Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 1/2

29 May

An “old” friend, a libertarian, evangelical conservative that may agree with what  the Sovereign Citizen movement preaches ( Sixty Minutes on May 15, 2011 ), sent me two links disparaging college education failing to educate good citizens.

I did not agree with the evidence he submitted.

The video link he sent was of college students claiming to support freedom of speech but wanting to ban conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck from both radio & TV (the video was filmed at CSU Fresno).

How do we define the term “educated elite”?

Is being a student at a college or university enough to be considered among the “educated elite”?

I don’t think so, since many students that start college don’t finish.

Only a “fool” would call a college student that may fail all or most of his or her classes then drops out of college a member of the “educated elite”.  Attending college doesn’t automatically make someone a member of the “educated elite”.  You have to graduate first and get a job that pays well, which I will talk about in more detail in Part 2.

How many students graduate from college and have a chance to join the “educated elite”.  Remember, graduating isn’t enough to achieve the status of “educated elite”.

“At public colleges and universities only 29.0% of students graduate in the traditional four-year time frame.

“Of course, the timeframe most used to discuss graduation rates is the six-year window. This timeframe appears to be used because here graduation rates pick up substantially. At public schools the percentage of students that graduate within six years nearly doubles to 54.7%.

“One might think those more expensive private, non-profit schools would have significantly better numbers. They do in fact have better numbers but given their overall selectivity the rates continue to be extremely disappointing.

“Over the four-year timeframe, we see that private schools graduate 50.4% of their students, a number that nearly mirrors the six-years of public institutions.” Source: Open

Continued on May 30, 2011 in Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Education, literacy, media, politics


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5 responses to “Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 1/2

  1. jason

    August 28, 2011 at 12:16

    I dont think this was fair. I do support free speech, but what about limitations for those that abuse it? Is it good for the American society to let people spread messages of hate and discrimination (KKK for example)? its a complicated issue.

    a good parallel can be drawn to the right to bear arms. I own several firearms and will defend my right to do so. however, i do not support the private ownership of nuclear weapons (an extreme but clear cut example).

    a right without limits is just as dangerous as not having the right int he first place. The issues are not dichotomies, there is a middle ground. However, i do admit that the middle ground is probably very difficult to form a coherent policy around.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      August 28, 2011 at 17:21

      I am not sure who you are, Jason, or what you feel is not fair.

      Most in the United States do not know that the American Bill of Rights protects free speech in regards to an individual’s public opinion of the government of the United States but those same rights do not extend to the work place or the schools.

      This means if an individual, a newspaper or TV station or Blog criticizes any element or individual in the government, he or she may be protected from persecution by the government—that is if they do not violate something labeled a top secret or slander someone with lies.

      In the work place, an employee may be fired if he exercises his or her freedom of speech if what he or she says goes against the policy of that company. Usually, the individual expressing himself will be warned not to do it again. The second time, he may not be so lucky to get another warning. I’ve known individuals fired for saying things they shouldn’t while on the job.

      Freedom of the media also protects the press when reporters or editors express opinions of the American government but if that same media source expresses an opinion of a private citizen that offends and may be seen as slanderous, that TV station or newspaper may soon find itself in court and millions of dollars could be the penalty .

      In fact, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that students do not have freedom of speech in the classroom if it disrupts the learning environment.

  2. jason

    August 30, 2011 at 09:34

    Sorry, I was not clear. My previous comment was addressed towards the video embedded on the page. Also, thank you for the informative response.

    Who am I? I am a geologist (recently graduated with a PhD) and now working for a university (academic research and teaching). Knowing my background a little will undoubtedly help you understand my point of view.

    I guess I can narrow my argument down to this – should there be limits on free speech? Well, there are already limits on free speech (“…do not violate something labeled a top secret or slander someone with lies.”). Limiting the discussion of top secret material is a good thing because sensitive information in the wrong hands can cause damage to our nation and society.

    So let’s examine someone like Rush Limbaugh, who plays an obviously racist character on the radio that disseminates propaganda (yes, it s a good ploy for ratings). Do they and are they capable of causing damage to our nation and society? I would have to answer yes (most people on the video obviously agreed with me here).

    So why is the line drawn somewhere between dissemination of top secret material and Rush Limbaugh? I am not necessarily saying that it shouldn’t be, but I think it is debatable (at least it will help me to learn something). Another way to frame this question is: should national security necessarily be placed above national morale?

    So questions I have–
    Why is the freedom of speech limit end somewhere between top secret and Rush Limbaugh?
    Who decides where the limit should be (the masses, politicians, educated elite, ?)?
    Who should decide where the limit should be (the masses, politicians, educated elite, ?)?
    Should the limit be susceptible to the changing whims (better or worse) of society through time (I am thinking on a 100 yr time-scale here)?


    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      August 30, 2011 at 16:53

      I feel that the “Fairness Doctrine” was a failsafe to make sure “freedom of expression” stayed honest.

      After President Reagan vetoed the “Fairness Doctrine”, there was an explosion in conservative talk radio, which probably would not have happened if both sides were guaranteed a chance to debate controversial issues. Hard to lie when someone is going to come along and refute with evidence and facts what you just said.

      When the “Fairness Doctrine” vanished, “freedom of speech” became “freedom to lie” as a means to manipulate public opinion and votes.

      Without an honest debate via the media, how can we have a true democracy with well educated (on the issues) instead of confused and manipulated voters?

  3. jason

    September 1, 2011 at 09:10

    Interesting, I did not know about the Fairness Doctrine. So there was more limitation on freedom of speech than I thought. It would be nice to have that back, but with equal airtime. However, I doubt it would be very effective today because it seems to be a little vague. An updated version could do some good.

    Honest debate via the media. Initially I think of Fox News and laugh. Now we all know what opinions are worth, but my opinion is that the major media networks confused and manipulated voters and that those people that watch them are in fact not well educated on the issues.

    I travel a lot, which exposed me to other cultures and their take on world affairs and US politics. I remember watching the news in India and China. I have since moved to Canada for a Post-docoral position and of course there is yet a different perspective here.

    I understand your point about the media, and I completely agree with you. However, I feel that the majority of media is failing us. I think honest debates and critical insight does occur, but mainly on youtube, the Daily Show, and TED talks. I could make arguments here about working class being tired and underprivileged families having limited access to these sources. A federal run TV channel that shows unedited debates between representatives and gives info on issues in a non-agenda way would be nice. I argue that the major media outlets need t be restructured, and by necessity the freedom of speech along with it (I do not know if more of less policy here would help).

    A really great talk with critical analysis of many recent publicized topics
    Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

    Example for youtube channel with critical evaluation of the media

    John Stewart on crossfire (Min 4:00 to 9:00), another critical evaluation of the media



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