Reinventing Public Education: Higher Education

Title: Reinventing Public Education: Higher Education
Location: UM Alumni Center
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Description: The National Forum is joining the Alumni Association of UM in hosting a series of seminars on public education.

This seminar series is a distinct, yet important shift from the ubiquitous and often controversial debate about education reform and our schools’ problems. These discussions have been consumed with talk of accountability measures, testing, marginalization of the teaching profession, standards, and public investment. While these topics are important, have captured public attention and have dominated headlines for nearly a decade, perhaps we should make a more fundamental challenge, concern for all us as parents, grandparents, citizens and as alumni of a great public institution:

What kind of public education system will address the challenges of the 21st century

Public education, from childhood through the university, is considered an important gateway to opportunity in the U.S., as well as a means of building a social structure and preparing individuals for roles in democratic practice. Yet the odds of completing high school for youth attending the nation’s most troubled schools is only about 50/50; and postsecondary opportunities are increasingly favoring the affluent. Research indicates our nation’s high school graduation rate is around 70%, yet only 30% percent of students graduate with the minimum requirements needed to apply to four-year colleges. The U.S. postsecondary attainment rate is currently around 38%.

The panelists will help us make sense of these statistics, focusing on K-12 Education, Higher Education, and the ideal of educating for the good of society. We hope to foster a thoughtful consideration about the future of public education with the full awareness the world is changing in unpredictable ways, the challenges of public responsibility are becoming more complex, more demanding of citizens who can understand our own society in the context of others, and more driven by scientific and technological factors.

Join us as we study, discuss, try to understand, and determine how we might respond to the evolution of our education system during this period of change and challenge and see what we might contribute to the vision of reinvention. Our conversations will ask: What is at stake? Who are the stakeholders? What is the value, the purpose and the future of education for the individual and society?

How did the higher education system in the United States evolve and how has it changed over the last generation?
Are we educating enough of our citizens? Are we educating too many? Who should go to college?
How should a great public university education prepare students for work and for life?
What other roles should colleges and universities play in community life, setting a research agenda for the nation, preparing leaders, maintaining access to the professions?
Value proposition-is higher education worth the cost?
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-11-17

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