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Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education | The Nation

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Creating and maintaining an underclass

My wife is a tenured full professor and we can both attest to the veracity of Professor Deresiewicz’s assessment of academia. It is criminal what our society is doing to education in general and higher education particularly. Where is our political leadership on this topic? Why are Democrats caving to Republican demands for tax cuts when they should be making the case for why we must raise taxes to create a future for our society? Why doesn’t Obama lead on this? He surely knows from personal experience the value of a true higher education.

The destruction of the University of California system (where my wife got her PhD) began with Ronald Reagan, who hated the student movement on campus during the Vietnam war. Prior to Reagan’s term as governor the University had no tuition; he instituted tuition as a barrier to keep out the poor. Tuition has now become as high as at private universities.

Republicans have been universally against universal education. How can you have a low-wage underclass if you keep educating them?

This problem, however, is just one component in what has become the destruction of our democratic system. With the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, our representatives can now be directly elected by industry. And industry has the same objective as Reagan; a large, low-wage underclass to feed the military-industrial complex its cannon fodder and sweat-shop employees. Our time as the nation to be looked up to in the world is coming to a close.