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In today’s Pope Center piece, Professor Jeff Anderson of Illinois Valley Community College discusses the shameful neglect by most professors of students’ writing. We hear all the time about how colleges and universities do so much to give students the “higher skills” supposedly required in today’s economy. One reason to be skeptical about that is the fact that so many college graduates still write very poorly.
“Higher skills?” How about making sure they have grade school skills?
As we learn over at NRO from Nathan Harden, a Yale alum himself. Just click here if you’d like to see what Ivy League tuition rates can buy for your aspiring son or daughter these days.
Puts me in mind of George Leef’s recent post about the value of an Ivy League degree, the American Dream, etc., etc..
That’s the question I look into in this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call. We know that large numbers of young Americans go to college with little or no interest in academic studies, but that many of them eventually graduate mainly due to the low standards for earning course credits that prevail. Then what? The researchers who brought us Academically Adrift have now investigated the post-graduation experiences of their cohort of students and find exactly what you’d expect: getting that college degree did not transform them into successful, responsible citizens. Maybe we ought to consider ways to get colleges to admit just about everyone who applies and make it easy to graduation without much learning. I consider one such proposal.
Robert T. Viscusi of Brooklyn College’s Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute, which received its initial funding when Richard M. Nixon was president, e-mailed an announcement that Professor Samir Chopra will lead a study group to discuss Professor Corey Robin’s Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. The e-mail states that the seminar will prove that conservatism is a reaction against democracy, and it lumps John C. Calhoun with Ayn Rand. The discussion will be at taxpayer expense. The e-mail says, “Conservatives through history have defended power and privilege against freedom and equality.” Is this education or taxpayer-funded ideology?
Will Professors Viscusi and Chopra permit disagreement, or will disagreement constitute a lack of collegiality, a claim recently made at Brooklyn College? The e-mail does not indicate whether the democratic ideologies of Stalin and Mao will be used to illustrate Robin’s and Chopra’ commitment to freedom and democracy.
That’s the title Richard Kahlenberg puts on his latest Innovations post.
As usual, he’s lamenting that the nation’s “elite” universities like Harvard don’t have more students from poorer backgrounds, thus, supposedly keeping them from realizing “the American Dream.”
Sorry, but possessing a degree from a prestigious university is not “the American Dream.” Being successful in life through your efforts seems to me to be what that phrase connotes, but having that degree is neither necessary nor sufficient for it.
People like Kahlenberg and former Harvard president Larry Summers, whom he quotes, act like the rooster who thought that his crowing caused the sun to rise. Degrees from our supposedly elite universities do not cause the people who get them to be successful.
If you want to improve the state of “diversity, tolerance, inclusivity, equity and social justice” at the Univesity of Arizona, the local Commmision on the Status of Women (CSW) might just have a grant for you if they like your project proposal. Interested applicants should look here.
As I said here recently, whatever else you might think about “social justice,” it really seems to have the money.