Originally published 02/04/2013
Lisa Levenstein teaches history at UNC Greensboro.On Tuesday, Gov. Pat McCrory vowed to change the system of public higher education in North Carolina. Instead of educating students broadly in the liberal arts, he wants universities and community colleges to train students narrowly for existing jobs in fields such as “mechanics.”“We are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs,” McCrory told conservative radio talk-show host Bill Bennett, disparaging subjects such as philosophy for providing students with inadequate skills.Unlike the governor, many Americans value a liberal arts education for teaching critical-thinking and communication skills through the study of the arts, social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. As students read great literature, investigate scientific problems, learn foreign languages, analyze data, scrutinize historical artifacts and study global cultures, they acquire tools that foster lifelong learning and promote engaged and responsible citizenship....