Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Don't send stupidity to college

Very pleased to hear that Auckland University is taking what's been reported to be the unusual step of applying entrance standards to the people wishing to enter their hallowed portals to study arts, education, science, theology and first-year law. It's not exactly applying a standard of excellence to run the rule over entrants before they rock up and start filling your lecture halls, but it might at least be the beginning of a move towards one.

I'm sure many people were surprised to hear that few practical standards have been applied up to now in selecting entrants for these courses -- that "open entry" is considered the norm. I'm sure however that many people won't have been surprised to hear the bleating that has accompanied this announcement.

"We are shutting the door on the potential students and achievers of the future," said Auckland University Student Association education vice-president David Do, for example, demonstrating in a stroke why entrance criteria need to be raised to exclude those like Mr Do without even the brains they were born with: It is obviously beyond the wit of Mr Do to realise that those who fail to achieve the bare minimum necessary to enter a university are unlikely to be sort of material from which potential students and achievers of the future are made -- not at least in an academic environment -- or to notice that graduates with theology degrees are hardly likely to be setting the world on fire in any case (this is perhaps one course where entrance standards could be set so high as to exclude all entrants. But I digress.)

And John Minto illustrates PJ O'Rourke's point that earnestness is just stupidity sent to college, demonstrating in one short self-contradictory press statement that entrance standards excluding the stupid should have been applied more rigorously in Minto's day: the whole country and Minto himself would surely have been better off if the man had become a panel beater.

Libertarianz Education Spokesman Phil Howison summarises the position perfectly:
"The sad fact is that with lower standards and a general 'dumbing down' of academia, degrees are worth much less than they used to. Higher entrance standards will benefit all Auckland University students, by improving the reputation of the institution," Mr. Howison pointed out. "The role of the NCEA should also be mentioned. It is this assessment system which often leaves tertiary institutions and employers befuddled when attempting to assess a candidate's ability."
I look forward to this more rational admissions policy taking hold in other groves of academe throughout the country.

UPDATE: Oops. Looks like the mandarins at Auckland University are already running scared at being tarred as, gulp, "elitists"! Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the Braindead Professor Dalziel this morning rejected the suggestion that the proposal could "risk a slide to elitism" -- an unfortunate metaphor, really, since it would be the only slide in Christendom with a trajectory pointing upwards. In any case, the Braindead Vice-Chancellor confirmed that "special entry schemes" for the braindead, the retarded and those with IQs approaching those of Mr Minto's and Mr Do's already run in courses with restricted entry and "it was envisaged similar arrangements would be used."

So there you go. Standards schmandards, says Uni. If you really want standards, then perhaps panel beating school would be better.


  1. Minto would not have been good enough to be a panel beater. That is a trade that requires skill, application and work to be any good at it. He'd not make the cut.


  2. Minto would have been good enough to be a homeopaths. You don't need skills to enroll for homeopathy courses.

  3. I cut this part from the PR, but sadly, Auckland University will be undermining the new standards by expanding positive discrimination:

    Professor Dalziel rejected the suggestion the proposal could risk a slide to elitism.

    She said special entry schemes currently ran in courses with restricted entry and it was envisaged similar arrangements would be used.

    "We have very clear statements about equity groups and the ability of students with potential to come into the university."

    Existing schemes include the "Maori & Pacific Island Admission Scheme" and the "Rural Origin Medical Preferential Entry" in the medical school, and quotas for Maori, Pacific Island and disabled students in the law school.

  4. If I were in the Business school at Auckland, I'd be worried. What part of the University wasn't listed among the segments subject to entrance standards? Business. What happens to somebody rejected entry to Arts, Education, Science, Theology or Law? Well, either go to AUT, or flip over to Business.

    Serious students thinking about economics or commerce perhaps should think about moving south. Perhaps to Canterbury. What proportion of the first year Business classes at Auckland are going to be the dregs rejected by the rest of the University?

  5. I am all for 'elitist' Universities.

    It is a disgrace we allow working class people with bad genes, bad skin and general stupidity into Universities.

