James Madison, 1822: "The Tuition is Too Damn High"

I don’t think I know any of them, but congratulations to the “The Tuition is Too Damn High” students. The ODE story on their meeting with Bob Berdahl and Jamie Moffitt here. The RG story is here. It sounds like they asked some informed, tough questions – some of which came from this blog. The statement at the top of this blog is from a letter by James Madison to a Kentucky legislator, congratulating him on that state’s subsidies of higher education:

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. …

Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information every where possesses….

 A system comprizing the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.

I don’t know what kind of run-around our students got from Berdahl and Moffitt, but if it’s anything like the one Moffitt gave the IAC last year, I suggest they keep digging. And for the sake of UO, I hope Moffitt stops – that athletics hole is deep enough already. 6/8/2012.

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