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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 9, 2009 3:24 PM. The previous post in this blog was Much better by day. The next post in this blog is Big game tonight. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reed as poster child

And the hard times are documented in the Times, no less.

Comments (33)

Boo hoo.

Most colleges these days, including Reed, are factories, run like businesses. it's romantic to paint them otherwise. especially grad schools.

kids, here's some advice--stop worrying about which college to go to. just go, and think for yourself. those instructors at Reed? instructors with the same background and same passion and skill are working elsewhere. that mysterious "quality" that places like Reed tout (and charge upwards of a year's middle class wage for for each year) is largely a myth. a perception. a fantasy.

and: stop mortaging the rest of your financial life on whether or not you get to put a specific college on your resume. unless, of course, that's the main reason you're going in the first place.

and if you don't believe any of that, consider this: the majority of those writers, philosophers, and thinkers you're going to study?

they never went to college.

"the majority of those writers, philosophers, and thinkers you're going to study?"

Demonstrably wrong.

Demonstrably wrong.

Then demonstrate.

Reed does have its very own nuclear reactor, though, which is pretty cool.

$50,000 a year to go to a school like Reed seems way out of whack to me. I'd never fork over that kind of money for one of my kids to go to Reed. I might be willing to come up with that sum for one of my kids to go to a real school like MIT, but only if the kid really had his head on straight.

From what I've seen over the years, only a small percent of the population is worth investing $50K a year into at age 18. Lots of kids are going to be just fine heading to a State school or even a PSU type of place for a couple of years to see if they're college material. I hate to think of the number of kids sitting around at Reed smoking dope while mom and dad are on the hook for 50 grand per year.

...or shooting up, running around nekkid, eating shrooms, reading Kafka, acting like they'll get a job using their degree. Ack.

We should be giving more support and promotion to high schools like Benson and craft and guild schools that turn out graduates who will almost certainly never have to worry about their practical jobs being outsourced.

There was a time when one's father or uncle was actually handy, knew how to make and fix things and passed that knowledge down to kids and grandkids. Lots of folks have managed comfortably as electricians, plumbers, engineers after having gone through an apprenticeship program or programs.

They are more likely to be gainfully employed than someone with a bachelors or masters in religious theology, gender politics or (these days) . . . even one of the raft of MBA degree holders.

The idea that every American high school graduate should aspire to a 4-year college education is just plain wrong. In fact, many high schoolers would be less bored and disruptive and better served if they were able to branch out into a working/learning craft or guild program that would give them a solid foundation in the working world.

Some students who have high need and outstanding credentials potentially end up spending way less at a prestigious private school than they do at a local state school. Obviously, endowments are taking big hits in the markets these days, and some schools (especially on the West Coast) aren't able to be as generous as they had in the past. The consequence of this is that these schools become bastions of a wealthy elite and the gap between the haves and have nots widens further and further. Schools back East traditionally have much larger endowments and offer much, much more financial aid. Yale considers a family "needy" if they make less than $200,000 a year. Many of the Ivy's, Stanford, MIT and elite liberal arts colleges are the same way, and a family with an income below $100,000 pays very little. My approach with my high school junior has been to push him towards schools that have money to give away. If he doesn't get in then, it's U of O all the way because I'm sure as hell not paying for a second tier type private college. Reed is a great school with an outstanding track record for turning out top notch graduates, and if 50K a year was something I could afford I would gladly pay for him to go there. I think it is true that you can get a great education at our public universities if you are motivated, but you can't beat a deluxe near-free ride at an elite private school if you can land one.

$50,000 a year to go to a school like Reed seems way out of whack to me.

Well, the point of the article is, the people who can't afford to pay $50K/year aren't going to be getting the chance to go to places like Reed, because the grants that made it possible for them to go there are no longer available.

And while it's true that a Reed degree is no magic bullet for success, it can certainly open some doors in life beyond college, if you play it right and meet the right people. When only the children of the rich can afford to go to places like Reed, some of the doors that should be open to everyone just aren't.

There's no good reason people should be charged for higher education. It should be funded with taxes as it is in most civilized countries. The private university/college model is a(nother) failure.

In addition to the usual selling points — leafy campus, priced to exclusivity, Jobs once attended, unconventional attitude, etc. — the article depicts the decision-makers as truly, earnestly idealistic and yet courageous enough to make the hard decisions.
All in all an excellent piece of publicity of Reed.

"For," rather.

When only the children of the rich can afford to go to places like Reed, some of the doors that should be open to everyone just aren't.

depends on your definition of "door", I think, and whether or not you view college as a means to an end (e.g., "specific career"), or an end in itself.

