First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Education Is For Losers

Here's something interesting:* Arne Duncan, the Sec'y of Education, doesn't hold any degree higher than a bachelor's. In sociology.  It's true.

He's only got a bachelor's. In sociology.  Which means there are a lot of jobs for which he is not qualified.

Like sociologist.

Another one? Teacher. They have to get their master's*

I don't mean to demean his education. Lord knows he made it further through school that I did. A little. I'm just saying that you'd think the Sec'y of Education would have an advanced degree. Or at least a bachelor's in education.  

I don't mean to debase a bachelor's in sociology, either. It's just that a bachelor's in sociology is the educational equivalent of a bachelor's in sociology.  

I was going to list all the things you would not be able to do for a living with a bachelor's in soc. but I ran out of internet.

Instead here's a list of jobs you can do with that degree:

Social worker. I think.
Research assistant.

I googled "bachelor's in sociology jobs" and was told to "get an advanced degree."

Just to be fair, I know Duncan is not completely without experience in the education field. There are two instances:
 1.) When he was a young teenager he tutored underprivileged kids. 
2.) After college, he played pro-basketball in Australia.  

I guess that's technically one instance, although I'm sure he schooled some Aussie suckas on the basketball court, y'all.  Of course, half the time he would've been playing them "at home."  Which would've been home schooling. 

It's one of the great American beliefs that someone without a proper education can "make it." Dave Thomas and Wendy's, Bill Gates and Microsoft, me and Homemaking.  

But this is different. He's never taught. He was never a principal or headmaster. His time as the CEO (blech) of the Chicago public schools was not what you could call wildly successful.* And yet not only was he handpicked by the President, he's been called one of the most powerful Secretaries of Education in history.

Inventor, entertainer, entrepeneur, artist. These are jobs that don't necessarily require an advanced degree.

Person in charge of the education of everyone; some sort of education related degree would be nice. I'd take an associates in daycare, at this point. 

I'm posting because people don't seem to mind this, and I don't understand. No one would be cool with it if the Surgeon General had a degree in Film Studies. Though at least that person would be fun on trivia night.

In the end, what do I know? I'm just a guy with young kids who are just entering a public school system that does not seem healthy.

On the bright side, at least Duncan wasn't an art history major. He'd make a horrible Sec'y of Defense. 

*In the interest of full disclosure, my wife is a high school English teacher.

*They have to obtain it within a certain number of years from when they start teaching. Some states have relaxed that requirement due to teacher shortages.

*support materials, here, here , and here. And Arne's wikipedia page.


  1. Hey, I have a bachelor's in Sociology and...

    OH, I see what you did there. Nice.

  2. Just for clarity, one does not need a masters to be a teacher, at least in California.

    Also, one does not need to be a lawyer to be a Supreme Court Justice. Neither here nor there, I know.

    Aside from that? Fuckin' A.

  3. Nix the social worker possibility - you need an MSW.

    But you're not being fair. He's been involved since 1992 in programs aimed at improving the performance of inner-city public schools. Still, not having been in the trenches, he may not be aware of the one thing that would help - treating competent teachers as true professionals by giving them more autonomy in their jobs (and more respect - for heaven's sake, they don't even have cubicles to retreat to for non-classroom work!)

  4. I do know this, I would love to have my Bachelor's Degree. I've always wanted to teach and they won't let me without that piece of paper. I'm pretty close, but I have to find a way to get back into school so I can finish. I agree with you in that a degree is basically a piece of paper, but I so dearly want that piece of paper.

  5. Interesting. It would seem to be a concern. Just another case of it's not what you know, but who you know.

  6. Just think how cool our Secretary of Defense would be if he/she were a art major.

    Our threat level color coded thingamabob would be way cooler with colors like seafoam green, puce and egg plant. I can hear the news now "Today we are at puce threat level".

  7. Wow. This is amazing to me. And I'm not even sure you can even be a social worker without a master's. Not around these parts anyway. Last time I heard the social workers were complaining because they had to spend a hundred thousand dollars getting a masters so they could make $30K a year. And yet a sociology degree will get you power job with the gov't. Amazing.

  8. It's not what you know, it's who you know.

  9. Stay in school, kids.
    And that's one to grow on.

    (P.S. I have a terminal Master's degree in English/Creative Writing. I've always thought that would make me an ideal candidate for a job in Quantum Physics.)

  10. Or don't and get a cabinet appointment.

  11. But his name is Arnie, which means I would really enjoy knocking back a couple cold ones with him and thus making him eminantly qualified by political standards.

  12. I feel pretty good about my fine arts degree now. WORD.

  13. Michigan teachers are among the highest paid in the country, and only a bachelor's degree is required. I know, I was a Michigan teacher with a BS, and no plans to go for an MS. While MI teachers are required to take courses on a regular basis, they don't need to be university courses. Also, neither degree makes a good teacher.


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