VADM Fowler's response to Fleming (NYT)

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by 777flier, May 27, 2010.

  1. 777flier

    777flier Member

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  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Very interesting response.

    In honesty, I expected him to hit the points that he addressed, thus very little surprised me.

    The only thing that surprised me in his statement is that the USNA cadet who did not graduate cost 170K. I have always heard the number to float closer to 400K.

    I believe there is a need for the SA's, and their existence. However, this subject always comes up more often now then decades ago because there are many flag officers who went the ROTC route, most notably Colin Powell, and left leaning papers like NYT, believe it is a waste of tax payer dollars. Truth is gone are the days to make O-7+ you had to be a ring knocker. Today, many O-7+ come from different commissioning sources.

    My answer to them when they want to stop funding SA's is very simple...Yale, Harvard and many private institutions have endowment funds that could afford to cover every undergrad's cost for four yrs without denting their principal. Will the NYT make the same case with them using Federal funds (Pell Grants) while the college could go into their pockets instead of the taxpayers? Doesn't the Ivies allow AA students in? Don't they accept special students? Tell me would Emma Watson have been accepted to Columbia if she wasn't in Harry Potter? How about Brooke Shields to Princeton (she majored in French, not drama)? Tiger Woods to Stanford? I could make the list go on and on of students that were accepted because of the clout they bring to the school, not their academic prowess.

    Last time I checked the SA's at least can say it is academic skills that opened the door, not their name, or one particular skill.

    Finally, why was anyone shocked that the NYT wrote the original piece? That would be akin to being shocked that the WAPO supports Obama in everything.
     
  3. 777flier

    777flier Member

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    Pima,

    FYI, this was not an editorial in the NYT. It was an op-ed (opposite the editorial page) piece by Bruce Fleming, PhD, tenured professor of English at USNA, expressing his personal opinon.

    Re the $170K, to me it is still unclear whether it is the actual cost to educate a midshipman for four years or the amount to be reimbursed if a midshipman does not complete his/her education after four years. There is a difference.
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Fowler glossed over Fleming's points, providing no details other than "rah-rah" lip service.

    Fleming provided facts and has used the FOA, his time on the Admissions Board (yes, years ago but still relevant), his current interaction as a teacher, and interviews with current and former Mids to bolster his position.

    Fowler was a cheerleader who filddled while Rome burned.

    Let's see if Uncle Jeff will provide the data for the 16% who did not graduate in 4 years, and see if they meet Professor Fleming's stated "democraphic."

    10-1 they do, thus confirming Fleming's points.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I understand it was an op-ed, had to be since Bruce Fleming is not an editor of the NYT.

    I agree in that response it seemed like it was FUZZY MATH.

    This is HS graduation season, and our DD had her awards ceremony last week. The number stated was 375K for the recipient. 2 yrs ago we heard the exact same number.

    Was he stating repayment was 170K and hiding the fact that the true cost is closer to 400K or is it 170K and at hs scholarship night they inflate the cost to boast/recruit ?

    It only bothers me because if the numbers are being shaved to defend their position, than I find that wrong.

    I couldn't care left, right or indifferent on what the cost is, I support the existence of the SA's. I do care if the numbers were manipulated to make a point in their defense by a flag officer. I would now see him nothing more than a politician or the media warping the facts to fit their position:frown:

    BTW I am a proud wife of a retired AFROTC officer, and Mom of an AFROTC scholarship cadet.
     
  6. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    I believe $170k is the cost of the tuition. The $400k number is the total academy budget divided by the number of mids, thus providing an "appointment value."
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Luigi,

    I thought that too.

    To me that is still doing Fuzzy Math or shading the truth.
     
  8. Caveman

    Caveman New Member

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    While I don't know the system that is in place at USNA, at USAFA a drop out will only be required to reimburse part of the expenses that he incurred.
    If I may recall from a previous thread: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=12566 the ROTC only requires reimbursement for academic expenses (the $80k figure cited by Fleming). ROTC drop outs are not required to reimburse the $ spent on military training or exercises.
    In this case, I think both Authors are being manipulative in the way they are portraying the facts.

    This is my take/opinon on the subject

    Respectfully,

    Caveman
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree they are both manipulating the numbers to their best advantage.
     
  10. MJOmom

    MJOmom Member

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    Selective math is a common tool ... that said, the $170,000 likely is tuition, books, room and board ... but perhaps not the pay, uniforms, travel, professional training, summer cruises etc that go into the $350,000-$400,000 figure ...
     
  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Correct.

