The Hoover Institution hosted "Education 20/20 Series with: Mona Charen & Ramesh Ponnuru" on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST.
Our Education 20/20 speaker series kicked off the New Year with a bang on January 9th as we brought another double header, featuring two outstanding right-of-center thinker-authors: Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense; and Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Mona Charen argues that we do a disservice to disadvantaged youngsters when we fail to teach them the truth about the malign consequences of not following the “success sequence”: finishing one’s education, getting a full time job, getting married, and having children, in that order. But despite overwhelming evidence that these important life decisions matter, there’s strong resistance—especially on the left—to explicitly telling students about the significance of traditional family structures. It’s simply condescending to suggest that poor and minority kids lack the personal agency to make these important life choices. All young people deserve to know that education, work, and marriage are fundamental building blocks to success, so they can shape their own destinies.
Ramesh Ponnuru contends that our current preoccupation with increasing college attendance does a disservice to many students who would be better suited to other postsecondary pathways. But federal policy—and conventional thinking—both push toward college-for-all whether students are prepared or not. Which leads to sky-high college dropout rates, heavy debts, and more. Holding schools accountable instead for college completion and employment rates would ensure that high schools send students to college who are actually ready to succeed there and would encourage educators to recommend bona fide job-and-career pathways for others. Yet this paradigm shift isn’t possible unless elites overcome their “tweed and brick” college-for-all assumptions and instead do what’s best for young people.