    There are plenty of factories for these chaps to work in, whilst Universities and 'Professions' should be reserved for those most able to 'appreciate' them.

  6. Elijah, with views like the above, I can't work out whether you are actually the sophisticated fabrication of a 'Lefty', like some sort of elaborate joke at the expense of libertarians, or a real person expressing their opinion.

    I sincerely hope for the former.


  7. Denm T

    Of course I am a 'real' person expressing his views! gosh..how silly.

    I have long felt University intake should be cut by 90% (at least) and we have paid a high price for allowing certain types of people into these institutions.

  8. Lefties 'sophisticated', eh Den?!

    Interesting adjective.

  9. Dalziel is a professor of what exactly?
    Hell, my local supermarket checkout operator sounds more sensible than this woman. And probably is.

  10. Sus - far be it from me to suggest that lefties might be capable of cultural sophistication! I certainly wasn't trying to perpetrate that kind of preposterous palaver.

    The nub of my gist was that should Elijah in fact be the puppet caricature of a devious lefty, bent on discrediting libertarians by association with the sort of extraordinarily bizarre fringe views he is disseminating, that the effort was 'sophisticated': meaning in this case, highly complicated.

    Why anyone would bother is beyond me, so I'm left with the troubling possibility that he is a real dude who isn't kidding when he suggests that the working classes possessed of 'bad skin' and 'bad genes' should be denied university entry.

    I'm not laughing, and i hope no-one else is.


  11. Here she is, looking exactly as you'd predict from her statements, and with a career just as dripping wet to match.

    From her CV:
    "Professor Dalziel is a historian with particular expertise on nineteenth-century New Zealand and British history, political, social and wimmin’s history. She ... is currently researching a book that will examine the ways in which wimmin in Auckland negotiated their entry into politics and public life prior to wimmin's suffrage, their engagement in local suffrage politics, their relationship to the state and their role as citizens in the post-suffrage period. Blah, blah, blah."

    Sounds like she's really swimming against the trends, doesn't she.

  12. Was that a paid ad, Eric. Shall I send you an invoice before agreeing with you? :^)

    What you describe is somewhat how Massey in Palmy used to work, but in reverse, with so many of the courses there full of people who failed to get into Vet School. But at least they were somewhat diluted by those who had chosen to be there.

  13. I saw an article about a man who runs a $60m ship building company. He couldn't manage a University level engineering course so he gave up after one year and went to polytech instead.

    Success at university gives some people a supreme arrogance.

  14. @With people like this professor, determined to dumb down the educational system, it is time to ask a question.

    How did they get there in the first place? The answer is through a secondary school system where failure is unknown.

    Now the various professional disciplines are being forced to take students based on the fact they are impeded, brown, or from out of town. Just peachy.

    The reference below is an examination of why Finnish students do well compared to Israeli children [a race noted for being sharp and industrious]

    Summarised, it says if you are taught by the dregs, you will turn out dregs.


    I challenge the NCEA supporters; next time you are in need of life threatening surgery, need defending in court, want to fly somewhere or get a building engineered---then pick an NCEA fellow graduate to do it for you. Get someone to make the phone calls to the funeral home first though, you won't be doing it later

  15. Thanks PC--about what I suspected.
    She'd make good garden fertilizer and that's about all.
    I just put up a post over at my place about feminazis meeting PoMo in the midwifery trade--she'd fit right in.

  16. Of course, the most delicious irony of all is the people I hear sniffing the loudest about 'elitism' are white collar professionals where you don't get a gold star for effort. You perform and achieve or fuck off.

    When standards-based elitism is putting organic wholemeal on their designer tables, and Karen Walker blouses on their backs its not so bad, is it?

  17. 'bent on discrediting libertarians by association with the sort of extraordinarily bizarre fringe views he is disseminating, that the effort was 'sophisticated': meaning in this case, highly complicated.

    Why anyone would bother is beyond me, '

    Ask him how Jim Peron is. All will become clear.


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