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Tue Mar 3, 2015, 11:47 AM

Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory


Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 00:00
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | News Analysis


"What happens to the memory of history when it ceases to be testimony?" - James Young


At a time when both political parties, anti-public intellectual pundits and mainstream news sources view the purpose of higher education almost exclusively as a workstation for training a global workforce, generating capital for the financial elite, and as a significant threat to the power of the military, corporate and financial elite, it becomes more difficult to reclaim a history in which the culture of business is not the culture of higher education. This is certainly not meant to suggest that higher education once existed in an ideal past in which it only functioned as a public good and provided a public service in the interest of developing a democratic polity.

Higher education has always been fraught with notable inequities and anti-democratic tendencies, but it also once functioned as a crucial reminder of both its own limitations and the potential role it might play in attacking social problems and deepening the promise of a democracy to come. As difficult as it may seem to believe, John Dewey's insistence that "democracy needs to be reborn in each generation, and education is its midwife" was once taken seriously by many academic leaders. Today, it is fair to see that Dewey's once vaunted claim has been willfully ignored, forgotten or made an object of scorn.

Throughout the 20th century, there have been flashpoints in which the struggle to shape the university in the interest of a more substantive democracy was highly visible. Those of us who lived through the 1960s remember a different image of the university. Rather than attempt to train MBAs, define education through the lens of mathematical utility, indoctrinate young people into the culture of capitalism, decimate the power of faculty and turn students into mindless consumers, the university presented itself as a site of struggle. That is, it served, in part, as a crucial public sphere that held power accountable, produced a vast array of critical intellectuals, joined hands with the antiwar and civil rights movements and robustly challenged what Mario Savio once called "the machine" - an operating structure infused by the rising strength of the financial elite that posed a threat to the principles of critique, dissent, critical exchange and a never-ending struggle for inclusivity. The once vibrant spirit of resistance that refused to turn the university over to corporate and military interests is captured in Savio's moving and impassioned speech on December 2, 1964, on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California, Berkeley:

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even tacitly take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears, upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all.


The 1960s may have been the high point of that period in US education in which the merging of politics, justice, civil rights and the search for truth made clear what it meant to consider higher education as a democratic public sphere. Not everyone was pleased or supported this explosion of dissent, resistance to the Vietnam War and struggle to make campuses across the United States more inclusive and emancipatory. Conservatives were deeply disturbed by the campus revolts and viewed them as a threat to their dream worlds of privatization, deregulation, militarization, capital accumulation and commodification. What soon emerged was an intense struggle for the soul of higher education. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/29396-higher-education-and-the-promise-of-insurgent-public-memory



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Reply Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory (Original post)
marmar Mar 2015 OP
daleanime Mar 2015 #1
fasttense Mar 2015 #2
KoKo Mar 2015 #3
KoKo Mar 2015 #4

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 3, 2015, 11:56 AM

1. K&R....

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 3, 2015, 03:07 PM

2. If education is training for a capitalist job then capitalist should pay for it - NOT the worker.

 

"The purpose of higher education almost exclusively as a workstation for training a global workforce, generating capital for the financial elite."

Then corporations and industrial capitalist should be exclusively paying for it. We shouldn't be making education a profit center for banks.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 3, 2015, 05:39 PM

3. Recommend!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 3, 2015, 11:54 PM

4. Sweet Briar College Will Shut Down

(One of the oldest Liberal Art's Women's Colleges in the South...)

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Sweet Briar College Will Shut Down
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Sweet Briar College announced today that it is shutting down at the end of this academic year.

Small colleges close or merge from time to time, more frequently since the economic downturn started in 2008. But the move is unusual in that Sweet Briar still has a $94 million endowment, regional accreditation and some well-respected programs. But college officials said that the trend lines were too unfavorable, and that efforts to consider different strategies didn't yield any viable options. So the college decided to close now, with some sense of order, rather than dragging out the process for several more years, as it could have done.

Paul G. Rice, board chair, said in an interview that he realized some would ask, "Why don't you keep going until the lights go out?"

But he said that doing so would be wrong. "We have moral and legal obligations to our students and faculties and to our staff and to our alumnae. If you take up this decision too late, you won't be able to meet those obligations," he said. "People will carve up what's left -- it will not be orderly, nor fair."

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Jones said that these challenges intersected. Attracting students to a residential liberal arts college may require institutions to have extensive internship opportunities and nearby attractions. He stressed that the college's leaders and board considered every possible alternative -- including coeducation -- and concluded nothing would help in any way other than to delay the inevitable.

Sweet Briar was founded in 1901, and has operated as a women's liberal arts college throughout its history, known for small class sizes and close student-faculty interaction. The college is considered a pioneer in study abroad and operates a leading study abroad program in France. Sweet Briar's equestrian program is also nationally acclaimed.

But in recent years, the college has been hit hard by sharp increases in the discount rate (the share off of tuition and other fees that students and their families actually pay), while enrollment declined. While applications were going up as a result of intense efforts by the admissions office, the yield (the proportion of admitted applicants who enroll) has been plummeting. Plenty of small private colleges have numbers not that different from some of those on the table that follow, with data provided by Sweet Briar (some figures aren't available for this year):

Read more: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/03/sweet-briar-college-will-shut-down


They have $94 million in the bank and just completed a $10 million library refurbishment...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141028738

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