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Tim Paw-lenty Confusin’

Note: this post updated when video was released this morning.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty sat down with Jon Stewart Thursday night.  For the most part he seemed collected and partook in downright friendly banter with Stewart, despite differing opinions on some topics .

Then Governor Tim Pawlenty said this [all bold text is transcribed exact quotes]:

“Do you really think in 20 years someone is going to put on his back pack, drive a half hour to the University of Minnesota from the suburbs, haul their keaster [yes, he really said keaster] across campus and listen to some boring person drone on about econ 101 or spanish 101?”

University of Minnesota professors must be thrilled that their governor has such confidence in their ability to bore the crap out of students. And what is with all the econ 101 bashing?

Pawlenty later continues…

“what I am getting at; is there another way to deliver the service rather than a one size fits all monopoly provider that says show up at 9 o’clock on Wednesday morning for econ 101?  Can’t I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck I feel like it?”

Okay, so he seems to be making the case for distance learning/Econpolio’s point. And then this happened:

“and instead of paying thousand of dollars, can’t I just pay $199 for iCollege instead of .99 cents for iTunes?”

First of all, iCollege already exists and it is not what Pawlenty thinks it is.  See here.

Tim, the reason kids attend college is because they need to be educated.  Here’s what happens when they actually do go to lectures, imagine what they are doing when they aren’t going!

The colleges are also certifying that the students earned a degree.  Would he let a surgeon operate on his child because he showed you all the podcasts on open heart sugery he has downloaded?

To be fair, we just wrote about how college is not for everyone here — but that doesn’t seem to be where he was going with this…

Tim, how are young Republicans supposed to know that they are supposed to believe in the power of markets if they don’t know what markets are?

The video is here:



5 Responses

  1. I’m afraid the open heart surgery example of what may happen you pose falls nothing short of being a reductio ad absurdum fallacy if you intended to power up your commentary with it.

    I assume that rather than prescriptive, his statements (I do not know his intentions, this is just my very licentious interpretation) refer more to the way in which college classes have started to be handled online. It is possible that work submission and tests for some of the most basic theoretical classes can be done online successfully (it’s already been done in every major university in the planet). In this light such statements might be just descriptive.

    Maybe looking too much into it is just not worth it.

    • No, he specifically brought up pricing and classrom lectures. I’ll post it asap.

      BTW I don’t think the classroom experience can be completely replicated, though today’s homework systems and distance learning can come pretty damn close when don’t right. But again, this didn’t seem to be the road he was going down.

    • Oh, and I missed your first point. You know what another word for reductio ad absurdum fallacy is in this instance? Hyperbole, because Pawlenty’s point was so ridiculous, I went with it.

      If you prefer; why do students go to college to begin with? To earn degrees, so that they can use the tools they learn and future employers have the assurance that they’re getting a certain level of competence based on what school they attended.

      I see the video is now up, and I’ll embed shortly.

      To be clear Pawlenty was all over the place (see Stewart even trying to walk it back to a public vs. private instituion thing for him). I honestly don’t believe Pawlenty was advocating for everyone to use Aplia instead of moving to a college for four years…

  2. Bottomline Re: Pawlenty, he is a respectable conservative who is not quite (yet) ready for prime time. He had a lot of good points that started to go down slippery slopes, at one point arguing for
    lower state and federal taxes 🙂 – but then saying something like this would probably lead to astronomical local taxes.

    Apple, why can’t you make up with Adobe so I can rewatching this on my iPad?!

  3. My big problems with Pawlenty’s argument reside in the fact that the success of his proposal is largely based on two assumptions:

    1. That students will care enough to educate themselves and they can achieve this education through books alone. I was an exceptionally good student, but if it wasn’t assigned or tested I wasn’t likely to read it. I enjoyed sitting in on lectures and discussing books or theories in a classroom. In fact, that was the best part to me! The private reading, in it’s nature an isolating activity, cannot trump dialogue: the communal learning experience promoted by none other than Socrates. And let’s not even get me started on how this defies all we know about the variety of student learning styles. How would auditory, kinesthetic, or mixed style learners succeed in this model?

    2. That the point of college is purely academic. It is not. While yes, you are there to learn how to read and write and think, you are also there to learn how to be a well rounded human being, to begin taking charge of your schedule, your finances, your living arrangments, what you eat, and making the choices that come to define you as a person. College is more than a classroom, it’s the training wheels for the real world.

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