It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

William Deresiewicz, Problems With The Education System from a Yale Professor

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 02:33 PM
Listening to William Deresiewicz on the Bryan Callen podcast, of which I am now a big fan. During the podcast he starts off with the subject of college. What he says is that college are very good at training successful professionals. Says there is nothing wrong with that but that successful professionals isn't all we need. We need more then that.

He says that college should be an open ended process. That students shouldn't know where they are going to end in four years because students are only 18 and have no real world experience and that they should be figuring it where they want to go.

Callen Podcast

As a Professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz became concerned by what had happened to America’s education. More than anything, he found that rather than turning out leaders was turning out a bunch of mindless followers. In his book, Excellent Sheep Deresiewicz lays out how the nation’s best universities are miseducating our youth to be so obsessed with achieving success at all costs that we end up with politicians and business leaders who are selfish and complacent.

So he's a professor at Yale. He's biting the hand that feeds and I can honestly say I whole hearted agree with his position.

Is this one of the biggest underlying factor in how the new corporate paradigm is cutting at all cost without regard to the overall health of their employees and the nation at large?

He goes on to talk about how the elite universities are networking schools for the elites to meet other elites and maintain control over the corporate grid. Also he touches on the subject of why kids in these universities have entitlement issues.

Worth the listen.

Talks about how some of the brightest minds in his university are lost, how they lack critical thinking skills and direction.

edit on 9/28/2014 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 02:41 PM
a reply to: onequestion

I watched this happen with tons of smart, well meaning kids in my town (my town is almost nothing but the elite privileged and entitled). Could have been me too but I didn't buy in.

Great post. Great video. It's the core of the all our problems. The people with the power to enact change are brainwashed to preserve the status quo.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 02:46 PM
a reply to: tavi45

I'm from an economically depressed area that's getting to almost the same level as Detroit. Crime is crazy here too. Houses sell cheap.

So I can deal with my hypothesis based on the observations I have in the corporate world working these people and observing how they think.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:01 PM

They beat the spirit out of these kids to get their resumes built to get their kids out to these elite colleges so theat turn out to be this bubble of wealth and elitism and protectionism they are told that they never can fail.

Quote from the video. ^^^

More support.

No one wants to talk about it though because the blame game is more the status quo these days then an intelligent look at the reality of the situation.
edit on 9/28/2014 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:06 PM
a reply to: onequestion

My town is the definition of the American dream. Lots of pretty white pocket fence houses and a bunch of multi million dollar mansions. Great schools. Negligible crime.

I teach for a living and these kids are indoctrinated. Most of them plan on being bankers and businessmen. Even at age 5 they already are racist and classist.

Even the intelligent and well meaning ones rarely escape. They don't know about Western imperialism or institutionalized poverty/racism. They spout the same things their parents say. Muslims/blacks/gays etc. Are just bad people and deserve everything they get.

Just yesterday I taught a wildly intelligent kid (at 8th grade he outperforms the instructors once given the knowledge) about the Opium War. He'd never even heard of it. He was riveted by the idea that the British used drugs to force their way into a stable country.

The kids around here are mostly good kids but they're taught not only to be bad people but also that they should feel justified by it. We had an Indian instructor for most of this year who the kids loved and when he went off to college he was replaced by a different Indian guy. The kids thought it was hilarious to call the new guy the old ones name just because they were both Indian. One of the sweetest girls I teach asked the new guys ethnicity and he said Indian and Pakistani and at the mention of Pakistan she said "I'm scared". I asked why and she said she never heard of Pakistan. The elites in America have set fear of outsiders and the unknown as a trait to be desired. They are taught to care only about themselves. It's very sad.

I do what I can to enlighten and inform but it's very difficult because one step too far and I know I'll be taken out. My boss can't afford to protect us from vengeful upper class white folk and their lawyers so we have to tiptoe around everyone.

I live in the shadow of the American ruling class and it's absolutely frightening how devoid of compassion and understanding they are.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:19 PM
a reply to: tavi45

I appreciate your post.

Does this pattern foretell the future class wars?

