Monday, April 18, 2011

Larry Hickman on Democracy and Education

You can read the dueling DE stories on the protests and ceremony yourself (interestingly, the protests get larger front page play in the print edition but are a bit tough to spot online). But I thought I'd quickly call attention to the remarks by Larry Hickman at the ceremony, quoted (at some length) in the DE's story.  Money quote: 
“We are called on to take account and reflect on the historic achievements of democratic life. If education is about and for the promotion of democracy, and democracy is about and for the promotion of education, then we must have patterns of instruction that are aesthetically and morally thicker, not thinner."
The passages cited in the news story would appear to define both education and democracy rather too narrowly (surely there has been education, even liberal education, in non-democratic societies, and surely democracy has ends other than education). But Hickman is right to be calling us to think about higher goals for public higher education than career training.  It would be splendid if we had a Chancellor or President up to attempting to articulate such thoughts, but credit Cheng with choosing Hickman to give what sounds like an important speech. 

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