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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where to Go to College?

Where? No really, I'm asking! My daughter is a junior in high school now; the time when students start weighing their options, researching schools, trying to find the right mix of affordability and quality.

There are the pie in the sky options: Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia...those fine old institutions with excellent reputations for their unyielding devotion to the pursuit of knowledge. Oh yeah, and the piece of paper you get at the end that pretty much guarantees the holder admittance to the good life. (After you pay off the $150,000 in student loans).

A parent can lose sleep at night just thinking about the cost of sending one's offspring off to college. You want only the best for your children, right?

Well cheer up! Recent events have shown that many of those pricey places are full of numskulls, and you can in good conscience tell your child that you are not going to waste your money to have them be taught by idiots.

Who am I to judge you say? Well, here is why I say this. Let's take Stanford as an example. The Hoover Institution has invited Donald Rumsfeld to come hang out for a spell. Many on the faculty at Stanford have signed a petition trying to prevent Mr. Rumsfeld from doing so (students too, but they are young and ignorant so they are excused.)

My point is as follows: This is not about whether you like or dislike, agree or disagree with Donald Rumsfeld. It is about a group of people who are employed by what I used to think was one of the finest universities in the US, who are supposed to be interested in truth and knowledge, categorically refusing to give an opposing viewpoint a forum.

Here is a man who for better or worse has been advising on, shaping, creating and deciding American foreign policy for roughly 40 years and these Brainiacs don't even want to listen to him? Because they somehow know that he is immoral? How do they know that? Does the sun go dark and do flowers wilt when he is near? Because they work at Stanford and therefore know everything? Don't you have to know a few facts to make a judgement like that?

Wouldn't they be just a little curious to hear what a man like Rumsfeld has to say in a non-soundbite environment? Couldn't they entertain the notion that perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld has a few useful things to say just based on his unique perspective? I guarantee you there are things that this man knows that nobody else does. The chances of us learning about them are small, but the chances are ZERO if we refuse to even listen.

What does a math professor and an art history professor know about global politics anyway? Do they really think they know better? How can you be sure you haven't gone off the deep end in your thinking if you are surrounded by people who "think" just like you? Here is their official gripe:

"We view the appointment as fundamentally incompatible with the ethical values of truthfulness, tolerance, disinterested enquiry, respect for national and international laws, and care for the opinions, property and lives of others to which Stanford is inalienably committed."
I mean seriously. How can you write something like that without drowning in the hypocrisy of it?

Cross Columbia off the list too. If the President of the school is such a dope1, you know the rest of them can't be much better.

Cornell hired one of the 2 professors who were crucifying the 4 Lacrosse players at Duke University, so they must look for only those qualified to "Leap before you Look".

The collective motto of our nation's higher learning institutions seems to be:

"Who Needs Reality? We Have Opinions!"

So I am going to save my money....after all I have my own opinion, and it's FREE!


1 For not listening to his mother when she told him "There is no excuse for bad manners", for giving our enemies all the more ammunition against us, and for having the audacity to say things like this: "According to Amnesty International, 210 people have been executing In Iran so far this year, 21 of them on the morning of September 5th alone." US Executions (See: Pot vs. Kettle)


Shelley said...

My oldest is a sophomore, and I'm already dreading this issue. I'm thinking good ol' Arizona State (hey, it was good enough for me!) She can always live with us if absolutely financially necessary. Or, she can go wherever she wants and start her adult life $100,000 in the hole. It's the American way.

Heather said...

Preach it, sista!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why not a local community college that has open transfer to a university? Tuition will be way cheap the first two years as your kiddo is getting the liberal arts requirements completed while living at home. (She even can go to the local community college in high school during her senior year). After getting the associate's degree, your child will then enter the university as a junior. Using some of this system and a load of Advanced Placement and CLEP Credits, I graduated in three years with no student loan debt from a good university. I now am a university professor.


Anna Marie

Katie said...

Please, if you are at all interested, email me ( to ask. This is my wonderful alma mater, whose professors (most of whom are PhDs, thank you) teach well and without politicizing.

Anonymous said...

I went to Georgia Tech. It's an excellent school (for me anyhow, my major was Civil Engineering.) I would prefer my kids also choose a good science/math/engineering school for themselves when they're old enough to do so. I suppose I prefer such a thing because it's familiar to me, and I can more easily tell good from not good in areas I personally studied.

I think Georgia Tech is probably the most under-rated school in the world. Yes, some of the programs (including mine) are in the top five nationally, but I still say it's under-rated, because this place has dirt cheap tuition (to me, by comparison to my home state anyhow), the best instruction I've ever seen, impressive faculty, and for my money, it had less petty stuff than most other schools appear to get caught up in. Almost everyone's there to become engineers or scientists, and that's the focus. Most of my comrades were extremely professional.

Nothing would thrill me more than if my kids decided to go to Georgia Tech.