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As a new school year begins, Jon Schaff takes stock of the effects of Covid on education. Learning is relationship, and, if the point of college, as the very term “college” implies, is to come together for the enterprise of learning, that coming together has to be more than a name or face on a screen.
As our society considers higher education in the twenty-first century, the best way to decide what universities should be is not to gaze into the future, but to study the past for what universities have been and what they have been able to do. Marsden’s thoughtful and thorough historical narrative in The Soul of the American University Revisited raises a helpful signpost for our society.
The Cult of Smart is deeply entrenched in most modern systems of public education around the world, and the increasingly clear reality of cognitive and genetic differences between different human beings poses a sharp challenge to liberals whose membership in the Cult makes them want to deny this reality entirely.
Students may return to universities that post a philosophy statement but have no philosophy department. Yet as we look at our country, divided over history and by economics, home to scientific innovation and scientific ignorance, education is both more needed and more endangered than ever.
Our educational approach should include the validation of physicality, the imitation of the master, and the celebration of tradition.