“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”
- The Huffington Post
April 22, 2014
On one recent night, the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series put forth a motion on Columbia University’s campus: “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete.” This is heavily contested territory, as both the setting and the style of the debate reflected. Columbia itself is the owner of quite a few nice-looking bricks, but, only last month, the university signalled its intention to start producing online courses. The Intelligence Squared events are inspired by traditional Oxford debates, decided by the votes of the audience, but they’re judged electronically. The points and counterpoints were streamed and tweeted live, but in tone the evening still evoked the charm of a winsome classroom professor: percussive jazz-fusion tracks piped in before, friendly anecdotes during, and a reception, in lieu of office hours, after.
April 22, 2014
Have you ever had a moment when you heard an argument that made you examine a long-held belief?
I had a moment like that recently when listening to an NPR Intelligence Squared podcast on college admissions. Intelligence Squared is a high-quality product, as the debate is civil, fact-heavy, and performed with great skill. In other words, it's everything that cable news is not, sort of like reading the best of the college football internet as opposed to relying on Holtz and May to analyze team strength.
April 03, 2014
As higher education evolves, has the lecture hall model become obsolete? In a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on the campus of Columbia University, two teams of academic experts squared off to settle that question.
March 20, 2014
The intellectual case for preferences is looking increasingly shaky. Last month, a packed auditorium at Harvard Law School featured an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on whether “affirmative action does more harm than good.” Harvard professor Randall Kennedy, the author of the book For Discrimination, and Columbia professor Ted Shaw, the former head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued that diversity is an important and noble goal that universities must pursue. UCLA professor Richard Sander, author of the book Mismatch, and University of San Diego professor Gail Heriot, a commissioner on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, presented statistics from over 20 peer-reviewed studies that showed how the good intentions of affirmative-action supporters have had disastrous results.
March 04, 2014
What if affirmative action actually hurts minorities?
Badger Pundit has the rundown on a debate at Harvard Law School over the proposition in the title of this post, Epic smackdown of affirmative action at Harvard — following debate, audience’s opposition rises nearly a third.
It’s a discussion that people on campuses don’t like to have. Good for Harvard Law School for hosting such a debate with well-qualified speakers arguing each side. Too often the argument against affirmative action is denegrated as racism.
A speaker in favor of the proposition argued that affirmative action is an “epic policy failure” because it actually hurts — not helps — minority achievement through lower graduation and professional accomplishment rates.
February 28, 2014
A panel featuring Harvard Law School professor Randall L. Kennedy and others debated the pros and cons of affirmative action Thursday evening at the Law School’s Ames Court Room.
Arguing that affirmative action does more harm than good, University of San Diego Law professor Gail Heriot and University of California, Los Angeles Law professor Richard H. Sander asserted that affirmative action reduces the percentage of minorities who succeed at selective academic institutions.
On the opposing side, Columbia Law School professor Theodore M. Shaw and Kennedy argued in favor of affirmative action as a means of advancing university goals while benefitting the educational experiences of all students.
February 28, 2014
Intelligence Squared presented a very lively debate last night at Harvard Law School — “Resolved: Affirmative Action On Campus Does More Harm Than Good.” Arguing for the motion were Gail Heriot, professor of law, University of San Diego School of Law and member, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Richard Sander, professor of law, UCLA School of Law. Arguing against the motion were Randall Kennedy, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Theodore Shaw, professor of law, Columbia Law School.
The debate largely focused on Rick Sander’s empirical work, which tends to show that affirmative action actually harms its intended beneficiaries. Regular readers will recall that Rick guest-blogged about this provocative work two years ago.
It was particularly striking to see this prominent debate on the Harvard Law School campus–since, ironically, it can often seem, on elite campuses, that the very topic of affirmative action on campus is taboo.
November 06, 2011
A recent Intelligence Squared debate tackled the proposition that “Too Many Kids Go to College.” Arguments in favor: the cost of higher education is rising out of proportion to its value; it stifles entrepreneurial creativity (because Plan B is to found a million dollar software company, natch); and the bachelor’s degree is a “false credential” that doesn’t accurately signal what a college graduate knows and can do. Arguments against: Post-secondary education is the best hedge against poverty, unemployment, and dead-end jobs.
October 25, 2011
The value of a college education is under attack. While more U.S. students are enrolled than ever before, a perfect storm of soaring costs, rising student debt and shrinking job prospects have led critics to increasingly challenge whether college remains a worthwhile investment. Among those leading the attack is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who charges that higher education has become a dangerous bubble.
October 18, 2011
“True or false: too many kids go to college.” That was how John Donvan, an ABC News correspondent, began a debate last week about the necessity of an undergraduate degree.
October 16, 2011
The Intelligence Squared Foundation, which hosts and televises Oxford-style debates in New York, recently made its Chicago debut on Oct. 12 with the premise that "too many kids go to college."
October 13, 2011
Paypal founder and Facebook angel investor Peter Thiel appeared in the Windy City as a part of Chicago Ideas Week, offering his views on the local tech scene, why a college education is unnecessary and Groupon’s pending IPO.
October 13, 2011
So, here is my challenge to you: Why don’t you put your money and energy behind your convictions? If you indeed believe that we are headed for disaster, please work on averting it. Early in your career, you revolutionized the global exchange of currency by founding PayPal. You helped change the world by financing Facebook. The world is ripe for another revolution — this time in education. Technology has advanced so much over the last two decades that we can virtually change the way we educate.
October 13, 2011
Last night audience members at the first ever Intelligence Squared U.S. debate in Chicago, "Too Many Kids Go to College,” gave a victory to the team arguing for this resolution. By the end of the debate Peter Thiel and Charles Murray convinced 8% of the audience to change their minds to support the motion, thus winning the Oxford style debate.
October 13, 2011
The nice thing about a debate—a real debate with points and counterpoints—is that at the end, there’s a declared winner. In this case, the winner was: “Yes, too many kids go to college.” The debate was the first-ever Chicago dust-up held by Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), an Oxford-style debate program, headquartered in New York City (and based on a similar London program), that spars over topics from clean energy to the Middle East.
September 30, 2011
We are in a knowledge economy and face brutal competition from all over the world. The weapons in these battles are education and innovation. We certainly need to get the cost of education under control and improve its effectiveness and quality. But if we say that education isn’t worthwhile and that children shouldn’t complete bachelors degrees, we lose.
April 18, 2010
Seeking to change their image of intransigence in defending every last job of every teacher, the unions maintain that they share the goal of improving schools and turning out better-educated students. The most recent Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, on March 16, went to the heart of this issue, tackling the topic "Don't blame teachers unions for our failing schools."
March 29, 2010
Are teachers unions to blame for failing schools? This was the question debated last week on NPR's Intelligence Squared. At the beginning of the debate, less than half the audience believed teachers unions should be faulted for poor-performing schools, but by the close of the program, an astonishing 68 percent believed school employee unions contributed to the problem.
March 17, 2010
On Tuesday, March 16th, the LinkEd team was able to participate in the Intelligence Squared Debate: Don’t Blame Teachers Unions for Our Failing Schools. We were not sure what to expect from the evening, but were pleasantly surprised by a true debate: two teams of three pitted against each other fighting to win the crowds vote for or against the motion ‘don’t blame teachers unions for our failing schools’.
March 16, 2010
While acknowledging other factors that contribute to the challenges in American education, the team arguing against the motion convinced most in the audience that improvement needed to start with reform of the powerful teachers unions.