Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Education Without Compromise

Author: William Schaefer

Title: Education Without Compromise:  From Chaos to Coherence in Higher Education
Description: This book is a collection of loosely connected essays about higher education as it was in 1990.  
Writing style: Schaefer comes across as very conservative; his main message seems to be a yearning for the good old days when an education was an education (i.e. constructed the liberal arts humanist). It’s a readable book, though.
Audience: I chose this book because I’ve been reading about disciplines and their role in contemporary (and historical) higher education. I don’t know that there is an audience for this book today because it seemed quite dated to me.
Major ideas: Higher education in 1990 is too concerned with vocation and preparing students for a career. It should be the goal of universities to dump professional preparation and restore the “liberal arts education.”

Wrap-up: I think this is an idea that was pretty reactionary in 1990, and certainly now. There is no longer an elite class of nobility that has the luxury of lifelong education for the sake of learning (and if there were, I don’t think that would be their main interest). The purpose of education has always been to prepare the student for the life he or she will live; there’s no point in preparing for a life they can’t dream of living. 3/5*

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