"Bonfire of the Publics?” Rebuilding the Social Foundations of Higher Education

12/22/2014; 80 minutes

The bedrock of Clark Kerr's Californian Model of higher education was a compact between individual self-realization and the common good which gave every family a stake in a higher education system committed to expanding opportunity for all. This compact endured surprisingly well through the collectivist anti-statism of the 1960s student revolt and the more individualist anti-statism of the 1970s/1980s tax revolt, but its basis is now eroded. While higher education has never been more globally effective, its social foundations have fractured. The cost of tuition is outstripping the capacity to pay. In societies becoming more unequal, elite universities are moving further out of reach, while the quality of mass higher education is under growing pressure. Amid a one-sided emphasis on instrumental private benefits, the public mission of the university is in question, not only in the United States but elsewhere (#28796)

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