Consider higher education

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”
—Mark Twain.

This quote comes to mind in light of the recent media flurry over the UNR (and other) commencement ceremonies being held throughout the Truckee Meadows.

Ironically, your host is frequently taken to task by some of the more conservatively challenged readers in the peanut gallery, many of whom just happen to be UNR students. (Or, worse, faculty.) For some inexplicable reason, they feel compelled to mention that fact. (As if the ending “” in the email address wouldn’t have clued me in to something.)

Now, I recognize that everyone has a right to an opinion. However, recognize that the rest of us don’t think you any more “enlightened” by being either an academic or an aspiring one. As for the students, first recognize that you have a serious credibility problem with me. Namely, that being called a “moron"—from someone whose sum total life experience is that of figuring out how to party and get laid—isn’t about to get me to rethink my rightness. Furthermore, before outright dismissing the assertions frequently contained herein, consider practicing some of that liberal “tolerance” I hear so much about but rarely see.

For example, who can forget the gay, lesbian and transgender group of students who exhibited such tolerance by intentionally blocking other students’ access to military recruiters on campus last fall. Can’t beat that for outright tolerance, now, can you? (Not to mention that annoying your average military recruiter doesn’t exactly smack of “intelligence,” academic or otherwise, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.)

Problem two is that your “educational” setting is about as far removed from reality as one can get without the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Socialist concepts like tenure aren’t found in abundance in the real world. My best college (and law school) professors all had one thing in common: They all had sideline gigs as outside consultants to private businesses. In short, their theories actually had practical applications that worked in the real world or at least were viable enough for private enterprise to consider them. So before you advocate a 30-hour work week, 72 months of paid maternity leave, six weeks of paid vacations, medical care for all and an end to homelessness, poverty, illness and pollution, perhaps you might demonstrate your ability to successfully run a convenience store first?

And of course, when it comes to tolerance at the academic level what do we get?

Oh yes. At Harvard University last year, a bunch of snooty professors got their pantyhose all in a bunch when then-President Lawrence Summers suggested that there might be “inherent differences between men and women” while attempting to explain the lack of female professors in math and sciences. You’d have thought he suggested women should stay home barefoot and pregnant. Despite umpteen “apologies” for offending the delicate sensibilities of your average Harvard professor, Summer’s crucification led to Harvard dumping $50 million into a recruiting program, to hire and retain more women faculty in the math and sciences.

How’s that for a practical example of running a business? Oh that’s right. Harvard isn’t run like a business anymore than Nevada’s university system is. That would perhaps help explain why fully one-third of Nevada students on the Millennium Scholarship program require remedial classes.

Of course, your average business person might suggest that the target market for the “education business” might actually be “qualified” college applicants.

Then again, the intelligentsia aren’t interested in the business of educating students. It’s about all those tax dollars they can suck up. Which perhaps leads us back to Twain’s admonition.