Tom’s Top Twelve Tall Tales: Tale #8

Posted by By at 14 March, at 07 : 52 AM Print

Governor Tom tells tall tales. Here is Tom’s Top Twelve Tall Tale Number Eight – We don’t need no education and we don’t need no higher education neither.

I’ve taught statistics at Gov. Corbett’s alma mater for over 15 years. One of the most important topics in the course is regression, mentioned above in Tom’s Tall Tales Number 10. To restate, regression notices that elites don’t tend to produce offspring that are, well, quite so elite. Regression’s discoverer, Sir Frances Galton called it “regression toward mediocrity.”  Regression is the reason some children of the rich such as Prince Charles, “Dubayah”, The Donald (he’s so proud), and a third generation potato head like Kim Jong Eun, aren’t all that bright. It’s also why there have long been affirmative action programs at elite private schools, not for the poor, but for rich. Euphemistically called “legacies,” they are a part of Harvard, Yale (Bush’s alma maters), Wharton (Trump’s alma mater), Dickinson (my alma mater), Lebanon Valley College (Gov. Corbett’s alma mater), and practically every other private school in the United States. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that regression toward mediocrity is real.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Gov. Corbett never took a statistics course at Lebanon Valley College and learned about regression. However, he should have noticed regression when he taught civics in the Pine Grove School District. He should have noticed that rich parents didn’t always produce kids who were all that smart. And sometimes, not so rich parents, produced kids who were very smart.

Enter the public universities.

In a public university, a smart kid who comes from a non-wealthy family can get a good education. That education, paid for in part by tax payer dollars, is of enormous, humungous, stupendous benefit to society.  That is to say, our country is better and stronger for it.  In short, taxes benefit all of us, both as individuals and as a society! I never thought I would need to argue this point in the 21st century, but then again, I never, ever thought we would have a governor that would propose we cut the higher education budget to public universities by 50%!

A second enormous benefit public universities provide is job creation. We hear Republican politicians refer to the wealthiest 1% of Americans as “job creators.” Yes, jobs are created – overseas and low paying jobs. Public and private universities and colleges create jobs here at home: higher paying and long term jobs.

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The Rev. Timothy Dewald was Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Lebanon Valley College joining the faculty in 1989. He retired in May 2010. In 1993 he won the College's Evelyn J. Knisley award for Inspirational Teaching. In addition to teaching mathematics, Rev. Dewald served the College in 1992 as acting chaplain, taught courses in East Asian religions, a First-Year Seminar on Darwin and evolution, Einstein’s general relativity, and the New Testament, as well as a mathematics and statistics courses. He also served as a parish minister for 23 years. Rev. Dewald graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in political science and religion. He earned a master of divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1987, he received certification in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University. - Email Timothy Dewald

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