What is education for?
Students aren't customers; education is not a commodity – argues author.
by William Astore, Alternet
June 1, 2009 – Hardly a week goes by without dire headlines about the failure of the American education system. Our students don't perform well in math and science. The high-school dropout rate is too high. Minority students are falling behind. Teachers are depicted as either overpaid drones protected by tenure or underpaid saints at the mercy of deskbound administrators and pushy parents.
Unfortunately, all such headlines collectively fail to address a fundamental question: What is education for? At so many of today's so-called institutions of higher learning, students are offered a straightforward answer: For a better job, higher salary, more marketable skills, and more impressive credentials. All the more so in today's collapsing job market.
Based on a decidedly non-bohemian life – 20 years' service in the military and 10 years teaching at the college level – I'm convinced that American education, even in the worst of times, even recognizing the desperate need of most college students to land jobs, is far too utilitarian, vocational, and narrow...
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William Astore is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
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Students Aren't Customers; Education Is Not a Commodity, by William Astore via Alternet, June 1, 2009
Posted: June 06, 2009
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