Charles Murray has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the harm done by pointless bachelor's degrees:
For Most People, College Is a Waste of Time - WSJ.com
By CHARLES MURRAY August 13, 2008; Page A17
Imagine that America had no system of post-secondary education, and you were a member of a task force assigned to create one from scratch. One of your colleagues submits this proposal:
First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn't meet the goal. We will call the goal a "BA."
You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane. But that's the system we have in place.[More]
Murray's suggestion is a system certification in a trade or profession, similar to the certification used by CPAs, or the one used by Microsoft to certify systems engineers.(Of course, this system is likely to run up against the disparate impact problem.)
This is one of the proposals in Murray's new book, Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools .
Steve Sailer discussed this recently in The College Paradox: Not Everyone Gains By Higher Education.