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.
It's a crazy subject. Higher ed tests were introduced to foster a meritocracy in admissions. As it happens (with the SAT, for example) the test is essentially an IQ test.
IQ is one measure of a person's intellectual potential, but is it "merit"? Would a college want a very high IQ lazy guy or gal with lousy grades? Yes, they might - and might guess right. And what about people showing great promise in one area, but no interest or energy in others? Elite schools used to want the "well-rounded" kid (academically solid if not brilliant, athletic, good social skills, etc).
Anyway, nowadays there are so many colleges desperate for paying butts on seats that there is opportunity for everybody to show what they bring to the table.
I am continually seeing words which are difficult to define. Merit is one, happiness is another. There are more on my list...
We graduate far too few (American) scientists and engineers and far too many Lawyers (sorry) and hate studies students. Colleges have become whores giving up their standards for money. Since this negatively impacts our country it would seem that the people/government has a responsibility to intervene and bring colleges more into line with what is good for the country.
The money quote says it all: “Merit” is socially constructed.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, Amen. It's only a question of who gets to put their thumb on the scale.
Right now "merit" is defined as being a good little girl who excels at multiple-choice exams, prepares beautifully-typeset but vacuous term papers, and otherwise sits quietly in the corner and colors inside the lines. Fortunately, a motley tribe of outlaws manages to fake the merit-thing and turn themselves into scientists, engineers, medical professionals, and whole circus of informatics wizards.
We'll change the standards for merit by exchanging new thumbs for old on the scale, and crank out a whole new kind of Useless Degree Holder. The outlaws will still figure out how to game the system, and get an education in spite of their classes.
Get rid of the student loan program...why are taxpayers on the hook for students that don't repay loans or have them excused for government service or hardship? If the degree is next to useless a bank won't fund it...perhaps the school or faculty should fund the loans?
1. Front load college tuition, i.e. if 4 years of college costs $100K, charge $50K year one, $25K year two and $12.5K years 3 and 4.
2. Year One is common core (calculus, western civ, literature, foreign language, biology or chemistry). At end of year one, top 25% stay. The remainder go to trade school or OTJ training...and that extra $25K they paid in year one goes to the 25% who made the cut. It pays to be a winner.
"Well rounded". Would they reject Erdos as "not well rounded?" (I think he'd have flunked out of mike m's 1'st year.)
If a university
1) does not know what it is about (metastatic grievance studies?),
2) does not have a clear understanding of what is needed to benefit from the education they claim to provide, (lower standards for affirmative action?)
there is therefore no clear meaning to "merit"ing an education from them.
My DH once worked at a private university that was the most liberal in the US. The BA completion program was a complete fraud! FRAUD! CAN YOU SPELL FRAUD! When the academic dean came back from lunch one day she stopped to speak to one of the homeless people sitting on the curb in front of the school. First question she asked: "Do you have a social security card?" The next thing she did was help this gal get up and physically escorted her into the office that was located between the BA Completion program and the MA degree in Organizational Management. The head of the BA program was not there, so she turned her newly "recruited student" around to face my DH--the head of the MA program. Then she said, "Here sign this one up we need the money". The homeless woman then asked : "What is this place? Is this some kind of school or something?" Yep, darling and BTW you will now sign the student loan papers that give this school a percentage of your maximum student loan amount. You want fraud? You gotta look at all the ethnic communities involved in "running universities"!
Something that needs to be remembered is that the idea of IQ as merit was itself the product of an earlier generations "Progressive" mindset. It was the idea that facts were irrelevant and it was the ability to learn and process information that mattered. It was their view that expecting students to know who fought whom in the Peloponnesian Wars or that Titus Andronicus was not a character in Homer's Odyssey were just irrelevant "teaching to the test".
So now we've reached the point where apparently knowledge of facts doesn't matter, and the ability to reason, including analyzing and synthesizing information, does not matter, which then leads inexorably to the question of just exactly what does matter?
Another guy named Dan
re: "...the SAT, for example, the test is essentially an IQ test."
Not so for decades as it has been dumbed down substantially. Analogies were removed for example. Allegedly, only the GREs remain as a proxy for IQ.