These are times of deep distrust of higher learning institutions, with colleges and universities having lost their standing with some of the public. It’s clear that not everyone shares the belief that campuses serve as engines of thoughtful discourse and equality.
As an educator, it is easy to blame politics and partisan polarization for this disagreement about the value of higher education. It is more difficult to think critically about the widespread belief among educators that they, not the communities they purport to serve, know best. For those in our communities, lofty and abstract notions tied to a college education bear little meaning if a degree does not actually improve their lives in some tangible way.
I know this reality well.