A Perfect Mess: Understanding the Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education
SCOPE Brown Bag seminar
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
12: to 1:15 p.m.
Professor David Labaree
Free and open to the public
Stanford Graduate School of Education
John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities
Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality
Stanford Criminal Justice Center
Please join us on January 23 to hear Professor David F. Labaree discuss this evolution of the American system of higher education.
From the perspective of 19th century visitors to the US, the American system of higher education was a joke. Underfunded, underwhelming in its dedication to learning, dispersed to the hinterlands, and lacking a compelling social function, the system seemed destined for deserved obscurity. But by the second half of the 20th century, the system had assumed a dominant position in the world market in higher education. The question is how this happened. The answer is that the characteristics of the system that seemed liabilities in the 19th century became assets in the 20th century. Its modest public funding, dependence on the student and the market, and independence from church and state gave it a degree of autonomy that allowed the system to dominate the world.
Dr. Labaree is the Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education and Professor of History (by courtesy) at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.