"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, October 28, 2005

Science, Technology, and Repression

Don't get me wrong--I support the open-ended quest of science, and I believe that technology holds the potential to liberate if used wisely (what kind of information cave would we be in today if we had to depend upon the corporate media for news). But this struck me in the piece from the Times on China's effort to build world-class universities centered on science and technology:
China is focusing on science and technology, areas that reflect the country's development needs but also reflect the preferences of an authoritarian system that restricts speech. The liberal arts often involve critical thinking about politics, economics and history, and China's government, which strictly limits public debate, has placed relatively little emphasis on achieving international status in those subjects.

Could that reality have any connection to this reality reported by Ed Week:
The Business Roundtable, a Washington-based coalition of leading U.S. corporations, released an action plan to accelerate student achievement in the fields of math, science, technology, and engineering in July, with the goal of doubling the number of graduates in engineering over the next 10 years. According to the group, the number of students in the United States planning to pursue engineering degrees declined by one-third between 1992 and 2002. ("Business Coalition Focuses on Math, Science Careers," Aug. 10, 2005.)
And do we have to guess why Spellings and her Commission has been instructed by the corporationists to muck around in higher ed policy?

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