The New York Times pays two columnists to regularly write for its Monday edition. One of them frequently makes a lot of sense. [Spoiler alert: It's not Russ Douthat.]

Paul Krugman:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill... But what everyone knows is wrong.
The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands. Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it.
The notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

I spend my days (and frequently, nights) educating people, mostly "non-traditional" students. I love teaching so much it hurts. Yes, I can (and do) work with people to help them learn, not just how to make widgets, but also to look at the world from new, critical perspectives. As far as I can tell, my students tend to really appreciate this.

What my students don't seem to appreciate is sitting it my office, watching salvage companies deconstruct the factory where they used to work. This is not something I, or any other educator can change. Education is vital on any number of levels, but as Krugman points out, awarding more college degrees is but a part of the work that needs to be done.

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