August 31, 2011- The Changing Paradigm of Education

Featured Image courtesy of Matt Posky

Before I proceed at length with my personal opinions, I’m going to highlight the best ones from all over the web with regard to this topic- College Education and Higher Degrees.  Some of them, you might already have heard, read or seen.

The reasons why I have been reading upon this topic is that just this year, I’ve had 4 of my friends go to several Ivy League schools (Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD, HK Baptist University to name a few.) and upon discussion with other friends, they’re all getting in the bandwagon in the next 1 or 2 years.  They’re smart enough to get in the likes of Harvard which is by no means cheap nor easy to get into, so surely they’ve crunched the numbers whether it pays off monetarily right?

As of last count, I think you need around 100-200K USD on average to get yourself these poshy Ivy degrees (barring the possiblity of scholarships).

And by the way, does it really cost several hundred thousand dollars to learn how to think? Or are we paying 100K USD for an elite college status to stick in our Linked In Profiles?  Just a question. 

James Altucher – Don’t Send Your Kids to College 

1.) ” It disturbs me when people cling to the notion of going to college like its the holiest water down from God, come to bless them. Seriously, you could walk around and say, “Jesus never lived,” and people nod their heads and say, “ok, there is religious freedom in America and what he just said is fine,” but if you say “kids should not go to college” its like you breached the highest, holiest, divine hymen of American religion. ”  – James Altucher

2.) Why Borrow Money for College that may not even be a good investment? – James Altucher

I won’t be spending $104,000 per child when my children, ages 10 and 7, decide to go to college. College costs have historically gone up much faster than inflation. Since 1978, cost of living has gone up three-fold. Medical costs, much to the horror of everyone in Congress, has gone up six-fold. And college education has gone up a whopping tenfold. This is beyond the housing bubble, the stock market bubble, any bubble you can think of.

So how can people afford college? Well, how has the US consumer afforded anything? They borrow it, of course. The average student now graduates with a $23,000 debt burden. Up from $13,000 12 years ago. Last year, student borrowings totaled $75 billion, up 25% from the year before. If students go on to graduate degrees such as law degrees they can see their debt burden soar to $200,000 or more. And the easy borrowing convinces colleges that they can raise prices even more.

Watch the video here:
3.) The entire college degree industry is a scam, a self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that needs to stop right now.  – James Altucher

(See full article from DailyFinance:

4.) Read the alternative education Altucher recommends:
  • Give them $20,000 to start one to five businesses. Most businesses fail but that’s ok. The education from the process lasts a lifetime and the network you build when you start a business will lead to many future jobs and possibilities.
  • Travel the world.That would be an education that pays many dividends and is much cheaper. Your kids can then go to college with a much more mature view of the world.
  • Work.They won’t get the best jobs but they can make money, network, get a “hands-on” education, learn the value of money and go to college in their 20s when they can afford it — and make every dollar worth it. Plus your kids will have a more clear idea of what they want to do in the world.
  • Volunteer.Let them see a side of life that is harder and where they can add value. An education like that is invaluable.
  • Do nothing but read.Get the benefits of a college education without paying the $200,000.
5.) Not everything boils down to money. Really?

If its not a financial investment then why has the cost of college gone up 1000% in the same amount of time its taken healthcare to go up 700% and inflation to go up 300%? Its a financial investment because college presidents have scammed most kids into thinking they can’t get jobs without college. So they jack up the prices knowing kids will be forced to pay otherwise suffer the perceived opportunity cost of not going to college.

6.) The way I got educated in reading, philosophy, history, art, etc. was fully on my own time. After leaving graduate school I took relatively easy jobs as a programmer on campus. I spent hours every day reading books, and then at least another hour or two a day going to the campus library and reading criticism on the books I had just finished.

This was the entirety of my liberal arts education. And it was all for free and has served me well since then. And I was actually paid while I was doing it. – James Altucher


Sir Ken Robinson 

Rather than moving toward conformity and standardization, the institution of public education should be moving in the opposite direction, encouraging divergent thinking and fundamentally reconceptualizing human capacity. This engaging clip demonstrates for students the ways in which our institutions are products of particular social, economic and cultural contexts, and invites a discussion about institutional change–both the possibilities and challenges involved.

8.) The Employment Gap Between Educated and Uneducated 

If you’re setting yourself up for a job, instead of creating one- then perhaps, alright, this statistic does require you not just simply to have loads of debts by paying to get your expensive college degree, but makes you a slave to the corporate world for the rest of your life. (if that’s your plan?)

9.) I have told my kids not to go to college. The real American dream was never what you were taught. It is ability to think and make decisions for yourself. I told my children not to waste 4 years in the college route. College trains us to be slaves and never think for yourself. Schools train children to think what the state and corporations want them to think, that is, to fall into line and do what you are told and not to speak up for yourself. The false dream of going to college to make lots of money is a lie. Yeah, some do, but most don’t. Companies run America. Congress and the president only make laws, and laws control people. Who really pays them? Who do most of the laws benefit if not corporations? We don’t government a salary, they take the money they want from us, but it’s the corporations lining their pockets. Who benefits from the laws? Corporations do. We stomp our feet and throw a fit for better education, education that will make our children the same slaves we are to corporations and the government when we should be teaching them how to run their own businesses and stop the cycle. – CSP

10.) “When you grow up, you can be whatever you want.” What they should have said is, “When you grow up, you can get a job in mediocrity if you take out loans to go to school and, after fifty years, maybe you can have a fairly comfortable life if your expectations aren’t too high.” – Matt Posky

(I highly recommend reading his freshly pressed post: Ghost dogs and the new american job market)

11.) Students of the last couple generations were lied to, plain and simple. It probably wasn’t intentional, the adults got caught up in the “go to college and everyone graduates a billionaire” hype. – Christopher Williams

When advisors in college are encouraging students to major in finance and business because “its where all the money is being made”, as opposed to what the student may have a passion for, there’s a problem. When guidance counselors tell kids that they have to go to college because it’s the only way to get a good job, there’s a problem. When students don’t know what they want to do when they graduate other than “make a lot of money”, there’s a problem.

