Modern Education

It has been a long time since I disagreed with Hugh Hewitt, but Monday was such a day. Hugh had Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College on his radio show. Much of what Dr. Arnn said I agreed with, until at Hugh’s urging he produced his list of what he called “serious old-fashioned” schools. In short, Dr. Arnn divided schools into four groups by two qualities: Serious versus Unserious schools, and Old-fashioned versus Modern. Dr. Arnn went on to state that a school was “serious” only if it instilled character and values into a student, and that Old-fashioned meant holding, even defending traditional Christian values. Again, so far no problem. But from there Dr. Arnn turned into a blatant propagandist, claiming that only about ten schools would meet the standard for Serious Old-Fashioned school. I found serious problems with his arrogance on that point. The sheer fact that none of the military academies met Dr. Arnn’s cut should tell you how short-sighted his list was. Perhaps he was merely being polite, but Mr. Hewitt made no attempt at all to correct any of Dr. Arnn’s misstatements or omissions. I certainly noticed that Dr. Arnn favored schools on the east and west coasts, so it surprised me that Hewitt did not point out how much of the country Dr., Arnn was – however inadvertently – insulting. For example, here in Texas any serious college evaluation must include Baylor University in Waco, Texas A&M in College Station, and while Dr. Arnn mentioned the University of Dallas he somehow missed the University of Texas at Dallas, a fast rising star in many reviews. Dr. Arnn had not a word of mention about Houston Baptist University, or Lady of the Lake University, or Trinity College in San Antonio. And that is limiting the field to the Christian perspective, which would frown on things like coed dorms or an agnostic/atheistic worldview, which would exclude some otherwise fine universities.

The reader will note that I have not yet mentioned online studies, which I consider an equal if not superior option to the nominal experience for many students. So far as I know, Hillsdale does not offer even a single online course, so it is poor indeed on that matter of addressing student needs, but in the main it is obvious that many people who consider themselves experts simply prefer to promote the schools they know, which brings me to my question for the day:

In terms of building a young person into an intelligent and responsible adult, what three colleges or universities would you consider the best? Please share your reasons.

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