A Failing Grade

BY NICK IRONSIDE// MARCH 1, 2012

Is it possible that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was absent the day Penn State University taught its students about the importance of learning?

When President Barack Obama said that everyone in America should receive some form of higher education, Santorum was far from amused. “President Obama once said he wants everyone in America to go to college,” said Santorum while campaigning in Troy, Mich., this past week. “What a snob!”

Snob? How does learning make someone a snob?

The point that the former Pennsylvania senator tried, and failed, to make was that there are people who don’t necessarily want a college education. Some Americans would rather build objects with their hands, which is true.

But aren’t college-educated engineers the ones who set up the way something is going to be built? Isn’t it true that those with a college degree earn, on average, nearly a million dollars more over their lifetimes?

Unless Santorum is saying that some Americans don’t want to make money, he’s slipping on thin ice because people need to make a living regardless of what they want to do. It should also be noted that Santorum, who lost the two most recent primaries, in Michigan and Arizona, to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has B.A. from Penn State, an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law.

In comparison, President Obama “only” holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

But what’s really irritating isn’t that Santorum thinks Obama is a snob for valuing education. Rather, Santorum launched an attack on colleges because he believes they teach liberal viewpoints. They’re out to brainwash conservatives, he says. After all, conservative college students are “ridiculed” and “singled out,” according to Santorum in a Washington Post article.

“I went through (the ridiculing) at Penn State!” he said. Sure. Santorum was bullied because of his political views and not for his love affair with sweater vests. Sure.

Then again, with ideas like these, maybe some ridiculing is justified.

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