JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, with millions of students returning to class this week, we continue our series about ideas being discussed and debated in the world of education.
Tonight, we turn to the role of universities and explore a question getting plenty of attention amid concerns about student debt: What is the real purpose of college?
Jeffrey Brown has our conversation.
JEFFREY BROWN: «If you want an education, the odds aren’t with you,» just one of many provocative lines from a new book exploring the contemporary university, very much including the most elite institutions and the lives of teachers and students. It’s called «Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education.»
Author Mark Edmundson is a professor of English at the University of Virginia, and he joins us now.
And welcome to you.
MARK EDMUNDSON, «Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education»: Thank you so much.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, first, what is a real education and why does it need defending?
MARK EDMUNDSON: Well, a real education — I will offend a few people by saying this — is humanities-based and it’s oriented around the prospect of getting to know yourself, figuring out who you are and what you really want to do with your life.
JEFFREY BROWN: And that is not what is taught now?...MORE