The Chris Hedges Show Podcast with Ellen Schrecker on the lost promise of American education.
The American dream of high-quality, affordable mass higher education is no longer within reach of most Americans.
The integrity and quality of public higher education in America has been under assault for decades, as Ellen Schrecker documents in her new book The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s. The American dream of high-quality, affordable mass higher education is no longer within reach of many Americans. Tuitions, once low, if not free, have soared, and with them tremendous student debt. Although the Biden administration has made an effort to reduce some of this debt, but millions of students, graduates and drop-outs still owe a staggering $1.6 trillion dollars. State legislators and the federal government have dramatically slashed funding to public universities, forcing them to seek support from corporations and reduce most faculty to the status of poorly paid adjuncts, often lacking benefits, as well as job security. Nearly 75 percent of the instruction at colleges and universities is in the hands of adjuncts, who have no hope of being granted tenure. Public institutions, which serve 80 percent of the nation’s students, are chronically short of funding and basic resources. Higher education has evolved, even at major research universities, into primarily vocational training, no longer a vehicle for learning but economic mobility. The assault sees elite schools, where tuitions can run as high as $ 80,000 a year, cater to the wealthy and the privileged, locking out the poor and the working class. Joining me to discuss the crisis in higher education is Ellen Schrecker, a retired professor of history at Yeshiva University, and the author of numerous books, including her latest, The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s.