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Rick Santorum Says College is 'Indoctrination'; We Say It's Necessary

Rick Santorum's way of thinking about education is both outdated and dangerous.



Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has really gone after higher education lately. Earlier this month, he called President Obama's suggestion that everyone should go to college "elitist snobbery." Now, he's speaking out in response to Obama's State of the Union education plans:

It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid go to go college... The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure there wasn’t one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?


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Let's get one thing straight: Rick Santorum is about as educated as you can possibly get, and not from insular religious institutions, either. He got himself a bachelor's degree from Penn State. Then a M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Then he went back to Penn State to get his law degree. Would he be a millionaire running for president if he hadn't gotten those degrees?

Even Santorum must know that college isn't just a place the left goes in order to maintain power; it's a necessary stepping-stone to get a good job, now more than ever. And, of course, educated people make more money. In 2009, the median annual income of a young college-educated adult was $45,000, while a young person with just a high school diploma made $21,000.

Santorum is correct in pointing out that most academics are lefty—professors identify themselves as liberals more often than people in any other type of job. That isn't a coincidence; many conservatives—the faith-based kind embodied by Santorum—embrace being anti-intellectual. But when Obama stresses the importance of every kid going to college, he's not plotting for a liberal takeover. He's acknowledging the key to building a competitive economy.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

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