Benjamin Barber's Argument In 'America Skips School'

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Conner Stripling
Lowe
Paper 5 Why Benjamin Barber's Argument in "America Skips School" Trumps William Henry's Argument in "In Defense of Elitism" In today’s society, it has become the norm for adolescents to choose where they would like to go after they graduate, seeking further education. William Henry wrote, “In Defense of Elitism”, he argues that colleges are letting too many students in, and that some of the students that are in college do not really deserve to be there. He thinks that the reason for the dumbed down education system is because of letting in too many students that do not need to attend college. In “America Skips School”, by Benjamin Barber, he believes that the teachers of todays generation blame kids for the fall of
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Barber bases his egalitarian claims on evidence for the conventional American view. He uses history as proof that higher education is a necessity for all citizens recalling “Jefferson and Adams both understood that the Bill of Rights offered little protection in a nation without informed citizens. Once educated, however, a people was safe from even the subtlest tyrannies”(Barber 5). Barber understands the genuine purpose for educating a public and that it endows people “the competence to participate in democratic communities, the ability to think critically and act with deliberation in a pluralistic world, and the empathy to identify sufficiently with others and to live with them despite conflicts of interest and difference in character.221;(Barber 6). Barber’s claim is sound because it agrees with the noble ideals set by our founding fathers and can be applied universally as every country naturally wishes to have a peaceful and educated society. Barber uses logic in arguing for mass public education, quoting two of the most influential founders of our democracy, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Barber knows that in a democracy, the people decide what is best for the nation, and if the nation is uneducated they will make the wrong decisions. Jefferson and Adams warn about those “tyrannies” of an uneducated society, which is why Barbers claims are truthful that education allows people to “think critically and act with deliberation”(6). To answer the question of how a society achieves equality and opportunity for its citizens, one should totally disregard William A. Henry’s callous remarks and illegitimate claims in his essay, “In Defense of Elitism.” His reasoning for selective educational opportunities tries to divide our country, which will discriminate individuals, amplify class
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