This time I'd like to address his second article, which dealt with the middle segment of the intelligence curve: those who are average.
Begin with those barely into the top half, those with average intelligence. To have an IQ of 100 means that a tough high-school course pushes you about as far as your academic talents will take you. If you are average in math ability, you may struggle with algebra and probably fail a calculus course. If you are average in verbal skills, you often misinterpret complex text and make errors in logic.Some of this ties in with complaints I've had ever since I was in college.
These are not devastating shortcomings. You are smart enough to engage in any of hundreds of occupations... But a genuine college education in the arts and sciences begins where your skills leave off....
There is no magic point at which a genuine college-level education becomes an option, but anything below an IQ of 110 is problematic. If you want to do well, you should have an IQ of 115 or higher. Put another way, it makes sense for only about 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education. And yet more than 45% of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges... enough people to absorb everyone down through an IQ of 104....
No data that I have been able to find tell us what proportion of those students really want four years of college-level courses, but it is safe to say that few people who are intellectually unqualified yearn for the experience, any more than someone who is athletically unqualified for a college varsity wants to have his shortcomings exposed at practice every day. They are in college to improve their chances of making a good living.... Large numbers of those who are intellectually qualified for college also do not yearn for four years of college-level courses. They go to college because their parents are paying for it and college is what children of their social class are supposed to do after they finish high school.... They, too, need to learn to make a living--and would do better in vocational training.
Combine those who are unqualified with those who are qualified but not interested, and some large proportion of students on today's college campuses--probably a majority of them--are looking for something that the four-year college was not designed to provide....
I knew when I started college that I wanted to work in the corporate and small business worlds. And yet, I never even considered taking a Business or Marketing degree. There is a lot, I believe, you can learn in a class format about these topics. But there's not four years worth of stuff to learn.
What response you believe should be taken to this situation probably depends upon your level of idealism. Should all college students be pushed to take at least some liberal arts and sciences courses during their time at college, or should college for those who are primarily looking for employment credentials be shortened down to a 1-2 year process with an internship thrown in for good measure?
Personally, I'm a big believe that virtually everyone can and should acquire the most basic rudiments of a college level understanding of science, mathematics, philosophy/logic and Western Culture. However, one must also acknowledge the reality that at just about all colleges, the sort of basic courses which are used for non-majors are not only un-inspiring but downright dreadful. One gets little real understanding of Western Culture out of "Western Civ. I" nor much understanding of science from "General Science of non-Majors".
Clearly, no amount of educational theorizing will get us the perfect world that we so demonstrably do not have. And though I hope (though can't prove) that people of "average intelligence" are more capable of learning than Murray suggests, I'm certainly willing to cede that by the time people reach college age they are pretty set in their ways, and many simply do not want an extensive education. Taking that as a given, it seems reasonable to seek alternatives to the time and expense of a four year college education for those who are really looking for something rather different.