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Value of General Education

  • Date Submitted: 01/10/2015 05:06 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 41.7 
  • Words: 562
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While many students take general education to be at best an inconvenience, and at worst a waste of time, there are several reasons for thinking that such courses are valuable for students, and that a reduction of general education hours is usually a very bad idea.
While it is true that college is intended to provide students with the necessary credentials for the career of their choice, it has other important functions as well, especially in this era of globalization.
First, it can and should help one become a better person. From my own experience, my undergraduate and graduate education has helped me to be a better citizen, employee, spouse, andparent than I would otherwise be. We need scientists, lawyers, medical professionals, businesspeople, educators, law enforcement professionals, and others who have cultivated the skills of critical thinking and are familiar with some of the most important elements of human thought. The trend towards narrow specialization at the expense of a general education does not take this into account.
Second, in a democracy, it is essential that citizens vote and participate on the basis of good reasons, and not be at the mercy of the political spin doctors who try to use non-rational and even irrational persuasion to manipulate voters. A solid foundation in the arts, humanities, and sciences can help prevent this. Even if you don't remember much in ten years from a philosophy, psychology, or physics class, the skills in critical thinking that you acquire in these different fields will stay with you and serve you well. And these same skills can also prevent you from being at the mercy of the subtle manipulation used by some advertisers.
Third, while I understand the desire to take more classes and develop more expertise in one's major field of study, there are some problems with this line of thinking. First, many people change careers several times over the course of their lives. The foundation of...


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