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Playlist: Back to School

Compiled By: Philosophy Talk

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Education and the Culture Wars

From Philosophy Talk | 53:58

How should we reconcile conflicts between the state’s responsibility to properly educate minors and the parents’ rights to influence their children's values and ideals?

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In contemporary democracies, the state is responsible  for providing children with an education. But parents surely have both the right and responsibility for instilling appropriate morals and values in their children. How should we reconcile conflicts between the state’s responsibility to properly educate minors and the parents’ rights to influence their children's values and ideals? Should the government’s approach to education in areas such as history and science always trump that of the child’s most direct guardians? Or should parents hold some veto power when it comes to education about evolution, sex, and other issues that bear on religious and personal values? John and Ken do their homework with Stanford political scientist Rob Reich, co-editor of Education, Justice, and Democracy.

The Idea of the University

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

Is a university a research institute with students, or and educational institution with research around the edges – or something in between?

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To whom does the university answer – the trustees?  The administration?  The faculty?  The students?  Or something more abstract, like knowledge and wisdom?  John and Ken examine the very idea of a university with Stanford Provost John Etchemendy.

The Value of a College Education

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

Are college graduates happier, or better prepared for life?

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With 43.3 million Americans burdened with a total of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, high school students thinking about attending college are faced with a daunting decision. Should they risk joining the ranks of the indebted in order to get a college degree? The answer depends on the value of a college education. Are college graduates happier, or better prepared for life? Is it the government’s job to ensure that investing in college is worth it for students? Should public colleges be free? Or would that decrease their value? And would studying philosophy increase or decrease the value of a college education? John and Ken get collegial with former Stanford president John Hennessy, in a program recorded live at De Anza High School in Richmond, California.

Deconstructing the College Admissions Rat Race

From Philosophy Talk | 53:58

What values are implicit in the American college admissions process?

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America's elite colleges and universities spend millions of dollars to generate thousands of applicants, the vast majority of whom they reject.  High school students – and their parents – work hard to gain entry to such institutions, and can be devastated by the rejection. Is there a purpose to this rat race?  John and Ken offer admission to Mitchell Stevens from Stanford's School of Education, author of Creating A Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites, for a program recorded with an audience of high school students in Palo Alto, California.