Moneyball…for us all?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Is college worth it? That’s the question David Wilezol and William Bennett tackle in their new book Is College Worth It: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education.

“I think what we’ll see in the future… is that people will start to realize what a scam [higher education] has become,” Wilezol predicted during a recent discussion. “[W]hen you go to Harvard… you’re purchasing that stamp that says you’re Harvard material to employers,” he said.

But is that really the best way to judge prospective employees?

As the Daily Caller News Foundation reported, corporations like Google are beginning to turn away from the traditional hiring evaluations like GPA, where you went to school, and even in-house intelligence tests. “They’re looking at online presence and how have you distinguished yourself online or in the tech world. Google is hiring more and more people without a college degree,” Wilezol said.

This is sort of like Moneyball. As the book and movie point out, for years major league teams relied on statistics like batting average and earned run average as shortcuts to evaluate potential players. But these numbers had little connection to actually winning games. Likewise, a college degree from a prestigious school — or even your GPA or SAT scores — are forms of signaling, but are they necessarily indicative of on-the-job success?

“I think what will become more popular is just badging. Just like you earn a merit badge in the boy scouts, if you can earn a kind of badge from some kind of institution of learning in Java Script or computer science or something like that. That’s going to demonstrate a hard skill that you have rather than a bachelor’s degree,” Wilezol said.

Listen to the rest of our full conversation here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Kate Grise contributed to this post.

Matt K. Lewis