And at most ivy league schools, its closer.4. But there are always students who dont do the work, or who are taking a class far outside their field (for fun or to fulfill a requirement or who arent up to standard to begin with (athletes, legacies). At a school like yale, students who come to class and work hard expect nothing less than. And most of the time, they get. In short, the way students are treated in college trains them for the social position they will occupy once they get out. At schools like cleveland State, theyre being trained for positions somewhere in the middle of the class system, in the depths of one bureaucracy or another. Theyre being conditioned for lives with few second chances, no extensions, little support, narrow opportunity—lives of subordination, supervision, and control, lives of deadlines, not guidelines. At places like yale, of course, its the reverse.
Effects Of Globalization On Media media essay
Students at places like cleveland State, unlike those at places like yale, dont have a platoon of advisers and finland tutors and deans to write out excuses for late work, give them extra help when they need it, pick them up when they fall down. They get their education wholesale, from an indifferent bureaucracy; its not handed to them in individually wrapped packages by smiling clerks. There are few, if any, opportunities for the kind of contacts I saw my students get routinely—classes with visiting power brokers, dinners with foreign dignitaries. There are also few, if any, of the kind of special funds that, at places like yale, are available in profusion: travel stipends, research fellowships, performance grants. Each year, my department at Yale awards dozens of cash prizes for everything from freshman essays to senior projects. This year, those awards came to more than 90,000—in just one department. Students at places like cleveland State also dont get A-s just for doing the work. Theres been a lot of handwringing lately over grade inflation, and it is a scandal, but the most scandalous thing about it is how uneven its been. Forty years ago, the average gpa at both public and private universities was about.6, still close to the traditional B-/C curve. Since then, its gone up everywhere, but not by anything like the same amount. The average gpa at public universities is now about.0, a b; at private universities its about.3, just short of.
An elite education not only ushers you into the upper classes; it trains you for the life you will lead once you get there. I didnt understand this until I began comparing my experience, and even more, my students experience, with the experience of a friend of mine who went to Cleveland State. There estate are due dates and attendance requirements at places like yale, but no one takes them very seriously. Extensions are available for the asking; threats to deduct credit for missed classes are rarely, if ever, carried out. In other words, students at places like yale get an endless string of second chances. Not so at places like cleveland State. My friend once got a d in a class in which shed been running an A because she was coming off a waitressing shift and had to hand in her term paper an hour late. That may be an extreme example, but it is unthinkable at an elite school. Just as unthinkably, she had no one to appeal.
One of the great errors of an elite education, then, is that it teaches you to think that measures of intelligence and academic achievement are measures of value in some moral or metaphysical sense. Graduates of elite schools are not more valuable than stupid people, or talentless people, or even lazy people. Their pain does not hurt more. Their souls do not weigh more. If I were religious, i would say, god does not love them more. The political implications should be clear. As John Ruskin told an older elite, grabbing what you can get isnt book any less wicked when you grab it with the power resumes of your brains than with the power of your fists. Work must always be, ruskin says, and captains of work must always t there is a wide difference between being captainsof work, and taking the profits. The political implications dont stop there.
And the corollary is equally clear: you deserve everything your presence here is going to enable you to get. When people say that students at elite schools have a strong sense of entitlement, they mean that those students think they deserve more than other people because their sat scores are higher. At Yale, and no doubt at other places, the message is reinforced in embarrassingly literal terms. The physical form of the university—its quads and residential colleges, with their Gothic stone façades and wrought-iron portals—is constituted by the locked gate set into the encircling wall. Everyone carries around an id card that determines which gates they can enter. The gate, in other words, is a kind of governing metaphor—because the social form of the university, as is true of every elite school, is constituted the same way. Elite colleges are walled domains guarded by locked gates, with admission granted only to the elect. The aptitude with which students absorb this lesson is demonstrated by the avidity with which they erect still more gates within those gates, special realms of ever-greater exclusivity—at Yale, the famous secret societies, or as they should probably be called, the open-secret societies, since true. Theres no point in excluding people unless they know theyve been excluded.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Mergers And Acquisitions
The second disadvantage, implicit in what ive been saying, is that an elite education inculcates a false sense of self-worth. Getting to an elite college, being at an elite college, and going on from an elite college—all involve numerical rankings: sat, gpa, gre. You learn to think of yourself in terms of those numbers. They come to signify not only your fate, but your identity; not only your identity, but your value. Its been said that what those tests really measure is your ability to take tests, but even if they measure something real, it is only a small slice of the real. The problem begins when students are encouraged to forget this truth, when academic excellence becomes excellence in some homework absolute sense, when better at X becomes simply better.
