Posts tagged ‘college’

Credentialism and “Meritocracy” and Philosopher Kings


Does America Really Need More College Grads? – George Leef

The Chinese imperial bureaucracy was immensely powerful. Entrance was theoretically open to anyone, from any walk of society—as long as they could pass a very tough examination. The number of passes was tightly restricted to keep the bureaucracy at optimal size.

Passing the tests and becoming a “scholar official” was a ticket to a very good, very secure life. And there is something to like about a system like this … especially if you happen to be good at exams. Of course, once you gave the imperial bureaucracy a lot of power, and made entrance into said bureaucracy conditional on passing a tough exam, what you have is … a country run by people who think that being good at exams is the most important thing on earth. Sound familiar?

The people who pass these sorts of admissions tests are very clever. But they’re also, as time goes on, increasingly narrow. The way to pass a series of highly competitive exams is to focus every fiber of your being on learning what the authorities want, and giving it to them. To the extent that the “Tiger Mom” phenomenon is actually real, it’s arguably the cultural legacy of the Mandarin system.

That system produced many benefits, but some of those benefits were also costs. A single elite taking a single exam means a single way of thinking:

The examination system also served to maintain cultural unity and consensus on basic values. The uniformity of the content of the examinations meant that the local elite and ambitious would-be elite all across China were being indoctrinated with the same values.

All elites are good at rationalizing their eliteness, whether it’s meritocracy or “the divine right of kings.” The problem is the mandarin elite has some good arguments. They really are very bright and hardworking. It’s just that they’re also prone to be conformist, risk averse, obedient, and good at echoing the opinions of authority, because that is what this sort of examination system selects for.

. . .

[T]his ostensibly meritocratic system increasingly selects from those with enough wealth and connections to first, understand the system, and second, prepare the right credentials to enter it—as I believe it also did in Imperial China.

And like all elites, they believe that they not only rule because they can, but because they should. Even many quite left-wing folks do not fundamentally question the idea that the world should be run by highly verbal people who test well and turn their work in on time. They may think that machine operators should have more power and money in the workplace, and salesmen and accountants should have less. But if they think there’s anything wrong with the balance of power in the system we all live under, it is that clever mandarins do not have enough power to bend that system to their will. For the good of everyone else, of course. Not that they spend much time with everyone else, but they have excellent imaginations.

America’s New Mandarins – The paths to power and success are narrowing. So is the worldview of the powerful.

Statolatry

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Parents, don’t let your sons go to college

It is one of the astounding ironies of our current era that universities, which have long been billed as havens of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, places to experiment and rebel before you grow up, now employ armies of bureaucrats to regulate the sex lives of their students. These administrators hand out condoms and invite students to lectures by professional dominatrixes, while at the same time holding secret tribunals to punish men who engage in what can best be described as regrettable drunken hookups with their female classmates.

. . .

The earliest foundations for the notion that rape is widespread on campus — indeed, according to statistics provided by activists, women are in more danger at Harvard than inner-city Detroit or Syria, for that matter — came from feminist scholars in the 1970s. Catharine MacKinnon famously wrote that “the similarities between . . . rape (and battery) on the one hand and intercourse on the other . . . makes it difficult to sustain the customary distinctions between violence and sex.” For a particular generation of feminism, all sex was basically rape.

Why college guys should be terrified of campus hookups

Not to mention concern for their souls….

Do NOT Go To College!!!! They Are RAPE FACTORIES!!!

Ozymandias

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Do NOT Go To College!!!! They Are RAPE FACTORIES!!!

Why would any parent allow their daughter to go to a rape factory? #WarOnWomen

And why would any parent allow their son to go to a place where he will turn into a rapist?

Keep your sons and daughters at home! And have them attend online university! (Also saves on the hassle of them moving back in after they graduate – with large student loans – and unable to find gainful employment. Not to mention avoiding the PC indoctrination.)

This is a public service message.

You’re welcome.

College = #RapeFactory

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Power, Freedom, and “I, Pencil”

The moral preeners pushing college for everyone are elitists.

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
Milton Friedman

Leonard Read’s 1958 essay “I, Pencil” is among the most eye-opening and influential pieces of economic writing ever.

I, Pencil

Leonard Read

I, Pencil

Voluntary, spontaneous order. Free markets allow the greatest amount of cooperation among free individuals.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Sir John Dalberg (Lord Acton) (April 1887)

I, Party Cup (hat tip Kids Prefer Cheese)


William Hillebrenner, designer

Work worth doing is work worth doing well. And much mundane work is worth doing. Work smart and hard.


Mike Rowe, Profoundly Disconnected

Buy the poster here, and donate it to your local high school’s guidance office.

“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”

Michael Munger

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Corruption and the College Con

The “everyone must go to college” crowd is a cult. With a nice topping of pretension and moral preening.

If college is so expensive, why doesn’t it provide a truly stellar, unrivaled learning experience? Part of the reason is that very little of the exorbitant costs go towards educating. Only 21 cents out of every tuition dollar goes to instruction, according to Richard Vedder, Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

From a purely market-orientated standpoint, why wouldn’t colleges keep raising their prices, as long as people keep paying? Ursinus College increased its freshman class by 55% after raising its prices. William Cooper, president of the University of Richmond, said that he and his administrators increased tuition by 27% in 2005 because, by maintaining their lower tuition prices, they were “leaving money on the table,” and they did not want to be “the cheap school” anymore. Russell Osgood, president of Grinnell College (the richest liberal arts college in the country, with around $1.5 billion in its endowment), says that he and his administrators raised their tuition price by 5% because the school had “been motoring along for about 20 years at a tuition figure and fees that was about 10 percent below the average for our [competitors], and … being lower [wasn’t] doing great things for us.” It’s as if a school can be seen as better or more prestigious simply because it dares to ask for more.
. . .
But don’t dramatically higher prices make it more difficult for poorer students to attend a given college? They do, and that may be the idea. Colleges have vastly increased scholarship money for students in families earning $100,000 or more per year, but have relatively neglected scholarship increases for students from families earning just $40,000 or less. And it’s not just private colleges that offer this preferential treatment: the top 50 public colleges have recently increased aid to richer families by eight times more than the aid to poorer ones.
. . .
These sorts of practices border on the unethical because they follow a process in which students are encouraged to borrow as much as possible and pay expensive interest rates. Many colleges even own stock in student loan companies, allowing them to benefit even more from their students’ debt, and over half of all colleges are more likely to accept a student who shows an interest in attending. They know that the more enthusiastic a student is, the more willing they’ll be to pay a high price.

The best way to combat this, ironically, is by educating prospective students. Yet most students seem blissfully unaware of how the process works, and colleges have no incentive to encourage them to find out.

If this sounds nothing like the picture of college you have in your mind, you’re not alone. The word “college,” for many of us, conjures up feelings of integrity and learning, of expanding one’s knowledge and promise, and of a collaborative process by which the learned people in society help the next generation achieve what they did. But the reality is not so grand. Colleges are a business, and they have no qualms about doing what is necessary to extract as much from prospective students and their families as possible.

The First Person in My Family NOT to Go to College

I hear plenty about the corrupt hucksters on Wall Street, why aren’t we talking about the wealthy con artists in academia who turn absurd profits by convincing broke kids to bankrupt themselves?
. . .
Why do we send guys like Bernie Madoff to prison while the academic elite get away with gouging an entire generation to death?

Thank God I wasn’t college material

A trillion dollars in student loans. Record high unemployment. Three million good jobs that no one seems to want. The goal of Profoundly Disconnected is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all. Which is a long way of saying, we could use your help. . .

PROFOUNDLY DISCONNECTED

Bonus “taxes and frugality are for the little people” story:

Union bigwigs representing some of the nation’s lowest paid workers are holding their annual board meeting at one of Florida’s ritziest resorts just months after increasing membership dues.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents 1.4 million workers, is holding its annual board meeting at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, where “Victorian elegance meets modern sophistication.”

