The U.S. can continue to outspend every nation in education and pay lip-service to STEM, but reform will not happen until families and policymakers remind colleges and universities of their responsibility to prepare students, through a robust core curriculum, for a prosperous future rooted in real skills and knowledge.
As parents send their kids off to college this fall, and those same kids try to figure out what they want to study, and as those of us who teach in liberal arts institutions begin talking to those students about the purpose and meaning of the educations they are about to embark upon, we should all keep in mind what our ultimate aims are.
When I finished my MA in English in 1982, I was completely unqualified to do anything but teach composition or Intro to Lit as an adjunct instructor at universities. The business world was another country. I had no passport. I didn't know the language. And I was afraid the inhabitants were barbarians.