” When I speak of elite education, I mean prestigious institutions like Harvard or Stanford or Williams as well as the larger universe of second-tier selective schools, but I also mean everything that leads up to and away from them—the private and affluent public high schools; the ever-growing industry of tutors and consultants and test-prep courses; the admissions process itself, squatting like a dragon at the entrance to adulthood; the brand-name graduate schools and employment opportunities that come after the B.A.; and the parents and communities, largely upper-middle class, who push their children into the maw of this machine. In short, our entire system of elite education.
I should say that this subject is very personal for me. Like so many kids today, I went off to college like a sleepwalker. You chose the most prestigious place that let you in; up ahead were vaguely understood objectives: status, wealth—“success.” What it meant to actually get an education and why you might want one—all this was off the table. It was only after 24 years in the Ivy League—college and a Ph.D. at Columbia, ten years on the faculty at Yale—that I started to think about what this system does to kids and how they can escape from it, what it does to our society and how we can dismantle it. “
Read also Newsweek’s piece on The New Republic’s hypocrisy regarding their hefty percentage of Ivy League staff .
” But if such a student seeks a job at The New Republic, that move won’t be a wise one. We’ve sized up TNR’s lengthy editorial masthead (read: not the business or sales teams) and noticed that 46 out of 91 staffers hold undergraduate or graduate degrees (or both) from an Ivy League institution. Readers who attended a college with a robust core curriculum that forces you to take a math class—Columbia University, for instance—will note that that amounts to more than half of the masthead. Here’s the breakdown.”