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I just read Paul Mann's blistering assessment of higher education in America and nearly choked on my coffee. Concise clarity is a shock first thing in the morning!

From Latin, the gist of the word "education" involves "leading out of" ignorance. When students do the will of corporations without even being aware of it, the ignorance is there for all to see, like the emperor's new clothes. Mann ably describes the forces corporate power employ in education to produce workers, consumers, and voters that serve the bottom line — using funding and tech to actually keep students in the dark. Students are often so busy studying, working, clicking or partying that they don't get the big picture. Even if they manage to get the big picture, power is reinforced by getting the students into debt, which makes it even easier to control a population and funnel attention toward corporate goals. Debt slavery, anyone?

In the darkness, we simply navigate in the direction corporate goals lead us. It's time to regain control of "Ship America" and start navigating. Right now, a rocky shore the USA keeps crashing into, each generation, is war. Young American minds must learn to follow the money on that one: institutional educational funding and student debt, to wages and business, to big data, election funding/politics, to weapons manufacture/sales, to foreign policy. Or must our students stay in the dark, generation after generation?

Margaret Draper, Arcata


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