Eric Johnson: No noble concept

February 5, 2013 

No noble concept

Bless Rick Martinez for the searing clarity of his vision for higher education (“A long overdue look at relevance,” Feb. 1).

For generations, the mission was to educate the elite based on the premise that these educated (primarily) men would be equipped to contribute to the greater good of society, he writes, finding this to be a noble and worthy argument for public support. Today, higher education is more accessible to women, minorities and lower-income students, and their priority is a degree, a marketable skill.

And because these low-income (often female) minorities are studying for selfish, job-seeking reasons unlike the noble sons of privilege who came before them, they are unworthy of public support. These students should pick up a larger share of the cost of their personal education, Martinez cheerfully concludes.

Now that the great unwashed have breached and corrupted our temples of higher learning with their base motivations, the rabble being famously uninterested in governing, thinking or otherwise bettering society, we might as well turn our universities into market-rate trade schools.

For Martinez, all the noblesse, none of the oblige.

Eric Johnson

Chapel Hill

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