The SAT went back to its old 1600-point system this week (thank youuuu) and along with that announcement came news of an exciting partnership. The College Board and Khan Academy, which is a non-profit with the mission of "providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere," are teaming up to make test prep free and accessible on the web. Nona Willis-Aronowitz at NBC News reports
In light of Obama's recent comment
about manufacturing vs. an art history degree, Tina Rivers, a PhD student who teaches a humanities class at Columbia required for all undergrads, wrote a thoughtful essay
for The Toast defending the value of art history and the liberal arts.
Aaron Bady, a postdoctoral fellow at UT-Austin and cultural critic, has an editorial in Aljazeera America arguing why public universities should be free
. Bady goes into the history of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which was developed by the UC Regents and State Board of Education in the 1960s and noted that
: "The two governing boards reaffirm[ed] the long established principle that state colleges and the University of California shall be tuition free to all residents of the state." Then, there was a clear cost distinction between public colleges and private colleges, which has become muddied today.
I've heard lots of reasons for why a students choose to go to specific colleges, but this is the first time I've heard someone say they chose to go to a school because they were trusted with priceless works of art to decorate their dorm rooms with (Oberlin College's Art Rental program began in 1940 and allows students to borrow art for $5; students line up more than 22 hours in advance for this privilege). There is also a student who says he decided to stay at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. instead of transferring to one of the Ivies because Lawrence hosts The Great Midwest Trivia Contest
, a 50-hour Internet-broadcast trivia event held every January. At William and Mary, students love the Raft Debates, in which professors pretend they're stranded on a deserted island and argue why their discipline will save humanity (see this episode
of This American Life). I chose my school mostly because it was affordable and had a good reputation, but if money weren't an issue, I suppose I would have taken these kinds of campus traditions and offerings into account.
What kind of job are you going to get with a liberal arts degree? It's a question a lot of parents ask their college-aged kids, especially if they're the ones paying for college. And it's a fair question to ask! Getting a good college education and expanding your intellectual horizons is important, but so is getting a job, and there's no reason why those two things should compete with one another
, as Susan Dominus's story in The New York Times Magazine
showed this weekend.