We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A recent look back at his tenure as president of Miami University (OH), the school my son happens to attend, did not provide any new insights. However, it does support my view of what is wrong with the education process. After many visits to Miami and other universities, it's clear there is too much emphasis on coddling the students. There is a war going on to provide the best dorms, the best cafe-style foods, the best recreation center, the best student union. Building on the Miami campus, which really does resemble a private school in look and feel, is rampant. You can't turn a corner without seeing construction.
I have complained that the cost of my son's education is primarily to support spending on new 'stuff' rather than better education. I'm glad to see the former president more or less agrees. It is a problem which is not isolated to Miami, I've seen similar activity taking place on every campus I visited.
It doesn't help that Federal loans and grants are helping to fuel this work, either. Ultimately, whether you have a child at university or not, this is costing you money.
I realized when commenting over at Instapundit, universities have gone into the destination resort business. Anybody know the lifecycle of resorts?
Teaching has historically been a low priority at most schools, behind research, but now it has slipped further with the "college experience" taking precedence. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer are able trade their resort beads for anything of value once their reservation runs out.
You should have sent you kid to Ohio State. Academically, OSU is much better than Miami, has better resources, a better faculty and better football, even in off years.
Oh, and Columbus is a better place for students because it has actual urban resources that can enrich the college experience: a fine arts museum, a botanical conservatory, a zoo, a ballet, major league soccer, an NHL team (very bad, however) a good AAA team, a wide variety of Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindi, Buddhist and other religious organization, and more. And if you're not careful, you can get your nosed rubbed in the grittier urban realities.
Finally, OSU is not the country club that Miami is.
My son chose his school, I didn't "send him" anywhere. Miami is an excellent school, though I'll give you props on the football. Great reputation (particularly in my biz...we've hired quite a few MU grads in Chicago and NYC), great education. I have no issues with his choice.
Particularly since, while touring the school, another father who went to OSU and had just visited with his son told me how OSU had just as much a country club atmosphere. While we were walking through the new Rec Center on Miami's campus, he described the one on OSU's.
So you'll have to forgive me if I take it with a grain of salt. I believe there are relatively few universities which offer 'more' in any meaningful way, except to say that it depends on what 'more' you're looking for.
I visited OSU many times back in the 1990's when I was based in Columbus. Great football, indeed. I attended the opening day against my alma mater, Syracuse, in 1988 or so. Quite an atmosphere.
I think my main issue with what you wrote isn't so much that OSU is 'better' - I suppose in some ways it is. It's that I "should have sent" my son somewhere.
Not my decision, nor should it ever be. He's an adult, and he has the right to choose.
The best thing about a school is its alumni. What are they doing with all that education? They don't even get to use the facilities that the money goes to because by the time it's built, they've graduated.
This is why I've always wanted to live nearby to a college campus.
Great facilities, great opportunities. As a kid, I lived near a mid-sized university and my brother and I attended film revues, complete with critical analysis, of many old films. It was a great introduction to the field, which was eventually part of my dual major.
I walked into college already knowing what it was like to roam a campus, engage an informed discussion, and take advantage of what the university had to offer.
As I tell my son "you have to go out and find the university, it's not going to come looking for you."
About 8 years ago, a service friend asked if I could help his daughter. She works for an outfit that lists fake names of prospective students and asks people to receive college flyers for them, and send them in once a month. Used to get some from my daughter's college. They are tapering off, now.
My son went to Christian Brothers Univ, Memphis. Catholic with a Civil Engineering Degree. His dorm room reminded me of mine from the 80's. Low cost, what he needed, not what he wanted, and an excellent education. Nearby U of Memphis, had all the expensive pleasantries, just minutes away. I agree however, colleges are a business, pushing resort stuff, and sometimes, as an option, an education. The local University of West Fl in Pensacola is pushing for an unneeded football team and growing in cost, but not, IMHO, in quality. It's disgusting.