Education is not a Business
Dear MORE, Currently, critiques of education blame teachers and more importantly tenure, as the cause for the failings of the higher education system. I thought that MORE readers might be interested to know that, as opposed to Ms. Dreifus assertion that the “tenure system discourages intellectual audaciousness” (July/August 2010) before the institution of tenure, professors were fired for asserting such bedrock American ideas as “black people should have the right to vote”; “women should be paid the same as men for the same job” and “it should be illegal to whip your children.” Tenure allows one’s children to be exposed to new and challenging ideas that will insure that their time at college is a transformative experience. Higher education is not a business, like MacDonald’s, where you pay money to “super-size” your high school education.
Delmar, New York
MORE is back!
I was worried that MORE had lost its interest in sharing engaging, interesting stories about the things I care about: smart finance, personal re-inventions, and the life stories of people who have found great purpose in their lives serving others. Glad to see MORE is BACK with the July/August issue! I’ve missed you!
The Solution is in Reform
Dear MORE, While I share some of the concerns raised by Claudia Dreifus in her critique of the U.S. university, she makes some significant errors as well. I agree that the core mission of a university is "exposing young people to the great ideas of the past and present….and giving them a chance to stretch their minds" through the study of liberal arts and the sciences. Yet she almost completely discounts the two critical factors that make this kind of education possible.
The first is providing faculty the time and resources to conduct scholarship alongside of teaching undergraduates and graduate students. In order to provide the kind of vibrant intellectual environment that Ms. Dreifus claims to want, universities must expand support for research. This, however, does not absolve universities from relying on underpaid adjuncts, graduate students, and untenured faculty, which brings me to the second critical factor. This factor is the level of public and private support for universities – and education more generally. If universities are not simply for-profit enterprises granting degrees for a fee to student-consumers, but rather, places where student learning and ideas take priority, then this is a "public good" that needs to be sustained by state, federal, and private funds. As an assistant professor at a public university, I share her concern about escalating debt burdens for our students. But the solution lies in increasing support for universities as well as reforming them. Best,
Madbury, New Hampshire
An Ending Love Affair
Dear MORE magazine, I don’t like the fact that you don’t publish Letters to the Editor in your magazine. Are you afraid to publish negative comments? I fell in love with your magazine when I picked up the first issue of it several years ago. Lately, I’m falling out of love with it. I said not too long ago that your magazine was the one I could really relate to, but I’m starting to think that’s not true.
The clothing and accessories featured on page 29-32 are ridiculous. Clothing needs to be on a "body" for anybody to appreciate how it looks. It seems like a lazy way to display these things. I also didn’t like the section from 98 to 103. It looks like a cartoon. I couldn’t read it the way you formatted it. It just didn’t interest me at all. I also think that your feature on Kyra Sedgwick has the same focus as most of these articles—-they highlight how wonderful the celebrity thinks they are. Good for them, but it makes for boring reading. These are fluff pieces with no substance to them.