90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Educated Sheep Of The Ivy League

With guest host Jane Clayson.

A loud complaint that some top American colleges are turning out “excellent sheep.” A sharp critique of the Ivy League.

An image from the Princeton University campus. (Instagram / @JessHeart23)

An image from the Princeton University campus. (Instagram / @JessHeart23)

All around this country, the freshman Class of 2019 is packing its bags and will soon be pouring into college campuses in an excited babble.  It has been a long slog for them and their families –SATs, applications, pulling together financing.  And for a very few, fortunate members of this class, the smell of fall in the air is even sweeter as they head to one of the nation’s eight Ivy League colleges.  But don’t feel jealous, says our guest today.  These top schools aren’t offering the great, mind-expanding education you think they are.  This hour, On Point:  A big critique from within the Ivy League.

– Jane Clayson 

Guests

 William Deresiewicz, essayist and author. Author of the new book “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite.” Also author of  “A Jane Austen Education.”

Yishai Schwartz, reporter / researcher at the New Republic. (@YishaiSchwartz)

Alexander Nazaryan, senior writer at Newsweek. (@alexnazaryan)

From The Reading List

The New Republic: An Attack on the Ivy League Is an Attack on Meritocracy Itself — “In Deresiewicz’s hands, the word ‘meritocracy’ becomes a canard, as he condemns the Ivy League for creating a perverse incentive-structure and credential rat-race that prevents students from ‘building a soul.’ According to Deresiewicz, the Ivy League’s cutthroat social competition and superficial standards for success drive students (and potential applicants) in artificial, anti-intellectual, and anti-contemplative directions. “

Newsweek: American Horror, Ivy League Edition — “Deresiewicz writes under the implicit assumption that his readers agree with him about what constitutes a “meaningful life” and are, in fact, hubristic enough to judge whether the life of another lonely, confused and bewildered human has ‘meaning’ or not. Though he uses the word on nearly a dozen occasions in the book, it is never quite clear what he means by it, even if his lament for English majors is a pretty good clue.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: William Deresiewicz’s Weird Anti-Ivy Elitism — “Deresiewicz makes a fair point about the absurdity of the college-admissions process in the United States. As a graduate student, working at the writing center, I read many essays written by undergraduates hoping to attend med school that relied on the trope of the Doctor Without Borders (in the vein of  ‘ … as I held the cholera-stricken toddlers, I knew I wanted to go to medical school. … ‘) to try to get traction in an expensive, obscure, and insanely competitive process.”

Read An Excerpt of “Excellent Sheep” by William Deresiewicz

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment