Between the English Department and the Comparative Literature Department I flooded my university schedule with classes in Twentieth Century Literature—American, English, French, Italian, German—specific author concentrations—Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Pope, Cervantes, Dostoevsky—and several other survey courses—Restoration Drama, Romantic Poetry, Latin and Greek Drama, Medieval Literature. Add to this some supporting courses in Literary Criticism, Linguistics, Rhetoric, and I left the university with what I felt was an excellent understanding of literature.Continue reading “Picking Flowers”
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.
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.
“[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.