We increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens. This shortsighted focus on profitable skills has eroded our ability to criticize authority, reduced our sympathy with the marginalized and different, and damaged our competence to deal with complex global problems. And the loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope of a decent world.be
"Is America making a mistake by orienting its education system towards national economic gain? In her new book, Not for Profit, University of Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes the case that the humanities are central to the education of citizens of a democratic state." Harpers
"Nussbaum makes an urgent call for the promotion of knowledge and skills necessary to establish democratic citizenship. These skills can be obtained by studying the humanities. Nussbaum thinks that the serious worldwide crisis in education is caused by social, economic and intellectual developments." Radboud University
"Most will agree that training people to be economically productive citizens is a reasonable goal, but there is a downside. According to Nussbaum, the narrowed process of achieving a stable economy by eliminating the humanities from our educational system may be counterproductive, perhaps even dangerous. As parents, teachers, and politicians focus on the importance of making money, some have forgotten about common sense and the ability to reason. Individual ideals and critical discourse enable a person to think coherently and ultimately be successful. Students cannot attain a healthy life of contentment from a calculator and a financial spreadsheet alone." Foreword Reviews
"While speaking recently to an audience at Stanford's Cubberley Auditorium, Nussbaum, author of Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, warned that education leaders are being shortsighted in their efforts to stay economically competitive."Stanford University
Today’s college students are struggling to maintain their balance as they attempt to cross the gulf between their dreams and the diminished realities of the world in which they live. They are seeking security but live in an age of profound and unceasing change. This is a generation that thinks of
We know that the ability of government to perform social tasks is very limited indeed. But we also know that the non-profit discharge is a much bigger job than taking care of specific needs. We have come to realize that all non-profit institutions, whatever their specific concern, have something in common.
Across the developed countries today, educators, policy makers, and economists recognize that the new “knowledge economy” demands new and higher levels of skills than the twentieth-century high school or upper secondary school provided. Young people with aspirations to white-collar, “middle-skill” jobs in high-growth areas such as health care, high tech, engineering,
Learn how to structure the first six weeks of school to lay the groundwork for a productive year of learning. Discover how taking the time to build a solid foundation in the early weeks of school can pay off all year long in increased student motivation, cooperation, responsibility, and self-control.
Education expert Tony Wagner has conducted scores of interviews with business leaders and observed hundreds of classes in some of the nation’s most highly regarded public schools. He discovered a profound disconnect between what potential employers are looking for in young people today (critical thinking skills, creativity, and effective communication) and
If we do not insist on the crucial importance of the humanities and the arts, they will drop away, because they do not make money.
Under pressure to cut costs, we prune away just those parts of the educational endeavor that are crucial to pre-serving a healthy society.
Distracted by pursuit of wealth, we increasingly ask our schools to turn out useful profit-makers rather than thoughtful citizens
The empathetic imagination can be capricious and uneven if not linked to an idea of equal human dignity.
The cultivation of sympathy has been a key part of the best modern ideas of democratic education, in both Western and non-Western nations.
We cannot understand where even a simple soft drink comes from without thinking about lives in other nations.
Our problems and responsibilities call on us to study the nations and cultures of the world in a more focused and systematic way.
We need world history and global understanding for reasons that go beyond what is required to understand our own nation.
Young people must gradually come to understand both the differences that make understanding essential if common problems are to be solved.
From a very early age, students should learn a different relation to the world, mediated by correct facts and respectful curiosity.
It is irresponsible to bury our heads in the sand, ignoring the many ways in which we influence, every day, the lives of distant people.
Our simplest decisions as consumers affect the living standard of people in distant nations involved in the production of products we use.
The problems we need to solve – economic, environmental, religious, and political – are global in their scope.
It is easier to treat people as objects to be manipulated if you have never learned any other way to see them.
To think about education for democratic citizenship, we have to think about what democratic nations are, and what they strive for.
Education is not just for citizenship. It prepares people for employment and importantly, for meaningful lives.
The profit motive suggests that science and technology are of crucial importance for the future health of their nations.
The humanities and the arts are being cut away, in both primary/secondary & university education, in virtually every nation of the world.
Thirsty for national profit, nations, and their systems of education, are heedlessly discarding skills needed to keep democracies alive.
Radical changes are occurring in what democratic societies teach the young, and these changes have not been well thought through.
We must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true democratic citizens.
We treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be economically productive rather than to think critically.