It’s a curious week when the New York Times runs two stories that defend traditional liberal, arts education. And it’s only Wednesday! First there is David Brooks writing to «stand up for the history, English and art classes, even in the face of today’s economic realities.»
Then there is Stanley Fish arguing that we should «forget about the latest fad and quick-fix, and buckle down to the time-honored, traditional study and practice of the liberal arts and sciences.» Fish weaves together Diane Ravitch, Martha Nussbaum, Leigh A. Bortins and his own rigorous high school education in Providence, Rhode Island. Brooks underscores the «rich veins of emotional knowledge that are the subjects of the humanities.
» Both commentators, like Peter Berkowitz, who recently published the op-ed «Why Liberal Education Matters» in the Wall Street Journal, insist that liberal education was never more relevant. As Berkowitz put it: liberal education «represents the culmination of a citizen’s preparation for freedom.»