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北美范文issue总结打印版最终

1、政治、政府

008 - 政治:完全公开化Vs 有选择的隐瞒-同167

043 - 道德原则:政治Vs 道德

082 - 审查制度:艺术品、历史陈列-同224

097 - 政治Vs 生活

108 - 电子政务、公开透明化-度的把握、标准

123 - 人的政治倾向:外在Vs 内在;表面Vs 本质;细节Vs 关键-同208

167 - 道德;政治-相对的诚实-涉及到评价、判断原则、标准-同8

169 - 政治Vs 道德-跟167,8有联系

195 - 政治目标:理想Vs 务实

224 - 政府、审查制度:判断标准-同82

a. 自我原则、判断Vs 大众意愿

045 - 政府事务、官员:自身判断、原则Vs 大众意愿-同160,79

079 - 政治:自己判断Vs 人们意愿;专家Vs 大众-同45,160

160 - 领导:坚持自身原则Vs 听从大众意愿-内在Vs 外在-同145,45,79 202 - 政治:自我原则Vs 大众意愿-同195,45, 79, 160

b. 环保

083 - 环保:原则、度的把握

121 - 环保:度的把握;矛盾:当前发展Vs 长远考虑

149 - 环保Vs 旅游

242 - 环保:度的把握; 当前发展Vs 长远考虑

Issue 8

"It is often necessary, even desirable, for political leaders to withhold information from the public."

I agree with the speaker that it is sometimes necessary, and even desirable, for political leaders to withhold information from the public. A contrary view would reveal a naivety about the inherent nature of public politics, and about the sorts of compromises on the part of well-intentioned political leaders necessary in order to further the public's ultimate interests. Nevertheless, we must not allow our political leaders undue freedom to withhold information, otherwise, we risk sanctioning demagoguery and undermining the philosophical underpinnings of any democratic society.

One reason for my fundamental agreement with the speaker is that in order to gain the opportunity for effective public leadership, a would-be leader must first gain and maintain political power. In the game of politics, complete forthrightness is a sign of vulnerability and naivety, neither of which earns a politician respect among his or her opponents, and which those opponents will use to every advantage to defeat the

politician. In my observation some measure of pandering to the electorate is necessary to gain and maintain political leadership. For example, were all politicians to fully disclose every personal foible, character flaw, and detail concerning personal life, few honest politicians would ever by elected. While this view might seem cynical, personal scandals have in fact proven the undoing of many a political career; thus I think this view is realistic.

Another reason why I essentially agree with the speaker is that fully disclosing to the public certain types of information would threaten public safety and perhaps even national security. For example, if the President were to disclose the government's strategies for thwarting specific plans of an international terrorist or a drug trafficker, those strategies would surely fail, and the public's health and safety would be compromised as a result. Withholding information might also be necessary to avoid public panic. While such cases are rare, they do occur occasionally. For example, during the first few hours of the new millennium the U.S. Pentagon's missile defense system experienced a Y2K-related malfunction. This fact was withheld from the public until later in the day, once the problem had been solved; and legitimately so, since immediate disclosure would have served no useful purpose and might even have resulted in mass hysteria.

Having recognized that withholding information from the public is often necessary to serve the interests of that public, legitimate political leadership nevertheless requires forthrightness with the citizenry as to the leader's motives and agenda. History informs us that would-be leaders who lack such forthrightness are the same ones who seize and maintain power either by brute force or by demagoguery--that is, by deceiving and manipulating the citizenry. Paragons such as Genghis Khan and Hitler, respectively, come immediately to mind. Any democratic society should of course abhor demagoguery, which operates against the democratic principle of government by the people. Consider also less egregious examples, such as President Nixon's withholding of information about his active role in the Watergate cover-up. His behavior demonstrated a concern for self-interest above the broader interests of the

democratic system that granted his political authority in the first place.

In sum, the game of politics calls for a certain amount of disingenuousness and lack of forthrightness that we might otherwise characterize as dishonesty. And such behavior is a necessary means to the final objective of effective political leadership. Nevertheless, in any democracy a leader who relies chiefly on deception and secrecy to preserve that leadership, to advance a private agenda, or to conceal selfish motives, betrays the democracy-and ends up forfeiting the political game.

Issue 43

"To be an effective leader, a public official must maintain the highest ethical and moral standards."

Whether successful leadership requires that a leader follow high ethical and moral standards is a complex issue--one that is fraught with the problems of defining ethics, morality, and successful leadership in the first place. In addressing the issue it is helpful to consider in turn three distinct forms of leadership: business, political, and social-spiritual.

