Civic Education in America

708 Words3 Pages
“In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education,” President Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union Address. A public university is so named because the benefits of higher education not only better the individual student, but better society as a whole as well. Through public research that influences social change, civic education and promoting ‘public good,’ public universities benefit society as well as students. Part of the shared value higher education creates for all is the ‘engine of social change’ described on page 9 of Lagemann and Lewis’ What is College For? This ‘engine’ of people that become more productive because of a college education spur innovation and invention, and become, “repositories of culture as well as sources for cultural creativity,” Lagemann and Lewis, 9. This is the ‘public’ benefit that higher education provides all people, not just those who received the schooling or training. When that public benefit beings to disappear, however, one begins to question the value of supporting higher education with public funds—taxes. A big difference between private and public colleges and universities is that taxes are used to support a public school, called a public charge, while private schools are not supported by the government. Many times, the goals of a public and private university are similar; however there must be some community gain from a public school, while a private school need not provide any public benefit. This could allow for a slower, more open movement in a private school setting not mandated by public need, while public institutions are often fast-paced, large and focused. While there are advantages to focusing on a narrower range of ideas and goa... ... middle of paper ... ...hy was pushed out of the scientific atmosphere, leading to a separation of how science could be used to approach social issues and citizen’s responsibility to those problems. Though public universities exist to promote the common good and improve all citizens’ lives, many people feel that the benefits of public higher education have been decreasing. Specifically, the goal of civic education in the college and university setting has all but nearly disappeared, and that has caused people to rethink the value of public funding of colleges and universities. However people may feel, there is no doubt that the value universities create in the areas of scientific research and innovation is unmatched by any other institution. This obligation to provide significant value to the public as a whole has not diminished over the history of public higher education, but instead
Open Document