Analysis of Essay Should the Obama Generation Drop Out? by Charles Murray

In the essay Should the Obama Generation Drop Out Charles Murray analyses the ideas of Barak Obama within the educational system. The author provides the suggestions how to improve the current situation and what measures could help developing an educational reform.

Although Murray emphasizes an importance of the reforms of the educational system, the information in his essay provides the description of the inability of many students to deal with college-level material and incapability to pay for the bachelor’s degree instead of suggesting the concrete solutions and adequate reforms of the educational system.

The main statement of the essay is that it is not important where a person learned and got the professional skills, it is important what and how one can do the job. I absolutely agree with this position.

As we can see today, majority of students concentrates not on the quality of knowledge and professional skills they can learn, but on the presence of the diploma and the popularity of the school or university.

Murray suggests the concept of challenges the basic elements on the higher education and indicates that those ideas should be supported by Obama. Thus, Murray says, “As president, Mr. Obama should use his bully pulpit to undermine the bachelor’s degree as job qualification” (Murray, 2008).

However, although the author proposes the concrete reform, he emphasizes the benefits of the vocational trainings and test which could improve the level of specific knowledge that a worker may need. I disagree that such vocational courses can be more helpful than a full specific education or an additional degree. However, the position of bachelor’s degree as the only one key element of getting a job needs to be improved.

Murray claims that the standards of materials used in the process of getting the degree is high and require the special abilities of the students. If some of the students are unable to deal with the college and university sources, it does not mean that they do not have the appropriate professional skills and knowledge.

Murray says that a century ago students could easily go to work after high school, but today situation is different. Although they prefer to get more knowledge and skills from university, at the same time, they “treat college as vocational training, not as a leisurely journey to well-roundedness” (Murray, 2008).

From my point of view, it is incorrect to suppose that all students consider studying at university as the leisure. Moreover, in the other paragraph the author claims that the level of materials in university can be too high and complicated for a number of people. Therefore, I think that such statement is confusing.

Although Murray supposes that his essay can be considered as elitist or pessimistic, I think that those two characteristics are absent. His attitude is absolutely well-grounded and valid. As a realist, the author notices the present problems within the current educational system and claims for their solving.

However, as he wants to improve the situation, some specific ideas and possible variants reforms could be appropriate as well. Writing about discharge of the bachelor’s degree as a job qualification, Murray indicates the certification tests as a possible solution.

According to Murray, such tests “would provide evidence that the applicant has acquired the skills the employer needs” (Murray, 2008). Analyzing this idea, I think that this idea is worth to be considered by government. As the result, many young people will be able to prove their capability to work, skills and competitiveness comparing with those who have the bachelor’s degree.

Of course, this statement is valid. However, at the same time the author says that “certification tests would not eliminate the role of innate ability – the most gifted applicants would still have an edge – but they would strip away much of the unwarranted halo effect that goes with a degree from a prestigious university” (Murray, 2008). Therefore, such measure will not solve the whole problem. But, the author does not suggest other ideas of solution.

It seems that Murray only indicates the problem for the government and for President Obama particularly. I think that he should explore this question deeper and elaborate the exact ideas of what reforms could be more effective and why. In the present form, the essay Should the Obama Generation Drop Out gives an answer – yes, but it does not give the practical answers.

Emphasizing the value of professional skills and their domination over the bachelor’s degree, Murray suggests President Obama to use his authority to change the current situation. The bachelor’s degree should not be a key aspect of acceptance or rejection of an employee. Every person should be treated according to one’s professional skills and do not be judged due to the absence of the bachelor’s degree.

Although I agree with the main statement, the present essay can be considered as more emotional that informative. The author discusses inability of many students to deal with college-level material instead of suggesting the concrete solutions and adequate reforms of the educational system.

Reference List

Murray, C. (2008). “Should the Obama Generation Drop Out?”, The New York Times. Retrieved from