    This is precisely what we were given as ALO's from the AFA and DOD.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    This stat jumped out at me as well. I would like to know if that means that, of those mids who start on I-Day, 84% go on to graduate in 4 yrs, such that the 16% include those who drop out and never graduate. That makes sense -- there's 10-15% normal attrition and then maybe a handful who are held back for medical reasons or maybe a few for academic reasons.

    If he's saying that of the 100% who graduate, 16% take more than 4 yrs, I'm VERY concerned.

    As for the conflicting amounts for the cost of an education -- it's all guesswork. I just did an awards ceremony and -- if I recall correctly -- USMA said $170k (which is less than the $180k NROTC touts), USAFA said $425,000, and I didn't say anything b/c I have no idea what to say.

    I do think that the amount you have to pay back may be less than what the experience is "worth," if that makes any sense. I'm not sure how the payback figure is calculated but it wouldn't surprise me if it's less.

    I must admit that it's not a good practice to quote the high number when it suits your cause and the low number when it suits your cause.
     
  13. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    The $170,000 is the cost of education - tuition. This is the amount that would be paid back if a mid stayed 4 years and was separated or not commissioned. They pay for their room and board through a deduction from their paycheck.
    The $400,000 includes training including summer training. Training is not an expense that is paid back.

    West Point counts their class from A-Day - those who get through Beast. It doesn't really matter though since the attrition rate during plebe summer appears to be very small.
    I think the graduation rate from USNA is about 85% and that would correlate with Fowlers stat. From his sentence it would seem that 16% either separated prior to graduation or took longer than 4 years to graduate. I don't think it would make sense that 16% of each class took longer than 4 years as that would be a large number - approaching 200.

    Luigi - your comment that all those who took longer or are separated are "diversity" appointments is speculative. Do you have anything to back that up? Separations occur for a number of reasons - across the board. Even so, the ends could justify the means. If you give ALOT of good, morally upstanding kids an opportunity and you lose a few along the way - you still come out ahead.
    It does appear that USNA goes out of their way - maybe more than USMA and USAFA to avoid separations.

    I would be interested in a comparitive study between USNA, USMA and USAFA on separations, the demographics and reasons. If you had that data then you could make some rational conclusions - some perhaps startling.
     
  14. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Of course it's speculative - go back and read my statement!

    No, I dont! THAT'S WHY I asked in my post for Fowler to release the data to confirm or deny FLEMING'S assertions.

    Jeez. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ummmm okay - just clarifying. Be careful here - you come across with the opinion that kids who come from an underprivileged life are less moral, dumber and overall lower quality than those from a live of privilege.
    I infer from Flemings writings over the years is that he personally believes this and this is offensive to many people. Not to mention just plain wrong - IMO. Fleming makes this assertion without any numbers to back it up.
     
  16. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    A personal attack on me that I will not allow go to unchallenged.

    I have NEVER stated that IN ANY POST ON THIS FORUM.

    NEVER.

    YOU are making a very dangerous allegation.

    :thumbdown::thumbdown::thumbdown:
     
  17. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    If the minority student population has stayed the same over the last 10 years than the above statement should help address concerns about lower standards for some groups.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    I thought Adm Fowler's response was clear, concise, and to the point.
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Of course you would think that.

    You've never disagreed with anything they've (USNA) done since 1969.

    Fowler ducked and dodged Professor Fleming's conclusions without presenting one shred of contrary evidence.

    A shameful legacy for Jeff Fowler, one that all current, future, and former mids should forget as quickly as possible.

    Perhaps real leadership can once return the USNA and right the ship, listing as badly as she is currently under Fowler's command.
     
  20. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    You are creating a personal attack where none exists.
    I am simply attempting to apply logic to fully understand your position.

    Let me break it down for you -
    Fowler is equating "diversity" in admissions, as well as D-1 athletics to a weakening of the academy. This being highlighted by the perceived increase in bad behavior of some midshipmen as well as his claims that incoming midshipmen are academically "weaker" than in prior years.

    So - I conclude from that - diversity is one factor in this and the increase in diversity means that "kids who come from an underprivileged life are less moral, dumber and overall lower quality than those from a live of privilege."

    Clearly, Fleming prefers a brigade of midshipmen who hail from "intact" families who have afforded their offspring every advantage of excellent schools, test prep and an extensive extra-curricular schedule. Obviously he feels that these are the only 17-18 year olds who are moral enough, smart enough and highest "quality".

    You have consistently gone on record agreeing with Fleming.
    Explain my faulty logic.
     

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