Thursday, July 19, 2012

People who should know better...

are dissing the liberal arts and advising college students to go in for STEM courses instead. This is based on a false dichotomy. The liberal arts as taught today are a far cry from your grandmother's liberal arts. I should know--I'm a grandmother. When I went to college back in the late lamented 20th century, liberal arts students read "the best that has been thought and said." We read great works of English and American literature. In addition, we had to take courses in history and science. These courses were survey courses, not the greatest, but they did present an overview of Western civilization. We also had to take a couple of years of a foreign language. We read all of Shakespeare's plays as well as those written by other Renaissance playwrights, and a ton of poetry. We were taught grammar and had to do a good deal of writing, which is an excellent way of learning to think. Today's students master Grievance Studies such as Black History, Womyn's History, GLBT history and so on ad infinitum. Or popular culture like soap operas and cartoons. It is no surprise that they get As in everything, who wouldn't? Foreign language departments are closing, as no-one is required to study language any more. Ditto for philosophy. And a four-year course of study takes six years! Students are leaving colleges with worthless diplomas, heavy debt, and empty heads. But don't blame the liberal arts. Nobody is studying them any more.

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