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Posts Tagged → ivy league

is Penn State for real?

I know, I know, PSU alum are not supposed to criticize our Mother Ship, Penn State University. But the cold hard facts are material, and it is important to at least raise one’s voice about important things.

For the record, I do not hate Penn State, though I have severed my commitment to PSU football because of the brutally unfair way the PSU board treated my hero and universally admired icon  coach Joe Paterno. No, the opposite is true, I care very much about PSU.  I am grateful for the stellar undergraduate education I received there. In fact, I received as good or better an education at PSU as or than available at supposedly elite Ivy League schools. That is because PSU is so large, has so many facilities and professors, that anyone who really wants to be educated, to talk with their professors, to spend time debating and studying with like-minded students, can spend all their time as a student being educated. If they but want to.

Which is pretty much what I did there. I served on the Student Senate, ran for student body president, engaged in all kinds of political activism, and studied, studied, studied. My professors, notably Art Goldschmidt, Jackson Spielvogel, Jim Eisenstein, and especially Ed Keynes, helped me grow as only a devoted educator can do. I served many of my best professors as a teaching or research assistant. They each studied me, saw my strengths and weaknesses, and challenged me in ways and in areas where I needed to grow the most, and where that growth would matter the most to my eventual debut as an educated adult.

On the other hand, my impression of Ivy League schools is that they are so one-dimensional and politically correct, that one must only gain entry and then spend four years parroting and agreeing with one’s professors to get out with a degree. No growth, no challenge, no self-development at the Ivy league schools, just indoctrination by the staff and parroting back by the students. Where is the value in that?

So what the hell is going on at Penn State with the sky-high tuition? At $38,000 a year IN STATE tuition, PSU ranks right up there with many private schools as well as public universities OUT of state.

Being run now strictly as a profit-loss bottom-line business, as opposed to an educational institution, PSU sets tuition fees that are affordable only to wealthy students, crazy parents, foreign students backed by foreign governments, and  the children of PSU employees.  Ye olde regular American or Pennsylvanian family simply cannot afford the Pennsylvania STATE university.

This situation is exacerbated by a so-called professional caste of elected officials, state representatives and state senators, who tell us all the time that they are professionals and they know what they are doing. What they are doing with PSU is constantly shoveling into its gaping maw more and more taxpayer money, with zero strings attached. No special scholarships for highly qualifying Pennsylvania students. No accountability to the taxpayers, no service to the Pennsylvania public.

And for those who justify this unfair situation because PSU is a big research station, OK, you name the program and let’s look into it. Some are pretty good, and some are worthless. For example, PSU has its own breeder reactor, so we know the PSU students of nuclear physics are probably getting cutting-edge education from nuclear physics researchers there. On the other hand, fake “climate researcher” Michael Mann was just hugely discredited in a court of law, and ordered to pay big legal fees as a result. Mann could not produce in court the data he used to make his name peddling phony science. As we all know, science is totally about reproducability, the ability to reproduce experiments and outcomes that other scientists have claimed. Mann cannot do that. Mann has been a political activist first and foremost, and has besmirched PSU’s good name as a research institution.

Maybe Mann can be now sued by Pennsylvania taxpayers for his fraud, and compelled to create a scholarship fund with his many ill-gotten gains.

We can call it the “Penn State Real Science Scholarship Fund.” And if it has only five bucks in it, it will still be a hell of a lot more than PSU has so far designated to supporting qualified in-state students who want to study real subjects.