“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”  (Malcolm X)

Yes, the word “Education,” like the word “Peace,” conjures up a positive response in our minds.  Yet, I would maintain that, today, higher education is destructively flawed.

American colleges and universities are no longer as dedicated to the liberation and development of human potential.  They are no longer as interested in challenging the young minds they encounter.  Rather, American higher education has turned inwards on itself in an attempt to quantify — trivialize — and, formulalize — the human intellect.

One aspect of this decline was addressed by Gary Gutting, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, in THE NEW YORK TIMES Opinionator, “What is College For?” (December, 2011):

.  .  .  Professors have ceased to expect genuine engagement from students and often give good grades (B or better) to work that is at best minimally adequate.

 This lack of academic engagement is real  .  .  .  it results from a basic misunderstanding — by both students and teachers — of what colleges are for.

 First of all, they are not simply for the education of students.  This is an essential function, but the raison d’être of a college is to nourish a world of intellectual culture; that is, a world of ideas, dedicated to what we can know scientifically, understand humanistically, or express artistically.  In our society, this world is mainly populated by members of college faculties: scientists, humanists, social scientists (who straddle the humanities and the sciences properly speaking), and those who study the fine arts.  Law, medicine and engineering are included to the extent that they are still understood as “learned professions,” deploying practical skills that are nonetheless deeply rooted in scientific knowledge or humanistic understanding.  When, as is often the case in business education and teacher training, practical skills far outweigh theoretical understanding, we are moving beyond the intellectual culture that defines higher education.

 Our support for higher education makes sense only if we regard this intellectual culture as essential to our society.  Otherwise, we could provide job-training and basic social and moral formation for young adults far more efficiently and cheaply, through, say, a combination of professional and trade schools, and public service programs.  There would be no need to support, at great expense, the highly specialized interests of, for example, physicists, philosophers, anthropologists and art historians.  Colleges and universities have no point if we do not value the knowledge and understanding to which their faculties are dedicated. “

Informed passionate advocacy has historically characterized America’s well-educated college graduates.  Unfortunately, today’s typical college graduate can only communicate by reciting a meaningless litany of quotations and numbers.

And yet, truly educated women and men know that the preponderance of facts are temporal — and, that human reasoning is empty when it has no cause at its center.

Today’s under-educated society has embraced the antiquated principles of “uniformity” and “conformity.”  Our young people are being taught to rely on “rules of conduct,” “guidelines,” “statistical probability,” and “list making” as safe substitutes for thought and informed passion.  Our own “Age of Reason” will only breed its own historical share of mediocrity — and, it is our colleges and universities that have dropped the ball.  They have embarked on a disastrous path, attempting to “graduate all” — while, “educating few.”

We must re-remember that Education’s primary goal is to open doors in minds so that society can continue its slow but steady advance.

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

            — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
                              November 13, 2017  (Mondays &  Wednesdays)



 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)