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My hope for our students

Two weeks ago, my blogpost focused on how the critical thinking skills honed by reading and other forms of media are crucial for student–and human–development. I am quoting below from a college president who shares my views about the point of education. College is not, and has never been, merely vocational in nature.

“The rhetoric emanating from political and corporate sectors is that we should be more about jobs and less about ideas — that we need fewer great thinkers and more skilled technicians. PayScale cannot measure the worth of those who mount barricades to demand equity and justice; the College Scorecard ignores the ROI in the common good of our graduates who choose public service over private corporate gain.”

While I don’t discourage students going to work in the private sector, I emphatically agree with this. While some fear the day that “AI takes over,” I’d like to encourage our students to be less mechanical and to embrace what makes them human as well as develop technical expertise. The ability to think, reason and consider the well-being of others (not merely for personal gain) in our actions is what truly holds society together.

Let’s help students become both technically competent as well as prepared to discuss and question the meaning of what they read, view, or comment on. Real issues impact real lives and demand thoughtful discourse. I hope that all of my students’ lives are enriched by more than their careers–after all, they’ll be in charge soon. (Maxwell Frost just became the first Gen Z member of Congress at age 25.)


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