In Praise of Elitism?
There has been much talk among the “EduWeb 2.0″ community questioning the value of formal schooling, particularly higher education. Will Richardson has written several blog posts on the subject.
While the democratization of knowledge and unlimited access to information are laudable goals, and perhaps approaching reality, I wonder about the role of expertise, specifically that resulting from “paying dues” in the learning process. Will culture contine to survive and civilization progress if everybody is equal and education is reduced to “looking stuff up” online?
Information access is no substitute for education.
Is this an educator endorsed expansion of anti-intellectualism?
Time Magazine’s columnist, Joel Stein, challenged some of these assumptions in a very witty article, Bring on The Elites. (I’ve waited a week for the entire column to appear online so I can share it with you). Here is a taste of Stein’s column.
Magazine editors and network executives make writers cut references and words they think most people won’t know — even though everybody has Wikipedia. We are becoming a country that believes the rich have earned their money but the well educated have not earned their intellectual superiority. This leads to a nation that idolizes Kardashians.
Antielitism is a cancer waiting to metastasize in any democracy and one that Alexis de Tocqueville worried about for the U.S.
I always get a bit queasy when I hear educators argue against education, including college opportunity, for all students. What do you think?