Two-hundred-fifty union officials are attending the 11-day conference ending Jan. 25, although not all are staying at the Grand Floridian. Resort rooms start at $488 per night before taxes and can exceed $2,000 if officials opt for a two Bedroom Club Level suite.

Living Big on the Backs of Grocery Baggers

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Sordid Links

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Is Your College Degree Worth It?

CollegeRiskreport.com from Jared Moore

College has never been more expensive to attend. Now you can check if your degree is worth the cost.

As the number of students enrolling in college has increased, college costs have climbed as well. Between 2000 and 2011, the average cost of attending a private, not-for-profit, four year degree granting program increased over 37%, including tuition, room and board.

Is Your College Degree Worth It? Find Out

Higher education productivity, as measured by academic degrees granted by American colleges and universities, is declining. Since the early 1990s, real expenditures on higher education have grown by more than 25 percent, now amounting to 2.9 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP)—greater than the percentage of GDP spent on higher education in almost any of the other developed countries. But while the proportion of high-school graduates going on to college has risen dramatically, the percentage of entering college students finishing a bachelor’s degree has at best increased only slightly or, at worst, has declined.

Addressing the declining productivity of higher education using cost-effectiveness analysis

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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How to Pick a College

[T]he biggest single test of whether a college is worth attending is not its ranking, its placement record, or the average salary of its graduates.

It’s whether it treats you like an adult. Don’t expect a college to help you become an intelligent adult and a responsible citizen if it does not treat you like one.

Many colleges and universities will not treat you like an adult—someone who can think and act independently—but instead they will treat you like a child in need of sermonizing and supervision while they severely restrict what you are allowed to say and think.

To begin with, if a college is not unambiguously committed to freedom of thought, and its counterpart, freedom of speech, how can you possibly expect to learn how to think critically—to examine opposing positions and analyze the merits and deficiencies of each?

It is the nature of thought itself that it cannot be subordinated in advance to any ideological position. The human faculty of reason is unfettered by allegiance to anything but the truth itself.

Accordingly, the mark of a true university is intellectual diversity—and yet most universities are remarkable for mind-numbing conformity, for a student body that looks diverse but all believes the same things, where dissenting voices are marginalized or ridiculed.

How are you going to learn to think if your university is opposed to thinking?

Think about that.

One good way to get a sense of a college’s commitment to freedom of speech is to check its rating on this website, which will give you detailed reasons for each “speech code rating” it assigns.

How to Choose a College: Here are some tips for finding value in spite of the higher education bubble.

FIRE’s Spotlight: The Campus Freedom Resource

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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What does college cost?

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The Higher Ed Bubble is Leaking

A growing number of liberal-arts colleges are supplementing their traditional glossy brochures touting ivy-covered libraries and great-books seminars with more pecuniary pitches: Buy seven semesters, get one free. Apply today, get $2,500 cash back. Free classes after four years.

The schools are adjusting their marketing to attract students at a time when families are struggling to foot the bill for college—and increasingly concerned about the potential payoff. Some of the most aggressive offers come from the most financially vulnerable schools: midtier, private institutions that are heavily dependent on tuition and sit in regions with shrinking pools of college-bound high-school seniors.
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The pressure on liberal-arts schools is coming from several directions. Nationwide, the number of graduating high-school seniors this year is expected to decline to 3.32 million from a projected all-time high of 3.41 million during the 2010-11 school year, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. And fewer college-bound seniors are choosing private four-year schools: Between 2006 and 2011, the percentage of students at those schools dropped to 20% from 22%, according to the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center.

For students headed to college, tuition is a bigger issue than ever. The average cost of public and private schools jumped 92% between 2001 and 2011, compared with a 27% rise in the consumer-price index. Last year the average amount that students at public colleges paid in tuition, after state and institutional grants and scholarships, climbed 8.3%, the biggest jump on record, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

Colleges’ Latest Offer: Deals: Liberal-Arts Schools Dangle Bargains in Response to Concern Over Cost, Value

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