Wednesday, May 23, 2007

California Dreamin'

Just three more days and my little family is off to Claremont, California to look at colleges. We have looked at a lot of colleges in Texas, the midwest, D.C. and Virginia, New England, and now California.Parents enjoy the college trips more than the perspective undergrads do. Kids have to worry about their parents embarrasing them by asking stupid questions. I find that they are also a lot less interested in the college itself than they are the shopping area around the college, or maybe my family is unique in that way.

Baby boomers, most of whom went to large state universities, practically for free, have spawned an enormous industry by pushing their kids into small and exclusive schools. I was shocked a couple of years ago to hear a local yellow dog Democrat ask a friend of mine if he was aware of any "signifigant admits" lately. In other words, any kid get into a school worthy of our conversation ? A school that we can brag about and have other kids with lesser children envy us for. Through this attempt at reflected glory, Baby Boomers have not uttered a peep about the fact that they are paying a great deal more for their kids to receieve roughly the the same education that they themselves received.. I am typical, I suppose. I went through seven years of under grad and law school and the total paid directly, for the whole seven years, to the two universities was under a thousand dollars. That won't even pay application fees today for some of the more aggressive students.Really. It won't.

As a result of their need to have their egos boosted, the boomers, and their willing co-conspirators, the colleges and universities of America, have taken a good deal of childhood away from the kids. All over my neighborhood, kids put in outlandish hours of study and extra curricular work and charitable work so that they can build a resume to catch the attention of the Ivy League.Maybe it will all be worth it. Maybe the generation who attends a thousand different small liberal arts colleges will be happier that the generation that attended just a few state universities. Maybe they will be happier in their marriages, make more money, have whiter teeth and have less emotional problems than our generation did. For some that will surely be the case. For some though, the only advantage will be that they will be throwing up on Sunday mornings in a nicer dorm room.

So as I head for California, and I am really looking forward to it, I leave you alone for a few days. The blog producers wanted me to run some "Best of Mills of the Gods" while I was gone. Maybe the Ed Ames episode. But that's not my style. No one should ever read the same blog twice. Few should read it once. I dismiss you to read other blogs, and better.


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