College should provide students the kind of education they want. General education requirements should be reduced to no more than 3 or four courses leaving students free to select at least one third of their courses as totally free electives. Students who are allowed to shape their own education will gain much more from it.
Higher education should be for students. Instead of asking what social or political purposes higher education should serve, we should ask what kind of education students want. The continuing problem with higher education, and with many of the proposals for reform, is its failure to treat its students as the intelligent consumers they are. Colleges and universities should not be telling students what they need; they should be providing them the wide variety of educational opportunities their varied talents and interests demand.
General education should provide all students the widest possible variety of ways to achieve their individual educational objectives. Too often courses are designed and taught for students who share the same interests and abilities as the professor, but most of them don’t. Course design should focus on introducing students to disciplines and topics in a way that will stimulate their interest. Students should be able to sample a variety of disciplines and cross-disciplinary options with a large number of totally free electives so that concentrating most work in the major is also an option for those who want it.
Proposed General Education Program:
Reduce requirements to no more than three courses leaving students totally free to choose one-third to one-half of their college courses.
Critics of Choice Four say:
1. Recent high school graduates are simply not ready to make wise choices about courses which they can’t even understand before taking them.
2. The health of democracy requires that colleges involve all students in the development of responsible citizenship.
3. Colleges have a responsibility to preserve and strengthen our cultural heritage and the civilization of freedom which it supports.
4. This choice sacrifices all institutional identify and thus the ability of colleges to provide a deeply meaningful educational experience.