TV scholar

A new reality show called The Scholar will let 15 high school seniors compete for a college scholarship by facing “academic, leadership and other challenges,” reports

“Every student in this country should be entitled to a college education,” (Producers Steve) Martin and (Joan) Stein say in a statement. “With this show, we intend to empower both students and parents with the knowledge that a higher education is realistic and attainable for everyone.”

Prof. Anonymous writes:

I wish that were so, but wishing and reality are two different things. Having just taught at a “university” where a pulse was the de facto admissions requirement, I know what it would be like if “everyone” went to college – without proper preparation.

Also, the show is an elitist competition, and I can’t understand how a competition that eliminates all but the “best” promotes an egalitarian message. It could backfire for viewers who perceive themselves as not being up to the standards set by the contestants.

Higher education is attainable for just about everyone willing to work hard. Generally speaking, however, getting on a TV show is not the best way to qualify for a college scholarship. Watching people on TV is even less effective.

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  1. “Higher education is attainable for just about everyone willing to work hard”

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder if the black contestants will be expected to only obtain 80% of the achievements of white contestants just like the NAACP, CBC, and others wants public universities to treat their current applicants?

  3. Prof. Anonymous wrote:

    Also, the show is an elitist competition, and I can’t understand how a competition that eliminates all but the “best” promotes an egalitarian message.

    And in the spirit of egalitarianism, I’ll be handing out Olympic gold medals to everyone who wants one.

    I’ve just become an Olympic decathalon gold medalist as well as medalling in shot put, 10,000 meter run, dressage and Greco-Roman wrestling.

    It’s difficult to overstate the wonderful effect being a Olympic gold medal possessor has had on my self-esteem.

    But the self-delusion of mere physical perfection is not my ultimate goal. I want to consider myself a well-rounded person. In pursuit of that end I’ve also recently awarded myself a Nobel and a Pulitzer prize.

    Does anyone know where I can get a Doctor of Thinkology degree? Preferably from the Universita Committeeatum E Pluribus Unum.

  4. WADR, the notion that “Every student in this country should be entitled to a college education,” is dangerous poppycock for several reasons, including:
    1) “Entitled”!? Excuse me? On what basis is the person “entitled”? Where do the resources come from to fund this entitlement?
    2) When were the entrance requirements for college reduced to merely having a pulse?
    3) Given a normal distribution of “ability” (used in the sense of conflated intelligence/ambition/discipline), aka “the Bell Curve”, the only way to square this proposed entitlement with reality is to make a (n undergraduate) college degree meaningless.
    4) This proposed entitlement would continue the erosion of high school education and accelerate its descent into the daycare it is rapidly becoming (yes, some students would strive for excellence to attain entry into a top-tier college, but most teachers would have little reason to “push” students to excel: the student need not work or learn in order to go to college.
    5) The real beneficiaries of the entitlement are the college teachers/administrators who would be guaranteed a large and growing PAYING student body.
    6) To keep the funds flowing, colleges will offer degree programs that anyone can pass.
    7) The proposed entitlement will continue the highly-successful long-term migration of education away from “free”, aka primary/secondary, to “fee”, aka college/post-grad. This is great for teachers/administrators, but lousy for students/parents. I would hazard a guess that in terms of general knowledge, a high school degree of fifty years ago (when college was an exception and most high school graduates could expect to enter directly into the workforce) meant more than the average college degree of today. To distinguish themselves from their “college-educated” peers, the best and brightest will be forced to attend graduate school (since businesses will rightly devalue a mere college diploma).
    8) In a related vein, the proposed entitlement will further illustrate the true purpose of a college degree, namely to soak up the middle-class surplus. There can be no other explanation for “colleges” that accept anyone that can pay tuition in exchange and that offer/invent meaningless majors to ensure that at the end of four (or more) full-tuition years, the least capable student will have “earned” a diploma.
    9) Being a college professor, once rightfully perceived as a prestigious position, indicative of knowledge and wisdom, will soon be perceived in the same exalted way we perceive high school teachers today. And for exactly the same reasons.

    Sorry about the rant, but I feel strongly about higher education…the right approach (IMHO) is high and increasing standards at both the high school and college levels (but that is a different rant…)

  5. Many students already view college as an “entitlement.” My husband is a physics professor; I am in the last stages of my astrophysics PhD. He is becoming increasingly frustrated with college teaching. He has found that he cannot assume any of his students have the math background necessary to do physics, even though all of his courses have math prerequisites. He has had students refuse to do course reading or even buy the textbook. Students have come in and demanded higher grades, citing their tuition as a valid reason for a grade hike.

    Expanding the view of college education as an entitlement is bad for both students and teachers. Most professors do not make much money and work long hours. Often they are not treated with respect. Many students call my husband by his first name, despite his repeated requests to be referred to as ‘Prof.’ or ‘Dr.’ or even ‘Mr.’ Increasing the number of students would put further pressure on already-stressed instructors.

    There is a tremendous amount of pressure to bow to student demands in order to secure the favorable evaluations needed for tenure. My husband has made the radical decision not to lower his standards. We have made peace with the decision to leave academia if he is not offered tenure because he expects his senior physics students to know calculus or lab reports to include such details as units on graphs.

    The view of college as an entitlement not harms students by lowering the value of a college degree and surrounding dedicated students with unmotivated classmates; it will eventually drive out the dedicated teachers.

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not “Every high school graduate is entitled to a College education OR a brand new car!”
    I suspect this would be cheaper than an “education” for all, and that it would take a load off the backs of a lot of parents.
    Now how about “every parent deserves a drink?”

  7. The customer is always right–at least on college campuses. It seems that greater and greater numbers of students believe that paying tuition entitles them to an “A” in their classes. Do mediocre work? No problem. Skip class? No problem.

    Perhaps tuition should be charged on a sliding scale. You want an “A” you pay more. Learning no longer seems to be an important part of the process.