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Sunday, April 22, 2007

More Ivory Tower Craziness

..... and this time Judge Posner wins the prize. Posner exclaims that he doesn't know what all the fuss is about increasing education for people. He thinks the costs outweigh the social benefits:

"I am skeptical that it should be a national priority, or perhaps any concern at all, to increase the number of people who attend or graduate from college. Presumably the college drop-outs, and the kids who don't go to college at all, do not expect further education to create benefits commensurate with the cost, including the foregone earnings from starting work earlier."

Spoken only like someone from WAYYYYYYYYY up top on the Ivory Tower. How about kids that would like to go to college but can't afford to, perhaps because of their parents' lack of income or support. Sallie Mae can only take one so far - and at a cost at that. What's so hard to understand that by reducing that cost, might entice kids who are eager to learn, to go to college.
Beyond that, Posner apparently thinks their are only two reasons students go to college: future income and networking (that leads to future income). Again, this thinking is consistent with someone of the Ivory tower. I know plenty of kids that go because their friends go, or go for the social aspects of college (beyond 'networking'), or go just to get away from the folks in an envronment that does not leave them entirely independent or alone.

Here is a bit more elitism from Posner:

.... "This would be an entirely rational decision for someone who was not particularly intelligent and who did not anticipate network benefits from continued schooling because the students with whom he would associate would not form a valuable network of which he would be a part, either because he could not get into a good school, in the sense of one populated by highly promising students or because if he did get into a good school the other students in the school would not consider him worth networking with"

Here Posner is not so subtely saying that stupid kids (and they do exist I admit) won't socialize or network with smart kids. Such a naive statement leaves me to wonder if Posner himself has actually ever been to college??? Even stupid kids have appeal either in terms of looks or actions. I have a few stupid friends: they make up for that drawback in other ways. Also, the idea that lower-end grad schools might not have just as signficant number of networking capabilities as say a Harvard or a Princeton is ridiculous.

Finally, Posner says:
Nor are these marginal students [who might go to school if given funding etc] likely to be educated into an interest in political and societal matters that will make them more conscientious voters or otherwise better citizens."

That may or may not be true on average. Data? I seem to recall Bill Gates was a drop out.........

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