Purpose of Higher Education

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Louis Menand, a professor of English and American literature at Harvard University, presented three different theories for the purpose of higher education in The New Yorker’s article named, Live and Learn: Why We Have College. Menand (2011) claims that the reasons for a college education are meritocratic, democratic, and vocational. These theories are great models for the purpose of higher education in our culture at different points in our history. Our colleges and universities conduct instruction with clear and definite intentions. The institutions of higher education adopt certain techniques designed to serve specific goals. These methods evolve with time and shape the way that generations think and reason. The government’s influence in…show more content…
The federal government stayed on the sidelines during this time, even though reports warned that without education reform, the United States could lose its dominance in the global economy. However, the government did not show any significant interest in the battles about the best form of education during this decade.
In 2006, the Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, revived the need to review the state of higher education in the United States. The report, A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of US Higher Education, laid the foundation for the current purpose of higher education in our nation. The report implied that the institutions must listen to capitalism instead of democracy. Most of the report emphasized on how the industry complained about under-prepared graduates that lacked communication and mathematical skills. The report clearly states, “we want a world-class higher education system that creates knowledge, contributes to economic prosperity and global competitiveness, and empowers citizens” (as cited by Hutcheson, 2011). Additionally, the commission recommended that everyone should complete some sort of higher education, like vocational training or an associate degree, to contribute to the goal of global competitiveness. That recommendation supports the projection of the market’s needs for workers with some level of post-secondary training in
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