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ERIC Number: EJ1000647
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0893-0384
What Is College for?
Delbanco, Andrew
Continuing Higher Education Review, v76 p11-19 Fall 2012
What is college for? There are basically three prevailing answers to this question. The most common answer is an economic one, though it is really two linked answers: first, that providing more people with a college education is good for the economic health of the nation; and second, that going to college is good for the economic competitiveness of the individuals who constitute the nation. Politicians tend to emphasize the first point. For such economic reasons alone, it is alarming that the United States has been slipping relative to other developed nations as measured by the percentage of its younger population with at least some postsecondary education. Within this gloomy general picture are some especially disturbing particulars. For one thing, flat or declining college attainment rates (relative to other nations) apply disproportionately to minorities, who are a growing portion of the American population. Moreover, among those who do get to college, high-achieving students from affluent families are four times more likely to attend a selective college than students from poor families with comparable grades and test scores. The second argument for the importance of college is a political one, though one rarely hears it from politicians. "The basis of our government," as Thomas Jefferson put the matter near the end of the eighteenth century, is "the opinion of the people." And so if the new republic was to flourish and endure, it required above all, an educated citizenry--a conviction in which Jefferson was joined by John Adams. (Contains 18 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States