“It's a real public service to have debates that bring top-tier participants together and add the sizzle of prize fight competition to a discussion of issues of first-order importance.”

- The Atlantic

More praise for IQ2 US

Too Many Kids Go To College: Our First Debate in Chicago

From the Panel

  • For: Charles Murray

  • Are Too Many People Going to College?
    Charles Murray, American, September 8, 2008
    America’s university system is creating a class-riven nation. There has to be a better way.
  • For Most People, College is a Waste of Time
    Charles Murray, Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2008
    Young people entering the job market should have a known, trusted measure of their qualifications they can carry into job interviews. That measure should express what they know, not where they learned it or how long it took them. They need a certification, not a degree.
  • Intelligence and College
    Charles Murray, National Affairs, October 1, 2009
    In an age when everyone from parents to presidents urges every child to go to college, a simple truth is almost universally ignored: Only a small minority of high-school graduates have the intelligence to succeed in college.
  • Articles and Commentary by Charles Murray
    American Enterprise Institute
    Read more by Charles Murray at AEI.

  • For: Peter Thiel

  • College Doesn’t Create Success
    Peter Thiel, Room for Debate, New York Times, August 25, 2011
    For some people in some careers, some colleges may be worth the price they charge. But millions of other people are paying more than quadruple what their parents paid 25 years ago (plus inflation) for a vague credential, not much knowledge or skills, and a crippling amount of debt.
  • The Education of a Libertarian
    Peter Thiel, CATO Institute, April 13, 2009
    Peter Thiel does not believe that freedom and democracy are compatible and that today’s politics will never foster a free market and unadulterated capitalism. Thiel cites cyberspace, outer space, and seasteading as alternative frontiers to achieve an ideal libertarian society.
  • Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education
    Sarah Lacy, TechCrunch April 10, 2011
    For Thiel, the bubble that has taken the place of housing is the higher education bubble. “A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States.”
  • 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship
    The Thiel Foundation
    Fellows pursue innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow. During their two-year tenure, each Fellow will receive $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship from the Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • Peter Thiel On What You Can’t Learn In College
    Jennifer Wang, Entrepreneur, September 7, 2011
    Peter Thiel talks about the fellowship he created in May 2011 that awards 20 individuals under the age of 20 $100,000 and access to a network of about a hundred high-profile mentors to turn their business hopes into reality.
  • Against: Henry Bienen

  • The Financial Crisis & the Future of Higher Education
    Henry Bienen and David Boren, Forum Futures, 2010 October 4, 2010
    The authors consider the impact of the financial crisis on financial aid and the ability to attract lower-income students to higher education, as well as the importance of defending the liberal arts and global education in the face of pressure toward vocational education and cost cutting.
  • In Defense of For-Profit Colleges
    Henry Bienen, Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2010
    Nonprofit public universities such as the University of California are cutting access because of cost pressures, and many students are now failing to find suitable places in state and community colleges. For-profit colleges offer these students paths to better careers and higher earnings.
  • The Bienen Years
    Jay Pridmore, Northwestern, Winter 2008
    A profile of Henry Bienen in Northwestern Magazine.
  • Q&A with Jeff Wendt
    Jeff Wendt, Today’s Campus
    After 14 years as president of Northwestern University, Dr. Bienen has retired. But retirement is an opportunity to free up time for a multitude of other endeavors, one of which is vice chairman of privately-held Rasmussen College and Deltak.

