Sunday, February 21, 2010

Higher Education--A Public Good, Or An Individual Good?

What’s not to appreciate about higher education?

John Immerwahr, a philosophy professor at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University who co-wrote a recent study of Americans’ perceptions of higher education, says there’s plenty of evidence that people see value in an advanced degree.

But ...

“When you start to ask questions about who should pay for it, that’s where the controversy comes in,” says Immerwahr, also a senior research fellow at Public Agenda, a national nonprofit organization. “People see higher education as an individual good — something you need for yourself.” link

Especially in California, we assume it's a public good, and that's why we devote so much money to our three-tier higher education system. However, it doesn't hurt to periodically revisit that assumption, if for no other reason than to reestablish its validity. There's a good argument to be made against this assumption, though, and it should be addressed; ignored, it festers.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

I have always been puzzled by the interest in industry in producing more employees. If the industry goes away eighteen years down the road, then the students being fitted out for employment have no place to go. I personally think that our narrowing of the educational focus to the point of having some middle school students pick "majors" is a mistake. We need a broadbased, cohesive educational background that we share on a national basis. Common language, common shared experieces and common knowledge are all ties that hold us together. This hodge podge of appeasement to "industry" is pulling us apart.