Louis Menand At The New Yorker: ‘Live And Learn: Why We Have College’

Full essay here.

Link sent it. Are we at the tail end of an age of exceptionalism…or egalitarianism…perhaps excessive egalitarianism?:

‘It wasn’t always like this. Before 1945, élite private colleges like Harvard and Yale were largely in the business of reproducing a privileged social class.’


‘If there is a decline in motivation, it may mean that an exceptional phase in the history of American higher education is coming to an end. That phase began after the Second World War and lasted for fifty years. Large new populations kept entering the system. First, there were the veterans who attended on the G.I. Bill—2.2 million of them between 1944 and 1956. Then came the great expansion of the nineteen-sixties, when the baby boomers entered and enrollments doubled. Then came co-education, when virtually every all-male college, apart from the military academies, began accepting women. Finally, in the nineteen-eighties and nineties, there was a period of remarkable racial and ethnic diversification.’

Walter Russell Mead has some ideas.

A perfect storm in undergraduate education.

Related On This Site:  Using J.S. Mill, moving away from religion?: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’Harvey Mansfield At The City Journal: ‘Principles That Don’t Change’..

Picking up the pieces: Eugene Volokh At The National Review: ‘Multiculturalism: For or Against?’Repost-From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

.Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgements apart in the humanities: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment…Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

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2 thoughts on “Louis Menand At The New Yorker: ‘Live And Learn: Why We Have College’

  1. 1.What is the central idea or thesis of this reading?

    2. What are the main points the author is making about the

    3. What examples & specific information does the author
    include to support and develop these points?

    4. Do any controversies about the topic emerge in the
    reading? If so, what are they?

  2. 1. Students don’t know why they are learning what they are learning, and perhaps don’t have the fundamental commitment to following the pedagogical/hierarchical structure in place. Professors resist change and too long stroll through the groves of academe and mistake its edge for the edge of the world. It is a systemic problem, and belongs to everyone.

    2. Universities are perhaps run more like a business than before. All sorts of other interests and purposes have attached themselves to the core educational mission. Technology, supply/demand, excessive egalitarianism, some politics are at play.

    3. Lots. Read the article. That’s why I provided the link.

    4. Yes, thrilling controversies.

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