5.11.10

UNIVERSITIES ARE FAILING AT THEIR MISSION. Margaret Soltan reviews Craig Brandon's The Five Year Party.
A recovering Keene State University professor, Brandon is angry that so many of our schools just sit there, stewing in 4 Loko, flunkies, and football; he notes that although almost no one learns anything on these campuses, plenty of party school students graduate -- alcoholic, big with debt, and as intellectually null as they were on entry.
Must add this book to the pile of items to review. Regular readers know that universities leave money on the table by succumbing to these temptations, rather than making the effort to be more substantial.

Brandon rages, chapter after chapter, at the waste of money, time, and intellect party schools represent; he's scandalized by the sheer danger of attending them: "[I]f you concentrate five thousand to twenty thousand adolescents in an area of a few acres and figure that about 40 percent of them are intoxicated at any one time, date rape [among many other crimes] is perhaps the inevitable result." He talks about death by fraternity, sadistic fraternities, fraternities that kill. He definitely doesn't like fraternities.

I don't want to seem glib. Brandon's book is right about almost everything - about the mercenary motives of these schools, their demoralized professors and wasted students... But it's wrong about one big thing. Brandon thinks that serious numbers of the parents of these students care. Or that they would care if they knew what he's telling them in his book. His book's rather patronizing subtitle evokes a world of wee ones whom pa and ma are trying to protect...

That's intriguing. Shorter form: the parents are aliterate, ergo it is no surprise that their children are also aliterate.

Stop enabling aliteracy, you'll get less of it.

No comments: