Monday, September 13, 2010

The Ivy League Bubble

No institutions of advanced learning command as much respect as the eight schools that make up the Ivy League.

The corridors of American power are filled with the products of these elite institutions. When a graduate of one of these schools is nominated for this or that office, a veritable band of reporters will step forth to intone that said person went to Harvard, Yale, or Dartmouth.

As though that were ipso facto a qualification for any job in America, regardless of character, competence, or ethics.

Some of us have suspected for some time that these schools are no longer providing value for student dollars. They are not preparing their charges to go out and work in the world, but are teaching them to think critically, to have high self esteem, and to deconstruct anything that seems to function well.

Just what you don't want rambling around your office.

Ivy League schools take America's best and brightest and make them into less desirable employees for America's major corporations. So says the Wall Street Journal on its front page this morning. Link here.

Long time readers of this blog will, hopefully, not be surprised.

According to the Journal, employers are no longer dazzled by an Ivy League pedigree. They prefer to hire graduates from large state institutions, from places where, I dare say, the curriculum is more focused on technical and practical studies and less obsessed with inculcating politically correct thinking.

The top three schools in the Journal's extensive survey were: Penn State, Texas A & M, and the University of Illinois, Urbana. Of the top 25, only one Ivy, Cornell made the list. As you may know, Cornell has a larger engineering school and more technical courses than the other Ivies.

Recruiters recognize that Ivy League educated candidates excel at critical thinking. They know that these students were selected for their high aptitude.

They recognize that Harvard grads are very, very good at creative mind work. But when it comes to the practical skills required by a corporation, these elite students fall short.

As the Journal reports: "But many companies said they need people with practical skills to serve as operations managers, product developers, business analysts and engineers. For those employees- the bulk of their work force-- they turn to state institutions or other private schools offering that."

So, what happened to the liberal arts. Are they  just stealth attempts to turn students into liberal artists?

To keep things balanced, I think it fair to note that most graduates of Ivy League schools really do not want to go to work for corporations that make things anyway.

Their expensive educations have not taught them to build things or to manifest positive civic virtues. As for the work ethic... that is for lesser, more repressed people.

All of those courses in critical theory have taught them how to criticize everything, especially the values of the dominant culture. The courses in deconstruction have taught them, not surprisingly, how to deconstruct things, how to take things apart. Courses with an ideological tint, like women's studies, have shown them how to complain.

Why would corporations that make things be interested in students who have suffered this kind of malformation?

In the our finest educational institutions a good and solid liberal arts education is going to alienate young people from the world of corporate work. They have effectively ceded the terrain to the state schools.

Perhaps in the new economy, the new normal, corporate work will become more highly valued. Until now, however, it is not something that the Ivy League cares about.

Ivy League professors, especially those who teach the Humanities and Social Sciences, would be horrified to think that they were preparing their students to enter corporate life. If the top schools on the Journal's list were Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, many of their brightest professors would consider it to be a mark of shame.

Aside from the fortunate few who will go to Wall Street to make gobs of money that they can they contribute to liberal causes, Ivy League grads are directed toward careers in education, government, and nonprofits.

They were not taught to build anything; they were taught to control other people's minds.

The Ivy League is not training anyone to be a cog in the corporate machine. It is producing a guardian class, a group of people that considers itself possessed of superior intelligence and deserving to exercising power over those who build and create.

We are living in two Americas. Thanks to the work of its premier educational institutions, we have one nation that builds things, and another that takes apart what has been built.

The Ivy League has morphed into a breeding ground for the latter. It wants its graduates to become educators, bureaucrats, do-gooders, environmentalists. It wants its grads to learn how to find fault with what others produce.

The best and the brightest students from America's finest institutions will work to remove all traces of sin and corruption from America's mind. If they have to tear down what others build, so be it. If they have to render the economy dysfunctional, that is a price worth paying for ideological purity.

Whether or not tomorrow's America will still be divided against itself remains to be seen. Rest assured that the guardian class is not going to go down without a fight.


The Ghost said...

They won't go down without a fight ? I'd be interested where you think they have actually had a fight and won ...

They never debate issues but always attack their opponents as evil racists, bigots, in the pocket of BIG Oil/Pharma/Business ... you name it ...

Look at Global Warming ... there is never a public debate just pronouncements that "the science is settled" ...

No, they can be beaten, you just have to fight them and not turn away when they try and claim the high moral ground by calling you a "bad person" in one form or another ...

They are all users not doers ...

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Where have they had a fight and won?

As I see it, and I probably should have made this clearer, they are running the government. From the White House to the bureaucracy to the Congress, the Ivy League elites are effectively in charge of the country and have been imposing their will on the rest of us... and doing their best to undermine what others have built.

Proud Hindu said...

Ghost, I addressed your comment to me about the need to "get out more" here:

Dennis said...

In a way life starts everyone out with a "tool box" We start out with a few inherent tools. As we progress we pick up tools from our parents, teachers, friends, experiences and others that have an affect upon our life and learning.
Some people get better tools than others, but everyone can build a good life out of the tools they have if they use them constructively and then add other tools. It is not the quality or quantity of tools we possess that ultimately make us into what we are, but how we use them.
Education is one of the tools that can have a great affect on us especially if we are taught how to construct instead of deconstructing things. Unfortunately many educational institutions have loss the ability to produce people who know how to use the tools they gain for that which builds a better society. It is extremely hard to build upon when one is busy destroying that which has served well in the past.
I would argue that the so called critical thinking abilities are of little value without wisdom. They also are not restricted to Ivy League schools. In fact if the graduates of these institutions of higher learning had any real critical thinking abilities they would not create the disasters that they all seem to be so good at. To be a critical thinker one has to delve into all of the permutations and possibilities of any idea. That requires an open mind which seems in many cases not to exist if the current crop of graduates from these schools are any example.
Can one really say that the government is the font of critical thinking? Why does it appear to be the case that many of these disastrous policies are instituted by Ive League graduates or they are making things worse?
The idea that these institutions are producing the best and brightest is pure bunk. How would anyone know if this is all one gets to select?

sex shop discreto said...

To my mind everybody have to browse on it.