Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

A narrow and dated view of college [Letter]

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s most recent column ("College: where kids become leftists," May 28) is a perfect exemplar of the necessity some folks feel to firmly grasp tradition in the face of progressive change. The entire column, with its many pointed claims and overt jabs to entire groups and cultures, can be boiled down to the sentiment of "What my family and ancestry have done for years is the only worthwhile field of study and all others must be neglected."

I'm originally from an upper-middle class neighborhood in the Catonsville area and currently I am third-year student studying education at a Yonkers, N.Y.-based liberal arts college, Sarah Lawrence College, a school that if Mr. Ehrlich knew much about would probably make his stomach turn. Although Mr. Ehrlich acknowledges a very real and daunting circumstance of higher level education in which graduates face "not enough jobs and too much debt," he neglects to see the road map which has led to academia embracing certain values that tend to, depending on the institution where the individual is enrolled, be construed as "leftist."

The subjects Mr. Ehrlich cites as being "uber-left" and "indoctrinating" our precious youth are have been extensively studied through a multitude of internationally-based research organizations and scientific journals across the globe. If it was up to me to decide if I'd choose to side with the traditional values my parents endorse (who, by the way, the writer claims are the real victims in this indoctrination scheme) or the dynamic values a society acquires and subsequently embraces through intensive research and experimentation, sometimes facilitated over decades if not centuries of time, I'd choose those values with greater noticeable impact.

Education can lead to tremendous work and inspire some of the most innovative and creative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. If approached within Mr. Ehrlich's vision, however, schools would most likely become industrial farms pumping out a work force in America that doesn't acknowledge the dismal, sometimes life-threatening, conditions to which they might be subjected. In the words of educational and political philosopher Paolo Friere, "Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

Although I agree with Mr. Ehrlich on the vast over-emphasis on collegiate education maintaining its place in society as a privilege not a right, thus leading to greater levels of student-loan debt, I believe he's misguided on the foundations of higher level learning and the work academics have accomplished to get our schools to this point. There's still so much more work to do, however, and to imply we should favor a system that dismisses the advances we've made to this point is dangerous. Instead of reverting back to a time where unproven tradition trumps observed successes, we should champion the success we've made to this point and vow to push for more substantive research and results in the future.

Brady Wheeler

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • American values under Obama

    American values under Obama

    Two columns ago, I passed on a series of political observations from the heartland. Today, a snapshot of American values and viewpoints a decade and a half into the "new" millennium.

  • Ehrlich too negative, too partisan

    Ehrlich too negative, too partisan

    Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s cocky and aggressive partisanship make it evident why he couldn't govern effectively in Annapolis and was not re-elected for a second term ("Why Obama is viewed as weak," Nov. 30).

  • Ehrlich rants an embarrassment

    Ehrlich rants an embarrassment

    Not quite 10 years ago when I moved to Baltimore from a D.C. suburb, I made the decision to switch from The Washington Post to The Baltimore Sun for my daily news read. Ever since, I have had the paper delivered to my home on a daily basis. Even as it has gone down hill in content over that time....

  • Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]

    Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]

    It's the political season, which explains another column of "Things That Bug Me." Herewith my latest list for your consideration:

  • Respect the power of the pardon [Commentary]

    Respect the power of the pardon [Commentary]

    "[O]ne man appears to be a more eligible dispenser of the mercy of government, than a body of men."

  • Why Obama is viewed as weak

    Why Obama is viewed as weak

    Two recent Presidential pronouncements reflect the essential Barack Obama. Each also explains why so many view him to be the weakest of American presidents.

  • Unforced errors or tactical mistakes?

    Unforced errors or tactical mistakes?

    Political pundits like to label gratuitous political gaffes as "unforced errors" — mistakes that come out of right field without warning or reason.

  • Ehrlich's 'cult of anti-Obamaism'

    Ehrlich's 'cult of anti-Obamaism'

    Though I am 1960s retread boomer and unrepentant liberal who usually disagrees commentator Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., I read his column regularly. No surprise that he recently panned Obamacare — again — but what I never hear from Republicans is the Plan B, i.e., how we deal with the 40 million Americans...

Comments
Loading
74°