Saturday, November 18, 2017
Crocodile Tears. . .
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the other 60 or so well endowed institutions who would be affected by this tax have long been bastions of the liberal establishment. While I am sure that you get a decent education there, I am not at all convinced that the education you receive at these elite universities is worth the $60-100K per year tuition, room and board, books, and beer cost. Sure, they have scholarship programs and talk all the time about diversity (and make sure there are enough students who fit the definition to give at least lip service to it). But at what cost? They are like vacuum cleaners sucking up the dollars of people who want their ne'er do well sons and daughters to have an ivy league diploma and have done a highly effective job of making sure every other spare dollar from any donor finds its way into university coffers. They have also done a mighty fine job of making sure government grant monies are well represented among their many sources of income. Perhaps they deserve it. But at what cost?
The American university system has become one of the few places where free speech is in real and immanent danger. It fosters an idea of progressive and liberal values that finds any challenge offensive. It does an excellent job of throwing its weight around even as it raises tuition at a rate faster than any other cost across the vast American landscape. It is already supported by student and parent loans operating under government subsidized or supported programs leaving students and parents in painful debt for a good long time. Can we afford to keep the direct or indirect subsidies going? I don't think so.
It would be different if the educational playing field were fair. It is not. Church run colleges and universities find it hard to compete with cheaper state schools and the more expensive name brand universities. This might not be so bad if it were not that these same schools are threatened with the liberal bias which says no conservative or Christian idea can be left without challenge. My own church body is wrestling with the whole idea of a Christian university and a Lutheran one and if it is even tenable given the nature of culture and politics in America. This left leaning tilt has certainly come as a result of the many on the left who taut their expensive university degrees to narrow the range of what is tolerable in education, business, industry, culture, and religion. They certainly have a right to do this but they do not have a right to be subsidized as they help to squeeze out alternatives from the church or secular viewpoints that disagree.
Call it sour grapes but I think it is not such a bad idea. If we think it a cost too great to bear to allow family businesses of some worth to be passed on to sons and daughters, why do we think that it is not a cost too great to pass down a legacy of elitism that has power greater than its numbers over what happens among us?
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Given the demographics alone, it very likely this country will move further left in the future. The Democrats will continue to call for subsidies and welfare for incoming immigrant populations, and thereby they plan to ensure a predominant voting block to keep them in power. The future for Christian colleges competing against state universities and Ivy League schools remains uncertain. If believing Christians do not step up and support Christian education, more of these schools may close. However, all is not lost if we can work with more determination to keep Christian colleges alive.
State colleges have always been cheaper then private colleges.
That will not change in the future. What will change is the
number of private Christian universities Does the LCMS still
need 10 Concordia Universities? Their original mission was to
prepare church workers and the majority of their students no
longer have that goal. Wisdom dictates that the LCMS resources
will do better with only 5 or 6 Concordia universities.
Pastor Peters wrote:
“While I am sure that you get a decent education there, I am not at all convinced that the education you receive at these elite universities is worth the $60-100K per year tuition, room and board, books, and beer cost.”
Agreed. The same can be said about any university in the USA. The main difference between the elite universities and the non-elite universities is that the elites are able to make sure their children are well provided for with excellent employment prospects after graduation. I often wonder if we are returning to an era (the 1800s?) when only the wealthy attended college.
Pastor Peters wrote:
“Church run colleges and universities find it hard to compete with cheaper state schools and the more expensive name brand universities.“
Agreed. However, state governments give state schools fewer funding dollars each passing year. Eventually, there will be little difference between public versus private except for the fact that public schools are officially state property and that state governments provide university workers pensions.
Pastor Peters wrote:
“My own church body is wrestling with the whole idea of a Christian university and a Lutheran one and if it is even tenable given the nature of culture and politics in America.”
If I were King of the LCMS, I would:
1.) Sell off half of the Concordias. Use the proceeds to build swanky campus religious centers at the larger state schools. Make those religious centers function like as student community centers as well as places of worship. It is possible to keep lifelong LCMSers in the faith and attract converts with a classy and attractive campus religious center. No need to own and run a giant Lutheran university when 1/2 to 3/4 of the Concordia students are proudly non-Lutheran …….
2.) Abandon teaching the first two years of college at the remaining Concordias. The LCMS should acknowledge the fact that community colleges can and will provide the first two years of college at minimal cost. No one cares where a student went to take their general education classes. Don’t fight cheaper community colleges; embrace them. Offer degrees, but accept students beginning in their junior year. Offer masters degrees in specific fields for jobs that actually exist.
3.) Make Seminary education free. Require that graduates must spend 10 years in full time ministry or 20 years in part-time ministry or be forced to pay tuition money back. Why burden future pastors with student loan debt when they average a 30k a year salary?
Want a job after graduation? Major in a job title. Certainly, many Liberal Arts professors will argue that the purpose of an education is to craft a "well rounded individual." All of that rhetoric about "broadening your horizons" and "an Education is something no one can take away" is "nice," but it means nothing to a college graduate forced to live in mom's basement with thousands in student loans that cannot possibly be repaid.
There is no demand in the workplace for Liberal Arts graduates - unless you want to teach.
The Concordias should offer only applied majors. Let the community colleges and other universities teach Liberal Arts and other general education classes. Critics will argue that the Concordia universities will have become four year vocational schools, but so what. At least graduates with such degrees will be in demand in the workplace..... Besides, you really don't need to pay thousands of dollars to someone else to study Shakespeare when you can simply visit the local public library and check out a few books for free.
With online learning available, all Liberal Arts colleges should become two-year institutions. There should be more vocational training in high schools and community colleges to handle the increasing automation of industries. Not all people are suited or have the inclination for universities.
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