There's no good reason people should be charged for higher education.

there's no way to do it for free without radically (and I mean radically) changing the model. universities are infrastructure-heavy behemoths that eat a lot just to stay in existence. and if it were "free", you'd still pay, with tax.

and places like Reed? the vast majority of college grads don't go places like that. and they're still running the world.

a recent example of someone who did go someplace like that? George W. Bush., Yale '68.

all of this to say: it's the student, not the school. always.

I love that Willamette University was her safety.

Makes me think of my favorite Elaine Bennis line, "Tufts was my SAFETY!"

Yeh, "people shouldn't be charged for higher education", in fact a high school D student should be admitted equally to an A student. Everything should be equal and fair and past performance should have no bearing on picking the winners.

in fact a high school D student should be admitted equally to an A student.

Is that the best you've got? Take a concept, replace it with another one, and argue that?

$50,000 a year to go to a school like Reed seems way out of whack to me.

Most students don't pay full freight at these schools. The point of the article is that the schools are having to make more admission decisions based on ability to pay, which sucks for both the school and the students who no longer get in because they don't make enough or can't afford to go.

Usual Kevin is right that many students end up paying less at high-priced, prestigious schools than they do at state schools. And given the continued lack of state funding for Oregon's state schools, it's pretty hard to make the argument that you're getting an equivalent education.

I know a Stanford alumnus that graduated with a 3.9 GPA a few years ago. He's currently employed at a car dealership alongside community college dropouts. Three cheers for the Ivy League!

"I love that Willamette University was her safety."

----

I read it that she went to Willamette due to cost (although 'safety' could've been in the academic sense). Cost (ie ROI) should always be a consideration, in everything.

The Univ of Chicago GSB (now Booth) MBA program was/is ranked #1 in the nation by Bizweek, above Harvard, Stanford and MIT. But when factoring in the ROI, it came in last (#61 out of 61). The ROI was calculated as: cost of MBA versus delta of salary before and after your MBA (the return). In part because of the high salaries they bring into the program.

The Chicago School: quantify everything!

depends on your definition of "door", I think, and whether or not you view college as a means to an end (e.g., "specific career"), or an end in itself.

Who views college as an end in itself? It's a place to learn things that you use in your life after college. It's a place to meet people with whom you share personal and professional goals. It's preparation (presumably) for your years after college, whether that's grad school, a career, or whatever.

Those kids that were turned away are lucky. They won't end up dying with a needle in their arm or have their lives destroyed by Reed's tolerance of heavy drug and alcohol abuse.

Those kids that were turned away are lucky. They won't end up dying with a needle in their arm or have their lives destroyed...

Sure they are, because there's no other college in the world where students abuse alcohol or other drugs. Wasn't Animal House inspired by life at Reed? And didn't it lead to a rebirth of the fraternity and sorority party life on the Reed campus, with the attendant puking, date rape, and alcohol poisoning?

Or maybe I'm just remembering living on Van Buren in Corvallis in 1979.

Who views college as an end in itself?
I did.

Recognizing future shock as a real threat caused me to learn how to adapt to re-educating myself.
I didn't graduate. Not even from Reed.

No regrets, I enjoy a very different perspective on things now.

Those kids that were turned away are lucky. They won't end up dying with a needle in their arm or have their lives destroyed by Reed's tolerance of heavy drug and alcohol abuse.

Tolerance is not a substitute for free will. I'm sure parents would like to believe their sons and daughters just passed out and somehow drugs fell into their mouths. Students who want to do drugs will find them. The school is not at fault for student drug use regardless of the level of enforcement.

Weak enforcement also has societal benefits from a public health perspective. If on-campus drug use is tolerated, then campus safety is going to be called quickly and students will get medical care. Compare this with zero-tolerance schools which encourage ODs not to call for help and die quietly in their dorm rooms.


Reed is virtually unique in raising students' set point for what they can accomplish. Putting aside faculty quality or whether it's worth the tuition cost, the Reed student body is virtually unique in their willingness to work hard. One Reed professor I spoke to said that he stayed at Reed because if he assigned 300 pages of reading, every student in the class would try to get the reading done, and that he had never seen that at any other schools he taught at. In one class I took, I spent over twenty hours a week in the group study room along with 75% of the class. I often saw research-grade problems on tests or homework. I experienced high expectations routinely at Reed and never before or afterward. This creates ambitious students and explains the disproportionate number of PhDs, Rhodes scholars, etc awarded to Reed graduates. This situation requires a certain kind of student to work and is very sensitive to the mix of admitted students. I worry that they are tinkering with the admittances based on financial aid.

Sure, they work hard at Reed but what do they really learn from all that hard work? How to distingush early English poets from one another? That plus $4 will get you a fancy coffee served up by a Reed grad.

Wow Eco, you really are shoveling it today aren't you?

and places like Reed? the vast majority of college grads don't go places like that. and they're still running the world.

