Saving State U: Fixing Public Higher Education

Saving State U: Fixing Public Higher Education - Nancy Folbre I don't rate it higher because it is just a book I liked; it's an important topic, but it is not a pleasant topic to read about, especially if you are in higher education. It is a must read book, but it is the kind of book that most people who need to read it probably will not. Folbre basically makes a plea for higher education and argues for the need to go back to the idea of a common good and a common social contract where we all took care of each other. That is in contrast with the current "I got mine Jack" attitude going around these days where people, as long as they themselves are taken care of, pretty much don't give a hoot about society or anyone else. An education is probably one of the best investments a society can make. Invest in the education of a young person now, and the society stands to reap the rewards in the future. And yet the United states as a society has pretty much moved to take funding away from education (not just higher education; take a look at a lot of public schools as well), make higher education more expensive and inaccessible, and then the nation wonders why the rest of the world does so much better in terms of educational achievement and why corporations have to hire foreigners on visas for technical and highly skilled jobs (the ethics and morality of that move are another debate). The bottom line is that there is a crisis in higher education. It is more expensive. It is becoming more inaccessible to young people who should go to college. In addition, the book provides a pretty good overview of how things have changed from the 1960s or so (time of the Great Society, so on) to today (going through the 80s and Reagan and the Republicans pretty much doing their best to dismantle funding for education and give all they could to the rich, with a stop on G.W. Bush, who was certainly no better). The book is pretty current (covers the first part of Obama's election), but it does not leave much hope to be honest. For all of Obama's rhetoric, a lot of what he has done so far in terms of education seems little. We need a hell of a lot more, and as a society we need to really decide where the priorities are. If nothing else, this book will make you think, if you care that is.