Friday, November 20, 2009

Education, hippies and commies

Iris: This guy is writing about a pipe dream:

Me: True, but it is a good pipe-dream. A well reasoned and researched pipe-dream with a firm empirical basis and deep social wisdom.

Iris: You mean he's a hippy.

Me: Actually, he's the Demography Department Chair at Berkeley.

Iris: Difference?

Prof. Mike Hout's recent piece on Rationing College Opportunity is timely and worth a read. One question he doesn't address, but I will likely write to him and ask: How long does it take for government investment in college level education to budgetarily* repay the government through taxes and avoided expenditures due to all the economic benefits he discusses? I would guess someone has made such an estimate, and if they haven't they certainly should.

The piece was published in The American Prospect. The subtitle of The American Prospect is "Liberal Intelligence" which Iris takes as further proof that only hippies or possibly communists** write for it.

Anyway, Mike writes well and I suggest you give his pipe-dream a read.

* Yes I know that budgetarily isn't a word, but my Grandma Esther, one of the finest kindergarten/1st grade teachers New York City has ever known, told me that because the English Language does so much for us, we have to do what we can for it. Therefore, to her thinking, we have the responsibility not only to use it well, but to give it new words that it should have but somehow doesn't have yet. 'Budgetarily' for example.

** Note that Iris was raised among hippies, and is the only person I know who waxes poetical about Soviet architecture, so she means the terms "communists" and "hippy" in the fondest possible senses. Further note that my Grandma Esther was a socialist with strong communist leanings, and would have agreed with Iris that Prof. Hout sounds like some kind of commie.

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