ENGL001 English Composition
Discussion 1 and discussion 2 Discussion #1 In your responses, please maintain civil discourse and focus on close reading the text (rather than bringing in outside references).your post MUST make at one or two direct reference to the reading, using and discussing a specific quotation or example (with page reference) to support your point.
let's focus discussion of Melinda Cooper's "In Loco Parentis: Human Capital, Student Debt, and the Logic of Family Investment" on the ways that "the family" (usually imagined as a traditional or "Fordist (Links to an external site.)" family unit, though that is even less the norm today than it ever was (Links to an external site.)) has become increasingly important in supporting American college students, especially financially. As Cooper shows at the start of her essay, college is increasingly financed through debt and in collaboration "with parents and other family members" (216).
Parents increasingly co-sign student loans, take out PLUS loans, refinance their homes, borrow from retirement savings, and provide students and graduates with a place to live well into adulthood (especially in New Jersey (Links to an external site.) and especially under COVID-19).
Cooper writes that "student debt is a family affair, binding generations together in webs of mutual obligation and dependence" (217). Main Question: How did the U.S. end up with a private family-based system of college financing? Cooper explores at least three different angles on that question. Pick an angle (theoretical, historical, or political), and then pick the question that interests you (or invent your own) to help you address the overall question -- using at least one piece of specific evidence (a quote or example) from Cooper's essay to support your point. Pick an approach to answering the question:
1) Theoretical: Changing economic theories (from Schultz to Friedman). Beginning with the section titled "Vicissitudes of Human Capital Theory," Cooper discusses how Theodore Schultz's state-sponsored approach to building human capital through government funding of higher education (which informed Lyndon Johnson's Higher Education Act of 1965) was eventually overthrown by Milton Friedman's privately-funded approach to human capital (which informed Ronald Reagan's policy agenda and the increasingly privatized system we see today). Some questions that we might explore (take your pick and add your own) include: Which theoretical approach to college funding makes most sense to you and why? Why was Schultz's approach so successful in the post-WWII era? How did Friedman's model win out? Who benefits and who loses under each system? If a new president wanted to resurrect the Schultz model, what challenges might she or he face? Pick any one of these questions (or set of questions) that interest you, or invent your own, to help address the main question of how we ended up with a private family-based system of college financing.
2) Historical: Comparing the past and the present. Cooper covers moments in history that are important for understanding the way that college funding has changed over time. Some questions to consider (pick the ones that interest you and then feel free to add your own): How has the way Americans finance college changed over time, and with what consequences? How does the current system differ from the one in place during the period from the mid-1940s through at least 1980, when a college education was mainly financed by the state and federal government (with direct aid to schools and significant grants and affordable loans to students) and colleges assumed an in loco parentis role? Were students more free in the past because college was practically free (especially by today's standards)? Why did students protest so much when it might seem (from today's perspective) like they had it so good? What were they rebelling against? Why might there be so much less student protest today? Pick any one of these questions (or set of questions) that interest you, or invent your own, to help address the main question of how we ended up with a private family-based system of college financing.
3) Political: College at the center of politics. Might it be useful to see "college" as a sort of political football (Links to an external site.), helping different interests strategically to advance their larger political agendas? How might college funding have fit into the larger strategic interests of the 1960s democrats? How might making college free in California have, ironically, helped to feed the protest movement there? What were some of the issues that motivated the student protesters at Berkeley in the Sixties (Links to an external site.)? How did Ronald Reagan take advantage of the student protests to advance his political agenda? According to Cooper, why were the social conservatives so interested in making college funding a "family responsibility" (240)? How do you see the actions of the student protesters at Berkeley in the Sixties (Links to an external site.) in light of the larger backlash that their protests helped to stir up? Pick any one of these questions (or set of questions) that interest you, or invent your own, to help address the main question of how we ended up with a private family-based system of college financing.
Discussion 2 After reading at least the first chapter from Armstrong & Hamilton's Paying for the Party, address the following question. ( the reading is attached in file named as discussion#2 - paying for the party) main question In what specific ways does college (and especially college under our family-financed system of higher education) multiply the advantages of coming from a more affluent family? How can family advantage get even further multiplied on the "professional pathway" through college? Or, to approach the question from the flip-side of the coin: how are less-affluent or first-generation college students at a competitive disadvantage during college and following graduation, especially in their ability to achieve the goals of "autonomy" (vs. dependence) and social class "mobility" or "reproduction" (vs. a drop in social status)? How is the role of family background in contributing to college success illustrated by the contrasting experiences of Taylor and Emma, whose stories we follow through both chapters of Armstrong & Hamilton's book? In your response, make at least one direct reference to each reading (citing at least one example or quotation from both). If possible, try to make a connection between the readings.