Luckily right now in American society these neighborhoods are the minority. I wonder though are kids on the other end of the spectrum learning in a similar fashion or are they more attuned to growing economic disparity and the coming state of totalitarianism, which is evident I your perspective.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:27 PM
a reply to: tavi45

I thought this guys point was that schools are screwing up our kids.. But you say kids are screwed up before they get to school.
I know that schools are just factories where kids learn to regurgitate facts. Any critical thinking is discouraged. That is taught at home, but so are the things you see in your job. What else can you expect? The way they do things has worked for them so they pass that knowledge onto their children.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:38 PM
a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

So there's more to it?

What your saying is the parents learned the same thing and now pass that lesson down to their kids because what they see for themselves was the success they gained from it and schools are just enforcing this lesson?

That's kind of a cycle that has been lobbied for and naught out by the oil companies and other corporate giants, the common core crowd?
edit on 9/28/2014 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:49 PM
a reply to: onequestion

When something works why change it? People are creatures of habit.

A 5 year old kid was not born racist or with a inherited hatred for cops, they are taught these traits. If schools could really change the way people feel, no kids would ever drink or take drugs. Parents or lack of parents are the biggest influence.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 03:51 PM
a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

But they do because they will do anything for success because that's what put into the back of their mind by everyone from day one.

So they will bend for it.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 04:05 PM

You'd have to listen to this.

This a a discussion with the university about admissions and how they can change this paradigm.

Very important discussion everyone should be interested in this topic.

posted on Sep, 28 2014 @ 05:31 PM
The parallels with previous bloated empires are striking in my many different fields beside education....
The Elite and their offspring strangle the rest of society much like a cowbird chick strangles the competing chicks in the nest in which the mother cowbird leaves it by demanding and receiving the lions share of everything......
Where do people think these entitled arseholes descend from?
I believe we could have a lot more sensible equity sharing arrangement....

posted on Sep, 29 2014 @ 12:39 AM
a reply to: onequestion

There are small hints of it. I live on the edge of the town where it borders a mid sized city. This city has been gentrifying heavily over the last ten or fifteen years.

I was smoking in my car late one night in my driveway and got freaked out when the lights in my mom's car flipped on. My first thought was ghost lol. I looked over and there was a 20 or so year old black kid in a hoodie rifling through the car. This is a problem so common over the last few years that the cops plastered their cars with reminders to lock your car.

Right around the same time another black kid walked right into a house in the middle of the day startling the homeowner who was napping. This stuff was unheard of five years ago.

The gentrification of the city is the most likely cause as apartments in my area are so expensive I can't afford one even with a roommate. The lower income blacks Hispanics and eastern Europeans get pushed out and the higher costs of living drive these kids to come to my town looking for stuff to steal.

The saddest part is the actually super rich in my town live deep in the interior or on small islands and peninsulas so the people they target are mostly middle or upper middle class. It's a shame that institutionalized poverty and racism keep the American dream out of reach of all but the most hardworking and fortunate souls.

Education is but a symptom of the problem. The privileged mostly go to private or parochial schools while public school systems wallow. The rich pay for tutor like myself because they are too lazy to help their kids with school. Working class/ poor families generally lack the resources to use out of school services or the time and education to do it themselves.

The saddest story is a student from one of the depressed cities nearby whose family spends a fortune to get their son tutored at my business but it's already far too late. His lack of basic skills make him almost impossible to teach effectively. The worst part is that he gets yelled at and punished by his grandma for his lack of performance to the point where when we tried to have a meeting with him and his grandma about certain specific issues he his in the bathroom sobbing out of fear.

Issues of education are symptoms of the massive cultural problems underlying American society. An obsession with obedience to the status quo. A lack of any interest in learning for its own sake. Also the overwhelming attitude of "only look out for #1.

If I had to pick one thing that frightens me about our education system it's the complete and utter death of the study of history. History has few practical applications as a course of study so it's treated as completely unimportant. In college I had an amazing young Irish guy as a professor and after class one day I expressed my interest in being a history teacher. He told me flat out that it's a terrible idea. He said there's absolutely no market for it and the fact that he got his current job was a miracle.

posted on Sep, 29 2014 @ 03:31 PM
Had he said that college should be free for everyone, then I could agree with him. He does make some good points, but....
Everybody deserves a chance. Money shouldn't decide who's going to be a doc or engineer. There's poor people who would probably do even better if only they had the chance.

posted on Sep, 30 2014 @ 01:58 PM
I've been on both sides of this. As a kid I went to the private schools and growing up my family was fairly well off. Not Skull and Bones or Bullingdon Club wealthy but rich enough that traveling abroad just because was a regular thing every year, and enough money that there was no need based financial aid available at all for college.

