How much of school is about skill-building and how much is about signaling, i.e., proving to employers that you’re intelligent, diligent, and can conform to societal norms? In this episode, economist Bryan Caplan (bcaplan.com) discusses his new book, The Case Against Education. Caplan argues that diplomas remain powerful marketplace signals, despite the fact that schools don't teach much. We discuss the implications of his findings for self-directed and nonconventional learners, how he homeschools his sons, why he doesn’t buy the story that unschoolers “learn how to learn”, and why he thinks it's smart to be *selectively* nonconformist.
My review and critique of The Case Against Education: http://self-directed.org/tp/hail-the-almighty-diploma/
Bryan Caplan interviews his twin sons about their homeschooling experience: https://soundcloud.com/user-175435077/caplan-family-school-graduation-interview
(Apologies for the audio quality—I was recording from a makeshift studio at a friend’s house—as well as my voice—I had a cold!)
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