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Did the Ivy League Ruin Education? William Deresiewicz's Viral <em>New Republic</em> Story
Education | July 29, 2014

Did the Ivy League Ruin Education? William Deresiewicz's Viral New Republic Story

Getting an Ivy League education has done more harm than good for generations of students. In an eviscerating New Republic story, William Deresiewicz, a former Yale professor, argues that getting an “elite education” has isolated countless young people, turning them into zombies. The Ivy League schools focus too much on academic and financial success, while other important traits—curiosity, creativity, and self-discovery—remain under-developed. (The story has gone viral, and been shared 150,000 times, and counting, on Facebook).

Deresiewicz is the author of the forthcoming book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. In The New Republic, he writes: "Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it." What's missing, he argues, is "learning how to think" and "building a self."

The elite education system doesn't just affect individuals. As Deresiewicz, a new Lavin speaker, writes, it is "exacerbating inequality, retarding social mobility, perpetuating privilege, and creating an elite that is isolated from the society that it’s supposed to lead." So what can be done in the face of this problem? "The time has come," he says, "not simply to reform that system top to bottom, but to plot our exit to another kind of society altogether." We need to start fighting for "high-quality public education, financed with public money, for the benefit of all."

In his talks, Deresiewicz exposes where the higher education system is broken and clearly presents solutions. To book William Deresiewicz as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.
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