In teaching excellence and tuition cost, how much do degrees matter?

I began my journalism career in 1989 at the Philadelphia Inquirer during the paper's glory days under editor Gene Roberts, when it was called "The Pulitzer Factory." As a cub reporter, I learned fast under some of the best journalists around: Tim Weiner, David Lee Preston, Steve Lopez and Dave Taylor among them. And yet ...

in that paper's caste system -- sharply divided between privileged staff writers and the less-respected full-time freelancers -- one of the worst-kept secrets was that quite a few freelancers could write rings around some mediocre, lazy staff writers ... even though those staffers made three, four or five times as much.