Demonstrably false. Look at the educational resumes at any of the Fortune 500 executives, the Cabinet, most of the senior executive service in the US government, top law firms etc etc etc

and if you don't believe any of that, consider this: the majority of those writers, philosophers, and thinkers you're going to study?

they never went to college.

Demonstrably wrong--though you made the claim and apparently don't care to back it up.

Here's one from art: http://academic.reed.edu/art/courses/art301s09/

Here's one from sociology: http://academic.reed.edu/sociology/faculty/schneiberg/courses/soc311_syllabus.pdf

Here's one from Biology: http://academic.reed.edu/biology/courses/BIO332/syllabus.html

In FACT (not BS) the overwhelming majority of work read by students was not just written by people who went to college but people who had doctorates.

OMG it keeps coming:

Wasn't Animal House inspired by life at Reed?

There is this amazing thing, darrell, it's called the Internet. And another tool called "Google". If you type "Animal House inspiration" into this thing called the "search engine" you'll quickly find out that the inspiration for Animal House was, to quote:

The screenplay was adapted by Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller and Harold Ramis from stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon magazine based on his experiences in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth College, as well as Ramis's experiences in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sure, they work hard at Reed but what do they really learn from all that hard work? How to distingush early English poets from one another?

Um, you do know that Reed has a fairly well-regarded science program, don't you? A higher percentage of its biology undergrads go on to get Ph.D.s than at MIT or Princeton. Ditto for math. It ranks better than Princeton (and just under MIT) for physics and physical sciences. (According to ten years of data from 95 to 04 from the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium.)

I'd be the last person to say that Reed was a perfect institution, and would hardly claim that my degree in English literature has made it possible to "distingush [sic] early English poets from one another" (for one, I don't much care for poetry) but if you're so ignorant about the school that you think they teach nothing but literature and art, then you should probably just quit now.

Yes, paul g., it does keep coming.

There's this other amazing thing called "sarcasm"; the kind of thing that leads one to suggest that drugs are only found at one school, that a school with no Greek fraternity system inspired a movie about sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the Greek fraternity system, etc.

I could say I learned about sarcasm at Reed, but I was exposed to it at a much younger age in the pages of MAD Magazine and similar publications. You should pick up a copy. It's truly an education.

Demonstrably false. Look at the educational resumes at any of the Fortune 500 executives, the Cabinet, most of the senior executive service in the US government, top law firms etc etc etc

no, you look at them. and count.

then, go and look and the rest of the world, where the majority of people live and go to school.

you did catch the "world" part of "running the world", didn't you? and you do know that the vast majority of people "running the world" aren't in the US?

In FACT (not BS) the overwhelming majority of work read by students was not just written by people who went to college but people who had doctorates.

like Twain? Poe? Da Vinci? Socrates? Plato? *Einstein*? Foucault? Newton? Kepler? Abraham Lincoln? Jefferson? Emerson? Faulkner? Benjamin Franklin? Hemingway? Steve Jobs? Bill Gates? Henry Ford? John D. Rockefeller? Schwarzenegger? Gandhi? Thomas Edison? the creator of Facebook? the Wright Brothers? Ted Turner?

none of those graduated Ivy League schools, or private schools like Reed. most never went to college at all.

but heck--surely none of those are "work read by students" in college literature, philosophy, science, business, government, or art. surely none of those wield any power in the world.

we can make lists all day. my point was--the vast majority of those responsible for what the world is today didn't graduate from an Ivy league school, or a prestigious private college like Reed. many never went to college at all.

so, while you're typing on your computer, using an operating system from a company founded and ran by a college dropout (Windows or Mac), step back and see the big picture.

Times are tough all around.

Reed students might have to scale back on the communism and try to compensate with more atheism and free love.

Eco,

The incoherence of your responses astounds me for one who usually write intelligent commentary.

In your first posting, you wrote: and if you don't believe any of that, consider this: the majority of those writers, philosophers, and thinkers you're going to study?

they never went to college.

The next poster said "demonstrably false" which you failed to demonstrate.

I did demonstrate by listing some actual college syllabi which show you are wrong.

Your rejoinder? A list of names that you pulled out of your ass. John Rockefeller? Steve Jobs? Arnold Schwarzenegger????

These are your "philosophers and thinkers" that you think students study?

Wow. That was an awesome list. I'll run right out and buy their books.

(By the way, I assume you are now moving the goal posts from your original claim about college and substituting PhD, since most of the folks on your list did, in fact, attend college.)

The fact remains: the vast majority of "philosophers and thinkers" and scientists and writers and scholars that are read by most students in most colleges and universities do, in fact, have Doctoral or equivalent degrees.

--

Darrell, sorry to miss the sarcasm.


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