Professor Monica Robinson
15 April 2015
The Price Is Wrong
As I walk down North Campus Drive I notice many familiar names. Not names of activists nor names of presidents but names of people with high financial value. Why must we override the value of the ones who taught us what values are? I wake up every morning wondering why I am in this predicament. Or at least I think it’s hypocritical when universities tell us how important people like George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks are to our country and society but still force us to believe the names scattered up and down North Campus Drive are our future employers and are the all-powerful. At this time I still believe in what I was taught in elementary school. The history is our future. The men and women who built our values and beliefs left the footprints I will follow. However, I am slowly losing that same sense of hope in many of my peers along with my future co-workers and acquaintances. The commercialization of global educational institutions as well as in the United States is affecting the quality of postsecondary education as well as diminishing our freedoms, community, and diversity on college campuses that so many colleges strive to achieve.
Author of “What’s the Matter with College”, Rick Perlstein takes the stance that times have changed and large corporations in fact do need to be commercialized into colleges and universities. Commercialization is to emphasize the profitable aspects of, especially at the expense of quality (Dictionary.com). In his essay he interviews many college students and ask for their opinion on different topics regarding how drastically the “college experience” has changed. In a specific part of the reading he speaks with Jonathan Hirsch, the president of Chicago Friends of Israel, “a recognized student organization at the University of Chicago that promotes Israel awareness on campus through political, cultural, and educational views” (UCFI). Perlstein describes Hirsch as a biology major that is very passionate about biotechnology. He then proceeds to say that “Hirsch is a case study of a phenomenon that wouldn’t have made sense even to Roland Reagan in 1966: the saturation of higher education with market thinking” (Perlstein 3). Then follows with a quote from poet, Stephen Spender, “It cuts against the presumption that the campus should be a place radically apart from the rest of society” (Perlstein 3). Ultimately, he is agreeing with Spender as well as saying that this “cutting against the rest of society” is a good thing. Throughout Perlstein’s essay claims are made that the college experience doesn’t mean as much as it used to back in the 1960’s. I do somewhat agree with Perlstein’s thesis because these people and corporations do play a big role in our economy and work force but I do not think that we should change times to the point where we forget how important our history was. Whether it’s because of today’s electronic society or the cost of college, I still believe the college experience shouldn’t be commercialized by the large corporations that shape our economy, rather the college experience should be up to the students of today and the innovators of tomorrow.
In today’s fast paced lifestyle it’s easy to forget about what really matters like social values, ethics, and history. Our international sociological and economical thinking is too centralized around who’s growing the fastest, who’s the smartest, and who has the best economy while during this time we lose sight of what our society is based around, our culture. The commercialization of educational institutions regarding education adds even more stress to the loss of culture. As explained in an article by a Pakistani development analyst and freelance columnist, Syed Fazl-E-Haider: “Today education is considered a highly profitable business attracting high profile business tycoons for investment in this...
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