In Defense of the Liberal Arts

Carol Geary Schneider has an [essay][] in _Inside Higher Ed_ which offers a defense of the liberal arts. Her essay is in response to the extension of the Republican attack on the liberal arts to the social sciences. All of this is done in the spirit of focusing government-supported education on the labor market. You know, only make what sells. How Republicans manage to want to focus on STEM while at the same time trying to rip the heart out of science by undermining evolution, climate science, and anything else that somehow offends their very limited understanding of the Bible escapes me.

What makes it worse is that here in Louisiana our university administrations seem only to happy to echo everything said by policy makers. And so the trickle down effect is that national-level groups lead these efforts by focusing on state-level changes — this is, after all, the strategy for success used by Republicans for congressional re-districting. In Louisiana, this means the supervising boards parrot what the legislature says; university administrations parrot what the board says; and then one gets to see individual university administrators say much the same thing.

Folks, I was in business when *value-added* became popular. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. The idea was in response to a very particular moment in the history of American corporations. Really, history matters. (And I say that on the eve of our local historians giving up on history.)


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