Death By Degree!

Scott Thompson former CEO of Yahoo inadvertently allowed misinformation about a dual degree to spread.  For that “crime” he is being lambasted by a guy who owns a small but important part of the same company.  Dan Loeb says if Thompson lied about his having a dual degree in both Computer Science and Accounting then perhaps he’s lied about other things and therefore he shouldn’t be in charge of Yahoo.

The past few days I’ve been mucking about reading about higher education.  Many folks probably have read about Obama’s new push for making education affordable for young people right?  Well, I was wondering what was really going on.  I mean it didn’t make much sense for one party to be for educating Americans and for the other to be against it.  I figured there was something more going on.

What I’ve found disturbs me a bit.  When we balk about getting photo ID’s to vote because it “disenfranchises” a number of otherwise decent hardworking devoted Americans we are talking about a similar problem but we don’t recognize it.  Loads of American citizens are ” disenfranchised” because they don’t have a higher education!  In Pennsylvania as a matter of fact, less than 40 percent of our population has a formal degree.  Okay, so that means that for an awful lot of jobs- they can’t be filled because there aren’t enough qualified people in the state to fill them!

So is this because employers are stupid?  Do they think that there are all these educated individuals floating around that are perfect for their jobs but who just don’t see that there are job openings?  Or is there some benefit to employers in not being able to fill those jobs?  Unfortunately, that is something I don’t know, but the more in depth I get looking at the numbers the more I’m suspicious that there is some reason that employers have switched from accepting high school degrees to demanding college degrees!

I do a lot of reading on subjects that fascinate me.  Even though I’m the first to admit that I have absolutely no formal degree in any thing!  Nonetheless I can still read- and I’ve found information that suggests that by 2018 most new jobs will require only on the job training, and further that only 1/3 of jobs will require workers to have even high school diplomas.

It’s tough to digest those statistics without numbers or the hard data to support them.  What makes it even tougher to absorb is the fact that there is this for profit organization called the Lumina Foundation that is saying America needs to have 60 percent of Americans with a formal college degree by 2025 in order to compete globally.

Some folks have said that the Lumina Foundation is working on a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.  While I naturally think that it must be better for more folks to be formally educated in America- I don’t know that that is necessarily true!  I don’t know why we went from a society in which most jobs were handled by High School grads, to one in which a Bachelor’s degree was almost mandatory for some careers.

The Lumina Foundation has a quote by Lyndon B. Johnson on their site.  Lyndon was fighting a war on poverty and he said that ” the answer for all our national problems comes down to one single word; education.”

Why have things changed in our society so that it isn’t about education any more, it is now about degrees!?

I’m sorry Scott is in such a muddle with the folks at Yahoo. I’m sorry that resume’s hold such incredible stature in people’s lives.  I’m sorry that allowing a broadcaster to misrepresent your educational past, or a board to “assume” in incorrect fact has been taken to mean a man is a liar and a possible thief.

Look, I don’t know a thing about Mr. Thompson-  I just feel that this is being blown out of proportion and I’m thinking it has nothing to do with his having a Computer Science degree or not.  I think it’s nonsense that we are allowing him to be a scapegoat here.  Our society’s laws are making it harder to be an individual than it is for businesses to operate a business.  Afterall, a business can “make an error”  but an individual now appears to live and die by their signature or by their acquiescence in the face of a mistake.

This may seem like no big deal to some folks, but it worries me.  When corporations are people we have to start worrying that the laws that protect them aren’t more generous than the laws that protect individuals!

Sigh, I’m afraid no one will agree.


your uneducated friend,




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