Despite their many differences, we can see in Jefferson and the Obamas a common commitment to a broad, open-ended education as a vehicle for disrupting entrenched elites. When the best educational resources are dominated by the wealthiest, they become an elite bent on cultivating their pleasures rather than on extending knowledge and cultural vitality.
We college advocates have succeeded in making the case for college. Every family feels the urgency, and schools are focused on getting students ready. Maybe we can now ease back on the simplistic messaging and offer up, as an educational exercise, somewhat more complex but more accurate information.