There is nothing wrong with taking pride in ones intellect or knowledge. There is something wrong with the smugness and self-congratulation that elite schools connive at from the moment the fat envelopes come in the mail. From orientation to graduation, the message is implicit in every tone of voice and tilt of the head, every old-school tradition, every article in the student paper, every speech from the dean. The message is: you have arrived. Welcome to the club.
While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools, precisely because their students (and faculty, and administrators) possess this one form of intelligence to such a high degree, are more apt to ignore the value of others. One naturally prizes what one most possesses and what most makes for ones advantages. But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The best are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this. What about people who arent bright in any sense?
I have a friend who went to an ivy league college after graduating from a typically mediocre public high school. One of the values of going to such a school, she once said, is that it teaches you to relate to stupid people. Some people are smart in the elite-college way, some are smart in other ways, and some arent smart at all. It should be embarrassing not to know how to talk to any of them, if only because talking to people is the only real way of knowing them. Elite institutions are supposed to provide a humanistic education, but the first principle of humanism is Terences: nothing human is alien. The first disadvantage of an elite education is how very much of the human it alienates you from.
St josephs catholic high school
But it isnt just a matter of class. My education taught me to believe that people who didnt go to an ivy league reviews or equivalent school werent worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath. We were the best and the brightest, as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. I learned to give that little nod of understanding, that slightly sympathetic Oh, when people told me they went to a less prestigious college. (If Id gone to harvard, i would have learned to say in Boston when I was asked where i went to school—the cambridge version of noblesse oblige.) I never learned that there are smart people who dont go to elite colleges, often precisely for reasons. I never learned that there are smart people who dont go to college at all. I also never learned that there are smart people who arent smart. The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much best elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic.
apparatus of educational advantage. With so many resources devoted to the business of elite academics and so many people scrambling for the limited space at the top of the ladder, it is worth asking what exactly it is you get in the end—what it is we all get, because. The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who arent like you. Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely—indeed increasingly—homogeneous. Visit any elite campus in our great nation and you can thrill to the heartwarming spectacle of the children of white businesspeople and professionals studying and playing alongside the children of black, asian, and Latino businesspeople and professionals. At the same time, because these schools tend to cultivate liberal attitudes, they leave their students in the paradoxical position of wanting to advocate on behalf of the working class while being unable to hold a simple conversation with anyone. Witness the last two democratic presidential nominees, Al Gore and John Kerry: one each from Harvard and Yale, both earnest, decent, intelligent men, both utterly incapable of communicating with the larger electorate.
I could carry on conversations with people from other countries, in reviews other languages, but I couldnt talk to the man who was standing in my own house. Its not surprising that it took me so long to discover the extent of my miseducation, because the last thing an elite education will teach you is its own inadequacy. As two dozen years at Yale and Columbia have shown me, elite colleges relentlessly encourage their students to flatter themselves for being there, and for what being there can do for them. The advantages of an elite education are indeed undeniable. You learn to think, at least in certain ways, and you make the contacts needed to launch yourself into a life rich in all of societys most cherished rewards. To consider that while some opportunities are being created, others are being cancelled and that while some abilities are being developed, others are being crippled is, within this context, not only outrageous, but inconceivable. Im not talking about curricula or the culture wars, the closing or opening of the American mind, political correctness, canon formation, or what have you. Im talking about the whole system in which these skirmishes play out. Not just the ivy league and its peer institutions, but also the mechanisms that get you there in the first place: the private and affluent public feeder schools, the ever-growing parastructure of tutors and test-prep courses and enrichment programs, the whole admissions frenzy and everything.
Control levers: Advantages and Disadvantages of the four
Exhortation, summer 2008, our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers. Flickr/Jim Alden, by william Deresiewicz, june 1, 2008, listen to a narrated version of this essay : It didnt dawn on me that there might be a few holes in my education until I was about. Id just bought a house, the pipes needed fixing, and the plumber was standing in my kitchen. There he was, a short, beefy guy with a goatee and a red Sox cap and a thick boston accent, and I suddenly learned that I didnt have the slightest idea what to say to someone like him. So alien was his experience to me, so unguessable his values, so mysterious his very language, that I couldnt succeed in engaging him in a few minutes of small talk before he got down to work. Fourteen years of higher education and a handful of ivy league degrees, and there i was, stiff and stupid, struck dumb by my own dumbness. Ivy retardation, a friend of mine calls this.