As lame as that turned out for us, the students of today are instead being fed a steady diet of fear whenever they hear the news or read a paper. We can’t afford to invest in anything. The economy is in the toilet. We’re going to be buying groceries with wheelbarrows full of peso/euro/dollar/yens. At least we had a carrot dangled in front of us. These kids are going to have all kinds of information crammed into their heads only to graduate and do what? Let their dreams rot while working a 9-5?

That’s an even bigger problem.

–         Christopher Wiliams

After those long paragraphs about education, mostly from just three sources (James Altucher, Ken Robinson and Matt Posky) and the comments found in those articles, let me tell you what I think.
1.) Being a smart and active person doesn’t guarantee you’ll make it anymore.
2.) If you’re going to take a major, it needs to be recession proof.
3.) Don’t take enormous large loans for your higher education, instead, it will be more fun to just start a business, even if you end up failing in it.

When I grew up I was told I “could” be whatever I wanted. Most people don’t realize “could” is an option, not an imperative.” –         Michael M

I personally believe in education, only that it doesn’t have to come in a very expensive place.  It is an imperative in our lives that we make the most out of it, and make it meaningful.  For the rest of us in the world, who may not have the ability to gather scholarships, I frankly believe that you shouldn’t waste a hundred thousand of so dollars just to fool yourself in thinking of getting a better job.  You should rather think of using that money, creating jobs instead.  Even if you failed in that business, you’ll surely come out with a larger network of connections.  Unless your real reason in getting yourself an MBA is some long held fulfillment of getting a consultancy job,  I believe in taking masters of any field that has to do with specialization (assuming you’re taking film making, designs, robotic engineering or something in the nature of perfecting a skill), then spend 100,000 for it and consider it as research and development expense.  Else, I believe being a jack of all trades solidifies mediocrity, and thus, of no value at all.

Perhaps I’m wrong.   The potential is in you, just like thousands of other possible paths for your life. I don’t think you need to get an MBA just to let that life unfold for you.

– Faceless Trader

(Related Readings: Business Review- Seth Godin’s The Dip)

 Progressive Pinoy Perspectives (

Quickly, just wanted to say that Faceless Trader posts can now also be found in

( is an online news paper of Curated and Crowd-Sourced Progressive Pinoy Perspectives 🙂

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9 Responses to August 31, 2011- The Changing Paradigm of Education

  1. Posky says:

    This reads more like a well thought out thesis than your standard blog.

    I’m glad I was included in this post because the notification led me here to read it and all of the other writings you’ve cited. It was nice because this topic has been weighing heavy on my head and it’s good to know that I’m not alone.


    • wow matt! Thanks for reading my blog! I love your sketches, found it freshly pressed and.. I guess in a way, part of me just wanted to know what the other side of the coin is seeing that I’m not, so I rehashed and wrote things this way. Thanks so much. Truly made my day– u being a lot of miles away and just simply great to know this blog can travel miles. Glad to know you matt.- FT


  2. Agree! Education system is out of sync with the development of students. Perhaps to better or more eloquently hammer down the point, Sir Ken Robinson can do a better job…


    • Hello, yep. But social media is quickly changing a lot of Filipinos’ minds in the many possibilities that are opening up for them. It’s a perfect time for all the Apple-like thinkers of the world to be crazy, find their passions and develop those skills instead of sticking to the old down trodden path. 😀


  3. Very wonderful post Sir FT! 🙂
    6 months ago I have already thought and planned of homeschooling my future kids. As days passed by, my thoughts on homeschooling have changed because it is not the “norm”. I am afraid that my kids won’t get a job because they don’t have this “degree”.
    But thanks to you, I am now going back to my plan! 🙂 College truly is a waste of time money! But I hope that companies will also change the way they filter job applicants though…


    • Your kids need to be excellent despite not going to the traditional route. I think they need to know what they want first hand and then proceed. For instance, in the markets, no matter which college you went to, you can always get standardized tests but in order to show your competence, a track record of trading performance is more important than a degree. If he’s planning to be a writer, or filmmaker, you have to factor the possibility of working as intern on some startups willing to hire those without degrees, or start creating YouTube films etc. Self studying and self publishing either a blog, magazine or some other strategy. You need to have him/ her constantly learning in open universities etc. There are costs such as Internet, computer , tablet etc but the cost is smaller than what college charges you. hope this helps.


  4. Great Link to Accompany this post.


  5. Odette says:

    I already told you my stand. I hope someday we’ll be able to make a difference in this world haha!


    • Hello, long time havent talked to you! Missed our chats. I do too. I want to let you know too about what I’ve been up to. You know my number. Hopefully we can meet or chat or what 😀 – FT


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