Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mobilizing the Crusaders

The website Inside Higher Ed is doing its part to get all the troops in line for the civic engagement movement in American Higher Education.  The website has set up an audio conference on "Restoring Civic Education" with one of the academic advocates who prepared the report "A Crucible Moment" on the urging of the Department of Education. For a mere $199 ($149 if you register early), you can phone in for a 30 minute presentation and a 30 minute question and answer session.  You can learn how to integrate civic education into all aspects of education, presumably leaving no tiny bit of learning outside of the social and political program.

Seriously, though, I advise everyone to save the money and devote an hour instead to thinking about the problems with this proposed assault on intellectual diversity and independence. The civic educators begin with a fairly reasonable point: today's students are deplorably ignorant of history and government. Instead of arguing that we should teach them more about history and government, though, they urge "...colleges to teach students how to work together on public problems (at the national and local levels)."  So, we aren't supposed to be satisfied with teaching them mathematics, literature, or the social sciences. We're supposed to be training them to become communitarian cadres.

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