Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. A summary of the second paragraph, the naive dreamers favor Mr Obama, realists favor Mr Romney.
  2. Genesis and Sodom … the message (hint: not about sex).
  3. Special you are not.
  4. Unstealthy ninja.
  5. In the strange world of the left, ability to pay is affirmative action.
  6. Not Mr Zimmerman and a different court case.
  7. Some more thoughts on the Zimmerman case.
  8. Good news or not?
  9. The black underbelly of the auto bailout, that it wasn’t an auto bailout.
  10. Well, there is still a chance the Court will kill it.
  11. Cinema.
  12. Marching alongside Obamacare … more nanny state. Yankee self-reliance is dead apparently.

8 Responses to Thursday Highlights

  1. Why yes, I do think that elite colleges hold their admissions out as something you earn via merit, not via bank account. Did you purchase your admission to college? Do you think colleges should just sell off their admission slot (2013 Early Admission Special to Yale! Act now, and it’s only $25,000 for your first year!). Perhaps we can skip this application process at all, and put all the colleges on the Wal-Mart shopping floor — after all, if college admission is something you buy rather than something you earn, why pretend we care about the purchaser.

    College admission is supposed to be meritocratic, this is a deviation from that principle. Wesleyan is favoring wealthy candidates over poorer ones, meaning that presumably poorer ones must be better than wealthier ones on traditional criteria of merit to make up for it. That is a reverse affirmative action program. It just happens to favor people you seem to like (wealthy folks) rather than people you seem to dislike (the poor, racial minorities).

  2. David,
    Through almost all of history universities have had merit requirements and financial requirements, i.e., you had to be academically fit and had to pay for your tuition and lodging. Apparently you are unaware of this. For a short time in the last part of the prior century institutes of higher learning attempted to do away with financial requirements. This short term situation has confused you into thinking that’s both how its always been and is the only correct path. College has always been a mix of merit and money.

    Both of my kids are looking towards junior college for two years and then two years of a four year school because I cannot afford for both of them the tuition. When I went to school tuition at the U of Chicago was under 8k per year. Now it is above 50k. My parents noted if it cost that much when I went to school I would not have gone there.

    Apparently I am one of the people I dislike.

  3. Apparently so indeed. Look, you can say it’s fine for colleges to prefer wealthier applicants over poorer ones, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a preference. Wealthy students have an advantage in the admissions process, which presumably compensates for some amount of deficiency elsewhere in their application. It doesn’t surprise me that this is an advantage they’ve historically enjoyed as well — that this policy is a throwback to the Gilded Age is a bug, not a feature.

    It’s also worth noting that electing not to attend a college because of cost is a different question from them not admitting you because of your financial background. If I’m a poor student who has excelled academically such that I’m academically worthy of admission to Wesleyan, but decide “nope — too spendy. I’m going to go someplace cheaper”, that’s my call. But if I do apply to Wesleyan, then I’d be pretty peeved if they said “you’re a great student but we were looking for someone, you know, richer.”

  4. David,

    Look, you can say it’s fine for colleges to prefer wealthier applicants over poorer ones, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a preference.

    I can say it would be fine not to own a Bugati or a pony …. and oddly enough I have a preference for not owning things I can’t afford. You apparently think differently.

    History again? The gilded age was the late 19th century … newsflash, the university system began somewhat earlier … even in the States, although perhaps you are aware that universities predated the late 19th century. Actually I didn’t realize they were quite as early as they were. I thought they started in about the 13th century but wiki informs that the University of Bologna began in about 1050 (U of Paris shortly after that). This predates the “Gilded age” but just a few years. And the notions that at elite schools would open their doors without regard to ability to pay came significantly after the end of the gilded age.

    But if I do apply to Wesleyan, then I’d be pretty peeved if they said “you’re a great student but we were looking for someone, you know, richer.”

    But let me get this straight. You’d prefer that colleges not look at your finances during the admissions process. You’d prefer knowing you got in but later had to decline because you couldn’t afford it, i.e., yes you’re in Wesleyan … we can give you 8k/year scholarship so your annual tuition + room/board + books will come to only 55k/year. What? Can’t afford it. Sorry, we didn’t want to consider that prior to your admissions … but too bad. Nice knowing you. That is, to you, what advantage? What benefit does a student have knowing he had the grades and test scores to get in but couldn’t afford it? How is that any better?

