General Education in the United States.

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General Education

Except for a brief contraction in the early 1990s, the higher education system in the United States has been growing steadily since the late 1970s. Roughly half of all Americans now have attended college at some point in their lives, and roughly a quarter hold a postsecondary degree.(In the United Kingdom, by contrast, less than 15 percent of the population goes to university.) There are 14.5 million students in American colleges and universities today. In 1975 there were a little over 11 million; in 1965 there were fewer than 6 million. And yet when a person in higher education talk about its conditions and its prospects, doom is often in their voices. There are three matters these people tend to worry about: the future of liberal arts college; the “collapse”(as its frequently termed) of the academic disciplines, particularly the humanities; and the seemingly intractable disparity between the supply of Ph.D.s and the demand for new faculty. There are more college student than ever. Why does the system feel to many of the people who work in it as though it is struggling? (Menand, Louis pg 219)

Many people are flocking to college, but there not going there for a traditional liberal arts education. Liberal education is under siege. Critics, of whom there are many; call it an overpriced indulgence for the affluent few who do not have to worry about earning a living upon graduation. Fewer and fewer of today's undergraduates are pursuing the liberal arts, with most of them studying practical subjects like finance, marketing, real estate and pharmacy.(Rimer, Sara)

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Studying just the practical subjects makes very good sense to most people. Why bother studying things you won’t use in your day to day life. You employer wont need you to know algebra or calculus if you’re not dealing with mathematics. Liberal arts are a waste of time. The whole reason liberal arts was created was for the upper class that didn’t have to work, and could sit around all day and discuss random gibberish. During the Vietnam War it was used for draft dodgers. There is no need for liberal arts in today’s practical colleges.

Literature in general is ...

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