Education vs. Job Training

I have been thinking a lot more about the future of education in our society. While it is an obviously important problem, I think there is a lot of conjecture and complaining in the space versus actually trying to develop solutions. I have been a big fan of the work Lambda School is doing, creating a modern vocational school that innovates in a lot of different areas and aligns incentives.

The distinction I want to further unpack today is the difference between education and job training. From my perspective, they are actually fundamentally two very different things. They can be combined, but you really do not teach them in the same way.

The problem is that students pay institutions that are optimized for education with the expectation they will be getting job training. Most courses, like probably 95% of classes, have nothing to do with building real world, valuable skills.

And the truth of the matter is that I do not believe the purpose of these liberal arts institutions is to give you necessarily real world valuable skills. I think, especially in 2019, there are far more efficient means of helping someone vertically progress in society. The old-fashioned classroom and college campus is clearly not the best way to do that.

Yet, we still go to college? What for?

I hold by my claim that college is for learning how to learn. I think that is what education is about…it is about studying the fundamentals and understanding the world.

I think this is different from vocational training and getting a job.

Now…perhaps “education” should be covered in middle and high school. Or perhaps education could be greatly improved. It definitely cannot afford to cost as much as it currently does.

All of these things are true. I am not sure the best “form,” I just believe that society is better off if some form of education exists in the future. I think the short-term sentiment will soon shift towards “vocational schooling,” where people believe optimizing for short term jobs is best. I think that is good. The numbers work out.

But it is something to think about…are we abandoning education?