Monday, October 12, 2009

Civic Engagement and Ideology

Everyone agrees civic engagement is important, and that young people need to be encouraged to participate.  After that, it gets kinda political.

Here's an Inside Higher Ed article that outlines the basic idea here, that colleges need to do more.  The lede:
There is strong support among students and faculty members for the idea that colleges have a role to play in encouraging civic engagement and promoting good citizenship. But there are real doubts about whether colleges are actually carrying out that role.

No argument here, and the article pumps a lot of tables at you to make the point.  A similar article can be found here at the Chronicle of Higher Education.   The lede:
Colleges are not promoting civic engagement nearly as strongly as their students, faculty members, and administrators believe they should be, says a report released today by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a group that promotes liberal education.

To be journalistically picky, the "who said" should never be as long as the "what said" in a lede.  But that's the journalism prof in me rearing my ugly head.

Again, no big deal.  But you do get organizations with a somewhat political/partisan/ideological bent in this debate.  Go here and scroll down, you'll find a link to their guide to what colleges don't tell you.  Some of this is the old preserve western civilization argument (one I'm supportive of, but one that is nonetheless ripe with ideological overtones). 

Click on a state, see how the universities score.  My school -- UGA -- got a B.  UF only got a C, meaning we finally beat 'em at something.  Rice, a great school in Texas, got an F.  That alone makes you wonder about the scoring system.

So sometimes what people know, or what is taught, is full of political undertones.

1 comment:

Dredd said...

Churches and scientists are both "politically" active in subject matter covered by civics.

Science is the mother of WMD in quantities sufficient to destroy the human species and who knows how many more other species, and religion has fuelled a lot of the rhetoric which causes the WMD to be used in the first place.

Much of this is caused by looking backward and battling about where we came from, while we plunge headlong into the future, barely noticing its approach.

The better aspects of science and of religion look forward so that we all get to the proper destination.