A major report discussing the current state of humanities enrollment is expected to address the worrying imbalance that appears to be happening in education at this moment in time. This no doubt is in reaction to recent reports that college majors in humanities are noticeably poorer than students of other subjects.
According to a humanities committee, made up of “master teachers” trained in the liberal arts, the US government’s emphasis on science could pose a risk for the overall state of the education system.
This report has been requested by a bipartisan group of legislators and is expected to be a rallying cry against the current ideas that the arts is an expensive, ill-advised career pursuit for any students wishing to have successful employment in the future.
This is a similar move to the UK, which has also made science the focal point for upcoming students.
In an interview with The New York Times, Richard H. Brodhead, the president of Duke University, commented on how the majority of people see the arts as a waste of time and money and yet it is an educational background that has produced many successful and creative students.
Furthermore, when there are studies in the public’s domain that suggest that college is worth it even if you don’t graduate, then it leaves many wondering why humanities subjects should suffer because of their apparent lack of substance in providing jobs.
However, given that the 61 page report was commissioned by the American Academy of Arts and Science, the committee seems to be on the path to great criticism before they’ve properly begun.
This is due to the recent controversial blow that the academy’s president, Leslie C. Berlowitz, brought them when she was called out for misrepresenting her scholarly credentials.
In addition to this, there is the also the more pressing factor that social sciences and the arts are already under harsh scrutiny at the moment for being frivolous. Therefore, it would appear that the odds are really stacked against the humanities committee before they have even delivered their report.
Nonetheless, the commissioners are undeterred and ready to hold their own when the debate gets into full swing, which is demonstrated by Pauline Yu, the president of the American Council of Learned Societies, and her defence of the reports stance on scholarly research:
“The statement is right there: research is the ‘bedrock’ of everything else.”
That being said, all the talk and action behind this humanities committee’s report won’t be fully appreciated until news comes out about how Capitol Hill have reacted to this extensive paper.
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