‘iCollege’ Idea Gets Chuckle on ‘Daily Show,’ but Online Viewers Aren’t Laughing


I don’t think so.

That’s the online reaction to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s rant against traditional higher education this week on The Daily Show. In case you missed it, the Minnesota Republican suggested students would stop hauling their “keisters” to class and start paying $199 to download “iCollege.”

A few minutes of late-night chatter has touched off some fierce online blowback, ranging from earnest critiques of Mr. Pawlenty’s “pedagogical dystopia” to numerous variations of “Pawlenty is an idiot.”

Here’s a roundup:

• A student’s letter to the Star Tribune: “As a junior at the U, I am not only happy to ‘haul my keister across campus’ on a daily basis, I consider it a privilege.”
• A science professor’s blog: “… Perhaps businesses and other organizations seeking to hire graduates of our great institutions of higher education will prefer that their new employees are willing and able to haul their keisters into work at a specified time and place.”
• A state political blog: “Our public universities, led by the world-class University of Minnesota, have played an enormous role in building our state’s competitive advantage. Tim Pawlenty, though, has treated public universities with contempt, and now we know why — he doesn’t believe in their continued existence.”
• A local news Web site: “Some of the points he made in the nationally televised interview with Jon Stewart don’t square with statements he and his higher-education appointees have made in Minnesota.”
• A progressive think tank’s blog: “Personally, as a student of a private liberal-arts college in Minnesota, I’m shocked to hear the classroom spoken of as something to be removed from the education process rather than something to be enhanced.”
• A community college faculty-member’s blog: “The deregulation Gov. Pawlenty is proposing is the reason we have catastrophes like the BP Deepwater Horizon spill; oversight of the industry was long ago delegated to the equivalent of an “iOversight” app. We don’t need more of that–and we certainly don’t need more of it in higher education.”

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