[lit-ideas] Re: education

  • From: "Veronica Caley" <molleo1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 12:00:40 -0400

Thanks so much for this posting from NYTimes Review of Books.  I read the 
article below the links, written by Anthony Grafton.  The sentence below is 
from that article.

Christopher Newfield is not the only sober, informed observer who believes that 
political elites are deliberately attacking middle-class education.

I totally agree with the above.  Except that the people doing this are those we 
elected in 2010 and before.  There was a Republican sweep of practically every 
office and legislative seat in my state, Michigan.  We have a special fund 
where certain taxes collected can go into the K through 12 fund only.  First 
thing our governor did was cut $300 million out of this fund.  In other words, 
like a Somali pirate,  he raided it.  K through 12 education has been cut 
before, but only a little and only from other state funds.  That was when we 
had a Democratic governor.  And people here don't want to pay taxes, which 
seems to be true of most of the rest of our fellow citizens.

So, even if the colleges become less expensive, or give more scholarships, 
etc., these children will be even less prepared to do college level work, 
assuming that their parents can afford the tuition.  Most people with lots of 
money send their children to private schools, mostly run by religions.  
Producing another generation even more separate from their cohorts when they 
grow up and even more conservative, and even less of a  social conscience.

Veronica Caley 

Milford, MI
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: John McCreery 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2011 3:01 AM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: education

  Perhaps a bit of context.


  On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 1:37 PM, Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

    From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
    To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxx
    Sent: Friday, November 4, 2011 11:31 PM
    Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: education

    Andy wrote

      A major thing, probably the major thing, that drives most people today is 
money, how to get more of everything.

    And this is known how?

       Andy:  (First, Yahoo new and improved is horrible for formatting; I hope 
this is readable.)  This is known by looking around you.  The mortgage crisis 
wasn't started because people wanted reasonably sized houses.  Forget national 
pastime, shopping is the national religion.  All I read about is how indebted 
the country is, both private (individual) and public (government) debt.  It's 
important because the consumer is the backbone of the economy, and the consumer 
is up to his ears in debt and can't keep the economy floating anymore.  It's 
the whole Keynesian/Hayek thing, to stimulate or not to stimulate the economy 
through more debt, i.e., more money for everyone to spend.  Once upon a time 
there was one car in the family; now everybody has a car.  Once upon a time 
there was one television in the family; now every family member has their own 
television.  We have way more clothes today than in the 70's (I forget the 
statistic).  Everything is more.  More is in the air, in the water, more food, 
more clothes, just more.  It takes money to have more.

    Liberal arts is not conducive to that.  Wall Street was such a big draw 
until the crash that there was a visible drain in the sciences, and the slack 
was picked up by foreign students. 

    Again, how did you find this out? Are you counting the 'hard sciences' as 
part of the liberal arts? (You should, but the sciences do not exhaust what 
constitute the liberal arts.) I really don't follow your reasoning here.

    Andy:  I didn't reason this, I read it, and not just once.  Math and 
science is not our strong point, at least at the high school level.  Graduate 
science is being taken over by foreign students.  Their own systems are 
catching up, and they're here in great numbers, in the MIT's and other places.  
In the meantime, we're not cranking out scientists.  If anything, we're still 
chomping at the bit to teach creationism instead of evolution.  However, Wall 
Street was a magnet.  That's just a fact.

    That 'businesses' don't want liberal arts majors is simply false. If you 
don't believe this, perhaps you could let us know why you don't. Generally 
speaking, outside the world of technology, a liberal arts major has more 
skills, everything else being equal, than e.g. someone majoring in a narrowly 
professional field, and what employers want are graduates can learn more than 
one way of doing things, rather than those who are trained to do just one thing 
in a field in which there's rapid change.

    Andy:  This might be true, I can't speak from experience.  However, 
businesses still want MBA's, not liberal arts graduates per se.  If someone 
isn't going on to get an MBA, they'll major in business, which happens a lot.  
If an employer has a choice between an English major and a business major, 
which one do you think he'll probably hire for his marketing department?  That 
business as a major has proliferated speaks for itself.  

    I'm sorry about this formatting.  Yahoo really messed up their site.  
Probably some business major thought it was a good idea.  


  John McCreery
  The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
  Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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