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Shaina Mitchell Mrs.

Anderson English 1010 30 January 2012

The Detriments of Elitism Despite historic proof that concludes otherwise, professionals George S. Bridges and Stanley Fish promote archaic notions of elitism concerning public versus private education in their perspective articles concerning what they believe to be the benefits higher education. Many college students across the nation believe themselves to participating in higher education by attending the university that coincides with their circumstances of wealth and intelligence level. This is not so, according to George S. Bridges, president of Whitman College who clearly states In truth, the price often reflects the value. Higher education defined by George S. Bridges comes solely from private universities able to utilize resources in ways that public universities cannot, therefore making them superior. Learning opportunities are expanding due to advancements in medicine and computer science, and these elements directly coincide with the increases in tuition costs for students in our nation. These factors demand improved and expanded academic programs, more faculty and equipment, new and renovated buildings, well-rounded programs in residential life and increased administrative support, Bridges explains, which directly translates as new and shiny buildings, fancy and supremely overqualified instructors, and random programs that offer you degrees in unheard of subjects. These superfluous yet apparently pertinent tools are only available to those who have the pockets deep enough to fund their academic ventures, either through scholarship or by privilege of birth. Stanley Fish seems to agree with Mr. Bridges elitist attitude by stating, Higher education is no longer conceived as a public good, but a private benefit, and such it should be supported by

Shaina Mitchell Mrs. Anderson English 1010 30 January 2012 those who enjoy the benefit. Fishs discriminatory and selective attitude concerning education is saddening and disheartening, especially following the story told by Fish concerning the British political philosopher who only achieved his education through sponsorship by his government. Fish, clearly impressed with the story failed to absorb the moral of the philosophers story, and focus his regards on the fact that the philosopher awarded the opportunity to attend a private university. It was not the university that made the philosopher who he was at that moment in Fishs eyes, but the opportunity presented to him by the government. It simply would not have mattered where the philosopher had studied in his youth, only that he was presented the opportunity to gain higher education- and not the brand of education Fish and Bridges promotethrough the furthering of intellectual pursuits and proof of achievement displayed tangibly by a college degree. An education is an education, no matter through which eyes that education is viewed, as a person can simply choose to become educated or not. Is a fish no longer a fish because it chooses to swim in a less pretentious lake? Or is it still a fish by classification through the experts who deem it a fish? Bridges attempts to promote his idea of higher education by stating the millions of dollars in scholarship aid his school gives to students who cannot afford the institution at which they are taught. Sadly, the average $12,000 per wouldnt even cover the entire costs of a lesser public college, never mind the expenses of Whitman College. If the prices of tuition coincide with the value of your education, one is simply paying for the brand of said education. Whitman is the premier liberal arts college that combines excellence with an unpretentious Northwest

Shaina Mitchell Mrs. Anderson English 1010 30 January 2012 culture and engaging community, boasts the college at which Bridges is president, and yet the statement is completely contradictory. How can a college call itself premier and be considered unpretentious? The two ideas are without a doubt paradoxical. Also, one presumes to wonder in which idyllic world Stanley Fish resides. Perhaps in the United Kingdom, but never in United States history does our government completely fund the educations of our youth. Citizens of the United Kingdom enjoy a socialized education system which provides for the less fortunate, meanwhile most college students in America must be approved for student loans and scholarships in order to pay for university fees. Bridges, due to his fathers comfortable role in society as a cardiologist and current station as a university president, is a part of what Americans today call the one percent. Despite his misguided beliefs, only one percent of our nation can afford the costs of private and even public colleges without driving themselves into the inescapable pit of debt that plagues our country and 99 percent of the Americans that live in it. It is true that most Americans today cannot achieve greatness without higher education, a topic of which Fish and Bridges are absolutely correct. However, the demand for a perfect education at a private institution strikes one as completely ridiculous and perfectly unrealistic. If every American could in fact be admitted into a private college, they could hardly afford it, and if every American could afford that private university, the education would hardly be a private benefit as Fish calls it, but a common thing which destroys the entire idea of a private institution to begin with.

Shaina Mitchell Mrs. Anderson English 1010 30 January 2012

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to afford the luxuries of a private institution, and perhaps the faculty and staff are more prone to make good on their educational promises (Bridges). However, as Bridges admits, putting a price on education is never easy, yet it is done every day, and today within the borders of the United States reside countless of professionals with Doctorate and Graduate level educations without jobs and a way to pay for the pretentious educations they so desperately sought. Education is not everything, although it does count for much in a society where high school graduates are considered qualified to only serve fast food. As Fish said, opportunity is what makes a man, and what that man does with the opportunities he is given. It is not the type of or merely the education itself that makes a person successful, but the way in which that person wields the knowledge they obtain. Fish and Bridges clearly do not take that fact into account while making their arguments.