President Roth on Why Liberal Education Matters

President Michael Roth appeared on “Open Mind,” a PBS program on New York’s Channel 13, to discuss his new book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters

Roth tells host Alexander Heffner that while in Europe, liberal education has historically been the path for those who did not need to work, that has not been the case in America.

“Liberal learning has been seen as a vehicle for democratric citizenship and for an active life, either in commerce or science, in industry or the arts,” says Roth. The founding fathers saw a “broad contextual education as the key to creating free citizens who were active–people who could do things in the world.”

Today, just as throughout American history, some people view a broad contextual education as luxurious or wasteful–“not efficient enough.”

“But these guys, as they were in the early 1800s, they’re missing the forest for the trees,” says Roth. “They’re trying to train us for a job that’s in existence this morning, but not for a lifetime of creative work over many, many years.”