Let's Have A Smart Board

<B>Andy Rooney</B> On Why College Professors Should Advise

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney. It was first broadcast on May 16, 2004.
Some days, I have the nervous feeling that too few people who aren't smart enough are making too many important decisions in Washington. They always sound confident, but I'll bet they'd like some help, too.

There are 1,500 colleges in the United States and one million college professors. Both the colleges and the professors run from terrible to great, but overall, they're among the best things we have in this country.

I do have one reservation, and they won't like to hear me say this, but a lot of college professors don't work hard enough. The school year is too short. It has too many interruptions.

Our best professors aren't doing their share with the brains they have and I have an idea. We should involve the brightest people among us, college professors, in the most important work we have: government.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines in funny costumes, just thinking and talking about what's wrong, college professors should do something.

We would establish a new government agency called The Smart Board. It would be an advisory group comprising a body of 100 college professors, all with PhDs. They wouldn't be picked by Congress or elected by the rest of us.

They'd be chosen by the people who know them best - other college professors.

We'd put up a new building for them in Washington. When television does a piece about the president, the reporter stands in front of the White House.

When it's about Congress, the reporter has the Capitol in the background.
The professors' new building would give television correspondents something to stand in front of when they reported on them.

It would be a full-time job for two years. After talking things over, they'd give their best advice to Congress and to the president. It wouldn't be compulsory for offiicals to take it, but the board's opinion would be made public and that would put pressure on politicians.

For example, if the professors had advised against attacking Iraq, it would have been harder for the president to do that.

The professors would give Congress and the president their best advice on whether or not they should pass a new tax decrease that leaves no rich person behind.

Members of the Smart Board wouldn't be Republican, and they wouldn't be Democrat. They'd be too smart to be either.


Written By Andy Rooney
  • Rebecca Leung

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