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Series | Looking at elite-college admissions, Part 1: The Absurdity of College Admissions

  • How did getting into an elite school become a frenzied, soul-deadening process?
  • This is the first story in a three-part series looking at elite-college admissions.
  • Related: The Arrogant Ignorance of the 'Well-Educated'

Alia Wong, the Atlantic / Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock / the Atlantic

Mar 28, 2016 | Right about now, anxious high-school seniors around the globe are obsessively checking their mailboxes, awaiting decision letters from the U.S.’s elite colleges. For all but a tiny handful of the hundreds of thousands of teenagers who applied—pouring countless hours into agonizing over forms, editing personal essays, sitting through standardized tests, and nervously monitoring their GPA—those letters won’t bear good news.

Acceptance rates at highly selective colleges have plummeted in recent years. Exclusivity has always been baked into their brand: Only about 3 percent of 18-year-olds in the U.S. go to schools that admit fewer than half their applicants, making the “college-admissions mania,” as the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson once put it, “a crisis for the 3 percent.” Still, it’s a mania to which more and more teens are subjecting themselves, pressuring applicants to pad their resumés and tout superficial experiences and hobbies, convincing them that attending a prestigious school is paramount. And critics say that mania has even spread into and shaped American culture, often distorting kids’ (and parents’) values, perpetuating economic inequality, and perverting the role of higher education in society as a whole.

Alia Wong is an associate editor at the Atlantic, where she oversees the education section.

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The Arrogant Ignorance of the 'Well-Educated' Joseph Pearce, Intellectual Takeout

To be “well-educated” is not merely ignorance, it is the arrogance of ignorance.

The Talk

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Devin C. Hughes, Upworthy

March 28, 2016 | A 2007 study by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were about three times as likely to be searched during a traffic stop. Blacks are also twice as likely to be arrested and nearly four times as likely to experience the threat or use of force during interactions with police.

Devin C. Hughes: I'm a speaker, author, and storyteller who works with a variety of leaders, groups, organizations, and teams that have a desire to break down enterprise-wide cultural barriers, improve personal and organizational performance, and enhance communication through greater self-awareness and understanding of one another.

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The Arrogant Ignorance of the 'Well-Educated'

To be “well-educated” is not merely ignorance, it is the arrogance of ignorance.

Joseph Pearce, Intellectual Takeout If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it. 29, 2016 | On more than one occasion my essays for The Imaginative Conservative have been inspired by bumper stickers. Many moons ago, for instance, I wrote “The Wisdom and Wickedness of Women” in response to seeing a bumper sticker declaring that “Well Behaved Women Do Not Make History.” Recently, sitting in traffic, I saw this very same bumper sticker on the car in front of me, beside another which declared the following: “What you call the Liberal Elite, we call being well-educated.” The juxtaposition of these two stickers, carefully selected by the car’s owner to teach me a lesson, set me thinking. I might even say that it taught me a valuable lesson, though not the lesson that my neighbor in the car in front of me meant to teach me.

Let’s take the second bumper sticker first. Clearly designed to offend other motorists, it is supremely supercilious and extremely arrogant. We, the average Joe, whoever we may be, are not as “well-educated” as the royal “we” driving the car in front of us. This pompous “we,” who is presumably a she, presumes that anyone who disagrees with her is poorly educated, whereas she, of course, is well-educated. If we were as well-educated as she, we would agree with her.

Joseph Pearce is an English-born writer, and as of 2014 Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee.

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The Corporatization of Education

  • The Gates Foundation, Arnie Duncan, and Bruce Rauner
  • Notre Dame Prof: Our Schools are Committing ‘Civilizational Suicide’

John Klyczek, Dissident Voice March 11th, 2016 | For over twenty years, former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement for the US Department of Education, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, has been warning us about the coming corporatization of education through fascistic charter school privatization that will be subsidized by public finances. Iserbyt, author of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, has described the charter school takeover, otherwise known as the “school choice” movement, as “[c]ollusion between neoconservatives, corporations, and leftists in education, including former ‘conservative’ Secretaries of Education and the NEA, [which] enabled corporations to take control of American education.”

As a case study, Illinois’ current education debacle proves her predictions accurate.

John Klyczek has an MA in English and is a college English instructor, concentrating on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel, Brave New World. He is also a contributor to the Intrepid Report.

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Notre Dame Prof: Our Schools are Committing ‘Civilizational SuicideDaniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout Kings College Chapel

  • As Alasdair MacIntyre lamented in After Virtue, “[T]he barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.” It’s perhaps too late to avoid a new Dark Age. Now is the time to begin the effort of recovery and rebuilding.
  • What American Education Has in Common with the Dark Ages
  • America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots.