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Tag Archives: undergrad

Academic Steering and Black Students

The median pay for a person in my business with (and sometimes without) a Bachelors in Computer Science or Information Technology and with a Manufacturer certification such as a JCIE/CCIE, or a cyber-security cert such as a CISSP is $120,000- $140,000 a year. No PhD required.

So WTF are you taking a degree track in basket weaving?

That same sort of math applies across several STEM based fields, including the Medical Technology industry, Chemical Engineering, some Aerospace, and other Hi-Tech areas. And yes – you have to work your ass off to get there unless you are one of those natural-born geniuses.

So tell me again, why are you enrolled in a under-graduate program where the salary average is 1/3 of that. Despite the “Diversity problems” on the left coast, there are literally tens of thousands of other jobs in the rest of the country.

About 10 percent of black computer science professors and Ph.D. students nationwide are at Clemson, thanks in large part to the work of one professor. Click pic to link.

 

How US academia steers black students out of science

When the late Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out last year that “it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas [Austin] where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well,” he was roundly criticized by the left as a racist.

He was alluding, of course, to the “mismatch” problem that occurs when black students who are less qualified are admitted to more selective schools but do not graduate or do well at them as a result. Two recent studies, though, suggest that his words are truer now than ever.

The first comes from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, which found that black students are less likely to pursue lucrative majors than their white peers. According to the report, “African Americans account for only 8 percent of general engineering majors, 7 percent of mathematics majors, and only 5 percent of computer engineering majors.”

But they’re overrepresented in fields that don’t have high salaries: “21 percent in health and medical administrative services, compared to only 6 percent in the higher-earning detailed major of pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and administration.”

Finally, it noted, “They are also highly represented in . . . [the low-paying fields of] human services and community organization (20%) and social work (19%).”

“There’s a huge inadequacy here in counseling,” Anthony Carnevale, director of the center and the lead author of the report, told the Atlantic.

This seems pretty unlikely. Who doesn’t realize computer engineers get paid well? The real problem is that too many black students are getting a hopelessly inadequate K-12 education and by the time they get to college, their best bet is to major in a subject whose exams have no wrong answers and whose professors engage in rampant grade inflation.

Carnevale also argues that’s because blacks are concentrated in open-access schools that have fewer choices of majors. But this, too, is questionable. Plenty of open-access universities offer courses and majors in STEM fields.

The implication is that black students at lower-tier universities are actually less likely to graduate in STEM majors than those at higher-tier ones. Which is patently false. Indeed, the historically black colleges and universities, many of which aren’t selective at all, tend to have among the highest rates of graduating STEM majors.

And if you want to get a job in a lucrative STEM field, your chances of completing your degree are much better at a lower-tier school. But here’s the real kicker: A recent survey by the Wall Street Journal found that in “fields like science, technology, engineering and math, it largely doesn’t matter whether students go to a prestigious, expensive school or a low-priced one — expected earnings turn out the same.”

For instance, if you go to Manhattan College, where the average SAT score is around 1620, and major in engineering, your mid-career median pay will be $140,000. If you go to Rice, where the average SAT score is 2180, and major in engineering, your pay will be $145,000.

In other words, there’s not much upside financially to going to the more elite schools. But there is a huge downside: Your chances of graduating with a degree in that major fall dramatically.

If you want to know why there’s still a big salary difference for kids majoring in humanities and social sciences between elite and non-elite schools, it probably has something to do with the substance of the major.

Since most employers have no idea what you learned in your sociology classes, they’ll just assume the kids who went to Harvard are smarter.

But they’ll know exactly what you learned in your math and science classes and so they’ll compensate you well if you did reasonably well no matter where you took them.

If liberal elites really were concerned about increasing the graduation rates and career earnings of minority students, they would realize that the Ivy League is not the answer.

And forget Scalia’s racism about elite schools (UT Austin ain’t an “elite school” on the level of MIT, Stanford, or Cal Tech – although it is a good school). Nobody gives a good damn about your GPA 3 years after you graduate – they care about “what can you do for me”. While graduation from an elite school gets you a higher starting salary, which really doesn’t disappear until late career (HR in many companies never corrects that fact, leading to higher turnover of top performers from “lesser schools” and can’t figure out why their best programmer Jimmy with a degree from Downstate U quit to take a new job, while Wilberforce form Big-Name U, an average performer, stays ) – you are still making money putting you in the top 2-3% of wage earners in the US. The folks that failed at that math are generally working in HR at less than half that – and all too often don’t have a clue.

 
 

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