  • Against: Vivek Wadhwa

  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Take Education Advice From Peter Thiel
    Vivek Wadhwa, TechCrunch, April 12, 2011
    What matters is gaining a basic education and completing what you started—not the ranking of the school you graduate from.
  • Five Myths About Entrepreneurs
    Vivek Wadhwa, Washington Post, July 29, 2011
    The legends of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and other high-tech entrepreneurs have fed a stereotypical vision of innovation in America: Mix a brainy college dropout, a garage-incubated idea and a powerful venture capitalist, stir well, and you get the latest Silicon Valley powerhouse. That’s Hollywood’s version of technological innovation; unfortunately, it’s also the one that venture capitalists try to fund and government planners seek to replicate.
  • Engineering vs. Liberal Arts: Who’s Right—Bill or Steve?
    Vivek Wadhwa, March 21, 2011
    Our society needs liberal-arts majors as much as it does engineers and scientists.
  • Education and Tech Entrepreneurship
    Vivek Wadhwa, Richard B. Freeman and Ben Rissing
    In a survey of 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product development in 502 engineering and technology companies, the authors of this paper observed that U.S.-born engineering and technology company founders tend to be well-educated, with significant differences in the types of degrees obtained and the time in which they started a company after graduating.
  • Articles and Papers by Vivek Wadhwa
    Read more by Vivek Wadhwa on his website.

Articles For & Against

  • For the Motion

  • An Anti-College Backlash?
    Professor X, Atlantic, March 31, 2011
    The system has expanded in ways that industry always expands: by jacking up prices, putting money into public relations, and broadening the customer base by marketing even to customers dubiously served by the product.
  • In the Basement of the Ivory Tower
    Professor X, Atlantic, June 2008
    The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth. An instructor at a “college of last resort” explains why.
  • Some Say Bypassing a Higher Education is Smarter Than Paying for a Degree
    Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post, September 2010
    Hear this, high achievers: If you crunch the numbers, some experts say, college is a bad investment.
  • What’s Wrong With Our Universities?
    James Pierson, New Criterion, September 2011
    A college education is now deemed one of those prizes that, if good for a few, must therefore be good for everyone, even if no one in a position of academic authority can define what such an education is or should be. These conceptions are at the heart of the democratic revolution in higher education.
  • Plan B: Skip College
    Jacques Steinberg, New York Times, May 15, 2010
    A small but influential group of economists and educators is pushing another pathway: for some students, no college at all.
  • Don’t Send Your Kids to College
    James Altucher, February 9, 2010
    Children have been brainwashed by society into thinking that college is a good thing for young, intelligent, ambitious young people.
  • The University Has No Clothes
    Daniel B. Smith, New York Magazine, May 1, 2011
    The notion that a college degree is essentially worthless has become one of the year’s most fashionable ideas, with two prominent venture capitalists (Cornell ’89 and Stanford ’89, by the way) leading the charge.
  • Against the Motion

  • Turn On, Start Up, Drop Out
    Jacob Weisberg, Slate, October 16, 2010
    Hyper-libertarian Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel's appalling plan to pay students to quit college.
  • Rationing College Opportunity
    Michael Hout, American Prospect, October 26, 2009
    Many more young people could succeed at college if given the chance. But public policy has been raising hurdles rather than increasing access.
  • Our Universities: How Bad? How Good?
    Peter Brooks, New York Review of Books, March 24, 2011
    Universities are not so isolated from the tragic past, but they still make a claim to speak with eloquence across the centuries. They often fail, they need reform and course correction, but they are not, at their best, merely venal and self-serving.
  • Even for Cashiers, College Pays Off
    David Leonhardt, New York Times, June 26, 2011
    I don’t doubt that the skeptics are well meaning. But, in the end, their case against college is an elitist one — for me and not for thee. And that’s rarely good advice.
  • The Upward Mobility Gap
    Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2011
    College-educated Americans live in a different country than high school dropouts. The best way to mend the divide is by providing access to a decent education.
  • Once Again: Is College Worth It?
    Catherine Rampell, New York Times, May 20, 2011
    It’s true that the job market for new college graduates stinks right now. The job market for non-graduates is worse.
  • Why Education Without Creativity Isn’t Enough
    Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company September 14, 2011
    Our education system has plenty of critics, but when facing the mercurial demands of today's job market, it seems there's still a profound need for the social, discursive, American liberal-arts model at its best.

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