I wouldn't say the people I knew were arrogant but there was definitely money around. My HS had a 95% rate of graduates going on to and finishing college. The joke around my town was that the school had just as many drugs as everywhere else, it's just that we had them served on a silver platter and most of the students would drive brand new sports cars.

Fast forward a couple years and I was completely cut off from that lifestyle. I got ill and was told I was simply being lazy when I couldn't get out of bed, that lasted from age 18-23. Eventually I "recovered" enough that I could go back to school but I had to wait a few years as I had to be 25 before my families income would stop counting against me and then it was budget schools... but that means I learn the material.

Something I find to be backwards in education is that the easiest classes are also the most prestigious. Yale, Harvard, Oxford, etc are all great schools to have on a transcript but their classes according to the people who have gone to them and other schools say the Ivy League schools are the easiest. You can see this reflected in their graduation rates. My current school has a graduation rate of 17% and my program specifically has a rate of 8%. My same program at MIT for comparison has a graduation rate of 97%. Yale and Harvard are 98% and 99%. It is literally buying a degree. You would think the opposite would be true, a smaller school is going to pass more people while the prestigious school is more critical and it would be tougher to graduate from.

Based just on finances the poor have a significantly tougher time to succeed with an education. The wealthy are practically guaranteed degrees while only the exceptional from the lower classes can get one. Then you have the fact that the wealthy get to network with other wealthy individuals in school and they get even more of an advantage. Finally when you add in the weight of their degree a person from Yale practically becomes a guaranteed hire while someone from a smaller school simply has the minimum requirement.

When it comes to the idea that we're no longer teaching people how to think, only to memorize an answer I agree but I have a different take on the reason why. As a society we have been putting more and more focus on STEM and medical fields. These aren't necessarily bad fields but most of them are very dry subjects. We are becoming like China which has a nation of citizens who can answer the difficult questions but are incapable of coming up with new creative solutions. In my mind the way we create those solutions is to inspire the populace: art, music, literature, and all the rest. These days we mock people who go into those fields, yet those are precisely what inspire us to greatness.

Lets take Star Trek ToS. It was written by a guy who could dream of a future with various technologies. Gene Roddenbury showed what was possible and his vision inspired us to actually go and create those techs. Doors that open when you walk near, cell phones, tricorders, and others. It has even been a major motivating force in us trying to create warp drive. Without creativity and works of art to show that creativity we would have made a new hinge rather than an infrared door. This is where we are losing out these days, and to tie it back to TV how many new shows do we have that actually create ideas? They're all rehashes of things that have already been done, that's just regurgitating the answer.

posted on Sep, 30 2014 @ 02:11 PM
Actually, we should go back to a classical curriculum approach where kids take courses in formal logic and rhetoric starting about the time they hit their middle grades and extending into high school. It teaches them to use actual formal reasoning, but the only place you find such an approach nowadays is in homeschooling and in some private schools, mostly religious. The classical curriculum was what built Western Civilization.

posted on Sep, 30 2014 @ 09:03 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Maybe that's right. A large part of the issue with high school in my opinion is that high schoolers don't have the life experience to objectively judge the quality of their education. Parents know what students are assigned to some degree as well as the subjects but they're not in the classroom every day and they're not the ones learning so it's a second hand judgement at best.

As far as college level logic goes I've found that my English classes have covered that pretty well along with any other writing class that involves drawing conclusions and explaining/defending a thought process. Perhaps that's where you could fit such a thing into lower level schooling? Take the focus off of grammar in those English classes and instead focus on the parts of language that actually matter.

Anyways I think that would be the best position for a pure logic class. The second best position would be (probably no surprise given my profession) computer programming as it is nothing but the application of logic and math. Of course programming has an innate issue in that 1/3 of the population seems completely incapable of learning how to think in the way necessary to do it so that makes it a poor logic subject for mass use. There are other applications too of course such as literary criticism but they tend to not offer much in the way of job prospects these days so they don't get any consideration.
edit on 30-9-2014 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)

new topics


log in