Six years ago, in 2008, Deresiewicz participated in a Yale Admission’s process lasting all day to choose which applicants to admit. Even though this was only one day’s experience in the admissions process, it had a very strong effect on him and it appears to be the start of his upset with the Ivy League.
He began to formulate a belief which has come from many of his own students, hundreds of young people with whom he has spoken or those who have written him. This is all anecdotal to be sure, since he does not give us any valid documentation, impartial studies, nothing to give his words more credibility. Nonetheless he concludes “our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented, and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”
He defines “elite education’’ to mean prestigious schools like Harvard, Stanford or Williams, as well as the larger universe of second-tier selective schools—but not Yale or his alma mater Columbia. Why? He also includes all the private and affluent public high schools, tutors, consultants, test-prep courses, brand name grad schools and the jobs that come afterward, and even the parents who push their kids in this direction.
At least, he does admit his personal attitude about this subject—he went off to the best college that would take him like a “sleepwalker.”
I think he just woke up to the discomfort with the business he was involved in, and to put it charitably, would like to see this system become less elite and more democratic, but offers us nothing as options.
Here is a very thoughtful refutation of William Deresiewicz article—a Harvard take-down you might call it.
I believe the author Priyanka Menon, displays the kind of education one can achieve at an Ivy---the ability to carefully weigh the points this professor makes, showing their flaws and essentially showing us how he misses making a really good argument---so I’m even more in favor of what is taught there.
What do you think about the ex Yale Professor’s comments or the Harvard student, Priyanka Menon’s rebuttal?
Do you agree or disagree with either one? Do you have another point of view? If so, please share it.
Original article is here: