Before Ronald Reagan

download.jpgI see in the news that they have arrested a woman for paying $400,000 to get her non-soccer playing son into UCLA on a soccer scholarship. I guess someone has to pay for those multi-level carparks and all that avocado toast at the CO-OP.

When I was planning for college they offered me $140 a semester and I didn’t even play soccer. How could I refuse? Of course in terms of today’s dollars this seems a paltry sum but back then it was more than enough to sway my decision.

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A Ghost Town With a Quad

In case you missed it, there was a very disturbing article in Slate by Rebecca Schuman offering a possible view of the future of education in America. It definitely deserves reading.

A Ghost Town With a Quad: Is that the future of the American university?

The Challenge of Higher Education

The Challenge of Higher Education

The doom being suggested revolves around today’s heightened (or is it lowered?) devaluation of education and critical thinking. If you accept the argument that the primary reason for education is to create a trained pool of sentient workers who know enough to do the tasks assigned to them by their billionaire overlords and not enough to question the disadvantaged and tenuous state of their meager lives, then you might find this idea of the future of higher education totally believable. But what about those trouble-makers who insist that man is not adequately educated until fully exposed to the less commercially practical fields of education, specifically in the Humanities and the Arts.

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Crush Your Enemies

Public Education“[The aim of public education is not] to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. . . . Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim . . . is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States. . . . ” – Henry Mencken, The American Mercury, April 1924.

“If the right-wing billionaires and apostles of corporate power have their way, public schools will become ‘dead zones of the imagination,’ reduced to anti-public spaces that wage an assault on critical thinking, civic literacy and historical memory.” – Henry Giroux, 2013.

There is an interesting article in Truthout concerning public education in America as observed by an Australian.

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The Public Intellectual

PublicIntellectual-banner-rippedWithin the last few decades, the emergence of public intellectuals as important cultural and social critics has raised fundamental questions not only about the social function of academics, but also about the connection between higher education and public life, between academic work and the major issues shaping the broader society. Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project will provide progressive academics with an opportunity to address a number of important social issues in a language that is both rigorous and accessible. All too often, academics produce work that is either too abstract for a generally informed public, or they separate their scholarship from the myriad of issues and contemporary problems that shape everyday life in the United States and abroad.

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