and depart without the skills prized by employers.  Worse for the victims of this supposed compassion, many will emerge with a great deal of debt as their reward for having wasted four years.

Those who emerge debt-free won’t be much better off.  Having spent four years daydreaming through classes on Greek mythology and feminist art history, they’ll have lost four years of real work that actually teaches them how to get by in an advanced society.

Taking nothing away from the fun that is college, if it does, in fact, serve a purpose, it’s as a source of talent for private companies eager to grow.

Importantly, there’s not much learned in college or graduate school that is applicable to what’s done in the working world, so their real purpose is as a signaling device.  The thesis written senior year at Harvard is not what appeals to Goldman Sachs, Google and Microsoft, but the fact that the student got into Harvard means this person is most likely both hardworking and smart.  Companies figure they can train such individuals to do any number of productive, wealth-creating activities in the real, working world.

Some students, of course, take accounting and finance classes, for example, with an eye on working in those areas.  True, but if so, it would be even more worthwhile to skip the nosebleed tuition and simply get to work on passing the CPA and CFA exams.

Back to college education, just as over-issuance of a currency relative to demand ultimately reduces its value, the drive to make college a pedestrian right has made the diploma increasingly worthless.  Soon enough , if not already, the wage disparity between those with and without degrees will be hard to discern.

As for India, the story of untalented college graduates is a reminder that, rather than something that makes us smart, college is at best what smart people have traditionally aspired to.  Try as we might to make everyone above-average, these attempts, as revealed by the Indian experience, are vain.

End of Register Article

Maybe we need to ask ourselves some questions such as….

Was higher education set up for every single individual to increase knowledge? 

Is this our future in higher education? 

Are we spreading ourselves too thin?

Does everyone, although entitled, belong in higher education?

If everyone was a college graduate with a BA or BS and the majority of those are not fit to work in the field in which they majored, what is the purpose for this student or students to spend time in the classroom wasting teachers time?  Are they taking a seat that a deserving student should have?  It is things like this that causes dumbing down of the system.  

Why is the college system admitting students who need remedial classes?   They are not prepared nor ready and to provide these classes is a waste of tax payers funds that could be used for students who worked hard to prepare themselves and are qualified  to be there.    

If a student does not pass the SAT test, why pass him on, that is, until he can pass?

I do believe higher education should be available to all but the student must meet the requirements to attend these classes.  They must come prepared.  Would we allow a student to fly an airplane just because he has a dream to be a pilot but he can’t pass the entry test to take the course? 

We should have measurements to determine the ability for all students to go beyond the 12th grade….many of those may pass then there would be another test to go beyond the community college.  Along the way there could be tests to find different kinds of jobs for these students.   Many of them could be successful in sales such as real estate, loans, investors…the point I’m making is not everyone belongs in a classrooms for a degree that is worthless to the student once he graduates or worth the taxpayers funds.  There are many people into internet marketing who make more money than PhD’s.   This is what we need to think about.  We also need mechanics, housekeepers, maintenance, janitors and the list goes on and on.  Not everyone is qualified to be an M.D., a pilot or even a teacher.  According to the report on community college that has a 70% dropout rate and they accept students who need remedial classes.   My question is why are we accepting students who are not qualified for this level of education?   It makes sense to send them back to adult education to learn the skills needed. 

Bobbi Barras, educator


Creating Jobs

The Vanishing Court Reporter:  Off the Record

By:  LawCrossing

Most stenographers’ machines these days are tricked out with fancy screens, but at their core the devices are essentially hot rod typewriters.  Still, it can take 3 years of training to learn how to pluck the 24 keys at the requisite 225 words per minute.  And right now, there aren’t enough nimble fingers to go around.

Across the country, the legal profession is suffering a severe shortage of court reporters.  According to Marshall Jorpeland, director of communications for the National Court Reporters Association, the clamor for reporting services has increased as the number of stenographers has plummeted.  In the past decade, the number of NCRA-accredited training programs has dropped from 102 to 72.   Of the nearly 45,000 court reporters in the U.S. today, less than a third actually toil in a courtroom, the rest opting for lucrative closed-caption-TV work or freelance jobs for law firms.  “People are wondering where the next generation is going to come from,” says Jorpeland.

Many stenographers who haven’t sought the flexible hours and higher earnings of private practice..a typical freelancer’s income is more than $60,000 annually, and top reporters can clear 6 figures…are losing their jobs to budget cuts.  Courts in Oregon and Colorado have ordered considerable layoffs, a round of cuts is planned for some Florida courts as well.  “I’ve waited a couple of years for trial transcripts,” says Michael Bogdanow, a litigator at Boston’s Meehan, Boyle, Black & Fitzgerald.  “Everything slows down as a result.  You can’t pursue an appeal without the transcript, which is one big reason why appeals take so long.”

Meanwhile, reporters whose positions have been spared must scramble to keep up.  In Florida, a murder conviction was overturned because the jury selection process had not been accurately recorded.  In North Carolina, judges routinely delay trials and hearings as they wait for a spare reporter.

Some states have addressed the deficit by installing sensitive digital recording systems to tape proceedings for later transcription.  Most stenographers, however, say this is a poor alternative.  “If you’re representing someone accused of a crime, and you plan to file an appeal, do you want to rely on a transcript that’s filled with “inaudible” and that was prepared by a peson who wasn’t at the original proceeding?”  says R. Douglas Friend, a partner at the Portland, Oregon, court reporting firm Beovich Walter & Friend.

The industry should improve over the next few years as broadcasters strive to provide closed-captioning on virtually all new television programming by 2006, and on older programming by 2008, as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires.  Writing those captions requires largely the same skills as recording legal proceedings, so the NCRA is promoting a bill that would create $60 million in educational grants.  The funding, if approved, could lift the entire profession.

The anemic economy may prove to be an obstacle to legislative approval of the funding, but Jorpeland and his colleagues find solace in the fact that when jobs are scarce, professional schools usually get a boost.  “Last fall, enrollment in reporter training programs was up 19% over 2001,” he says.  “And we have evidence indicating this year is at least as strong.”

If court reporters are losing their jobs in the court room, CaptionsVerbatimPro will be happy to provide them a job doing the same work but for a different group where captions is sorely needed.   That’s technology working and it provides a solution to the court reporters dilemma.   The other thing that is happening based on what I have seen in scattered statements on the internet is that the court reporters are taking a 30% cut in pay and that is not be acceptable to most.   They are refusing to work for the court unless they pay their regular rate of pay which runs anywhere from $90/hour to $125/hour for the top reporters.    That’s is about the same rate the CART services are charging.   There is a real war going on between the courts and the court reporters regarding their rate of pay.


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