Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Edward Teller's Memoirs.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Monday, December 21, 2015

Next Book: Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

My next reading project will be Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.  Although not specifically a book on educational issues, it probes deep into the heart of the American psyche, and is considered relevant even to this day by a great many commentators from a wide range of ideological commitments.

How the sides get flipped

NYU is facing criticism after their MA in Arts Politics program declined to waive a student's application fees, and said in an email that if he can't pay a $65 application fee he probably can't pay $60k in tuition.  Somehow, this incident has been spun as one in which social justice demands that a student from an apparently disadvantaged background be given a chance to borrow $60k for a graduate program with a questionable economic return.

I don't believe that higher education is or ought to be solely a vocational program.  I do believe, however, that there comes a point where you might be wise to take your BA and go explore the workforce, and that graduate education should only be undertaken after a very sober risk-reward calculation.  Go ahead and include non-economic returns on the reward side of the calculation, but don't ignore economics either.

To the extent that I want to sympathize with the academic left, I wish they'd rediscover economic concerns.  If the social justice crowd won't ask serious questions about whether the disadvantaged should be encouraged to borrow $60k for an MA then I see little hope for any sort of morally respectable or intellectually coherent leftist politics from the academy.