    It seems to me your definition of “affirmative action” is any criteria that isn’t based on grades and test scores. Did you know that theaters, airplanes, and auto dealerships also use the same affirmative action for the rich? You can’t fly, go to a show, or do any of those things even if you merit going to them (or owning that car) if you lack that ability to pay part. You might be a great driver, but without the ability to pay … you can’t drive. Affirmative action fer the rich in action. Although the rest of the world (and likely you yourself) oddly enough don’t think that is affirmative action. Why might that be?

    Wander over to the econ department … they’ll tell you the problems with making expensive items free by fiat.

  5. You have got to be kidding me. Yes, I would prefer to be admitted to Wesleyan and decide for myself whether I can attend (and it is the right choice for me to attend) based on the financial aid package offered than to not be admitted at all and not have that choice. I cannot believe you actually believe the opposite in absence of cantankerous contrarianism.

    Affirmative action is the use of non-traditional indicia of merit in making meritocratic decisions. As a concept, it doesn’t make sense in forums that don’t hold themselves out as meritocratic (e.g., market transactions). Collegiate admissions isn’t a market environment, it’s a meritocratic environment. If you want to switch it to a market environment where I just go to the grocery store and buy admission (“One Yale, please”), come out and say it. Or I guess you could also say “look, life was fairer and better in the Feudal era. I want to go back to there.” Either way, it’s a crank opinion.

  6. David,
    Well, at first I was going to object that would make for frivolous entries … but that can be handled easily enough by making the cost of application high enough to pay for the trouble of filtering those entries from students who could never afford going anyhow.

    Collegiate admissions isn’t a market environment, it’s a meritocratic environment. [...]
    If you want to switch it to a market environment where I just go to the grocery store and buy admission (“One Yale, please”), come out and say it.

    Read back on my remarks. I’ve said it’s both and you’ve apparently missed that. Cost and merit both figure in to whether you can attend a school. I’ve said that from the start. You’re sounding the crank here not me. For a short time we had the notion we could afford to send everyone to school anywhere regardless of ability to pay. That bubble is popping as we speak. You can keep dreaming or pull your head out of the sand and wake up now.

    I suppose that’s why the left is the “and a pony please” party.

  7. You continue to inflate “can attend” and “is admitted”. As it happens, I do think colleges should strive to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need, but that’s a separate commitment — a college can do its admissions need-blind and then say “but the onus is on you to figure out how to pay for it.” Maybe an admittee won’t be able to. Maybe he will — work two jobs, take out loans, get an external scholarship, fundraise in his community, you know — shoulder to the wheel, pull up by your bootstraps. The point is, he gets agency. And even if we can’t meet 100% of demonstrated financial need, pro-wealth affirmative action is a gratuitous step against meritocratic institutions and equality of opportunity — it saves at most a trivial sum of money in service of plutocracy and paternalism.

    The good news is I never have to hear Mark say “but what about the children of Appalachean miners” ever again, given that he endorses colleges just refusing to admit them at all.

  8. David,
    One thing that occurred to me this may be a semantic difficulty surrounding admissions. “Considering finances” in admissions back in the day meant after you were admitted no matter your financial circumstances the admissions/aid folks would find a way, via grants, loans and work-study to get you into school and that the admissions committee wouldn’t consider budget nor your ability to pay in considering you. It seems to me quite likely that Wesleyan (and likely soon more and more schools) are going to take a more reasonable stance, that you might be admitted but that doesn’t mean you will be attending … anymore.

    Maybe he will — work two jobs, take out loans, get an external scholarship, fundraise in his community, you know — shoulder to the wheel, pull up by your bootstraps.

    And raise $200k. Right. Dream on. You figure that kid will work 60-80 hour a week and take on a full school load. Y’all used to call yourself the reality based party. I’m glad you’ve decided that was something we’ll never ever have to hear again.

    The good news is I never have to hear Mark say “but what about the children of Appalachean miners” ever again, given that he endorses colleges just refusing to admit them at all.

    I see you’ve failed to read my last post where I conceded at meaningless admissions were probably not costly and not a problem. You do realize that will raise the costs of applications … but you’re probably good with that.

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