What Makes A Scholar? Not The New York Times.

The most objectionable part of the big NYT education story (At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust) over the weekend takes place where reporter Tamar Lewin essentially calls the Ed Sector's Sara Mead a "scholar" and then quotes Mead describing the mindset of those who are concerned about boys in school (we're apparently confused and possibly threatened).

Note to Lewin and other education reporters: Last I looked, a slew of think tank/advocacy reports and a BA from Vanderbilt doesn't make anyone a scholar, no matter what your editor says or wants. (Allowing her to speculate on a topic that's far outside the scope of what she's researched doesn't help.) Either find a real scholar or call Mead something else.

Either way, don't forget to give the other side a chance to respond. Maybe they can come up with some interesting speculation about why folks like Mead might be struggling with the idea that boys aren't doing so well in school.


Anonymous jay mathews said...

what is yr definition of scholar? if you dont have a phd, you cant be one?

I find you very scholarly, and feel the same about Mead, who very carefully collects widespread information on interesting topics, subjects them to a scholarly critique, and produces stuff worth reading. I wish we could say the same for the bulk of stuff produced by phds.

My dictionary defines scholar as "a learned or erudite person." I think that defines both Russo and Mead beautifully.


2:15 PM  

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