- Oct 2017
p. 75 Two interesting points about mismatch between university and students:
(1) Many of the students who are being processed have little inclination or capacity for the rigours of a liberal education. Fine. But I object to the game of pretending that they would be able to achieve liberal goals within the system we offer, if only they tried harder. That is simply not true, and it does bad things to their psyches to encourage them to believe it. It would be far more honest, and I should think more fruitful, to accept most university education as having different aims from the liberal. Once drop that pretence, in both rhetoric and practice, and you could begin meeting the great bulk of students where they actually are.
(2) Some students at least would be capable of an education far superior to the one the system enforces. They are being positively harmed by their university education, since they have to meet its demands before their liberal (and usually private) pursuit begins. (And before you ask, "Why can't the two coincide?" ask a good student how much of the university's instruction moves him toward the first-hand apprehension of his discipline's coherence and beauty.)