In the business realm, successful leadership is generally defined as that which achieves the goal of profit maximization for a firm's shareholders or other owners. Moreover, the prevailing view in Western corporate culture is that by maximizing profits a business leader fulfills his or her highest moral or ethical obligation. Many disagree, however, that these two obligations are the same. Some detractors claim, for example, that business leaders have a duty to do no intentional harm to their customers or to the society in which they operate--for example, by providing safe products and by implementing(实施) pollution control measures. Other detractors go further--to impose on business leaders an affirmative obligation to protect consumers, preserve the natural environment, promote education, and otherwise take steps to help alleviate society's problems. Whether our most successful business leaders are the ones who embrace these additional obligations depends, of course, on one's own

definition of business success. In my observation, as business leaders become subject to closer scrutiny by the media and by social activists, business leaders will maximize profits in the long term only by taking reasonable steps to minimize the social and environmental harm their businesses cause. This observation also accords with my personal view of a business leader's ethical and moral obligation.

In the political realm the issue is no less complex. Definitions of successful political leadership and of ethical or moral leadership are tied up in the means a leader uses to wield his or her power and to obtain that power in the first place. One useful approach is to draw a distinction between personal morality and public morality. In my observation personal morality is unrelated to effective political leadership. Modern politics is replete with examples of what most people would consider personal ethical failings: the marital indiscretions of President Kennedy, for instance. Yet few would disagree that these personal moral choices adversely affected his ability to lead. In contrast, public morality and successful leadership are more closely connected. Consider the many leaders, such as Stalin and Hitler, whom most people would agree were egregious violators of public morality. Ultimately such leaders forfeit their leadership as a result of the immoral means by which they obtained or wielded their power. Or consider less egregious examples such as President Nixon, whose contempt for the very legal system that afforded him his leadership led to his forfeiture of it. It seems that in the short term unethical public behavior might serve a political leader's interest in preserving his or her power; yet in the long term such behavior invariably results in that leader's down-fall, that is, in failure.

One must also consider a third type of leadership: social-spiritual. Consider notable figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, whom few would disagree were eminently successful in leading others to practice the high ethical and moral standards which they advocated. However, I would be hard-pressed to name one successful social or spiritual leader whose leadership was predicated on the advocacy of patently unethical or immoral behavior. The reason for this is simple: high standards for one's own public morality are prerequisites for successful social-spiritual

leadership.

In sum, history informs us that effective political and social-spiritual leadership requires adherence to high standards of public morality. However, when it comes to business leadership the relationship is less clear; successful business leaders must strike a balance between achieving profit maximization and fulfilling their broader obligation to the society, which comes with the burden of such leadership.

Issue 108

"In many countries it is now possible to turn on the television and view government at work. Watching these proceedings can help people understand the issues that affect their lives. The more kinds of government proceedings---trials, debates, meetings, etc. ---that are televised, the more society will benefit."

I strongly agree that the more government proceedings--debates, meeting, and so forth---that are televised, the more society will benefit overall. Nevertheless, undue emphasis on this means of informing a constituency has the potential for harm--which any society must take care not to allow.

Access to government proceedings via television carries several significant benefits.

The main benefit lies in two useful archival functions of videotaped proceedings. First, videotapes are valuable supplements to conventional means of record keeping. Although written transcripts and audio tapes might provide an accurate record of what is said, only video tapes can convey the body language and other visual clues that help us understand what people say, whether they are being disingenuous, sarcastic, or sincere. Secondly, videotape archives provide a useful catalogue for documentary journalists.

Televised proceedings also provide three other useful functions. First, for shut-ins and people who live in remote regions, it might be impracticable, or even impossible, to view government proceedings in person. Secondly, with satellite television systems it

is possible to witness the governments of other cities, states, and even nations at work. This sort of exposure provides the viewer a valuable sense of perspective, an appreciation for other forms of government, and so forth. Thirdly, in high schools and universities, television proceedings can be useful curriculum supplements for students of government, public policy, law, and even public speaking.

Nevertheless, televising more and more government proceedings carries certain risks that should not be ignored. Watching televised government proceedings is inherently a rather passive experience. The viewer cannot voice his or her opinions, objections, or otherwise contribute to what is being viewed. Watching televised proceedings as a substitute for active participation in the political process can, on a mass scale, undermine the democratic process by way of its chilling effect on participation. Undue emphasis on tele government poses the risk that government proceedings will become mere displays, or shows, for the public, intended as public relations ploys and so-called "photo opportunities,'' while the true business of government is moved behind closed doors.

In sum, readier access to the day-day business of a government can only serve to inform and educate. Although undue reliance on televised proceedings for information can quell active involvement and serve as a censor for people being televised, I think these are risks worth taking in the interest of disclosure.

Issue 121

"At various times in the geological past, many species have become extinct as a result of natural, rather than human, processes. Thus, there is no justification for society to make extraordinary efforts, especially at a great cost in money and jobs, to save endangered species."

What are the limits of our duty to save endangered species from extinction? The statement raises a variety of issues about morality, conscience, self-preservation, and economics. On balance, however, I fundamentally agree with the notion that humans

need not make "extraordinary" efforts--at the expense of money and jobs--to ensure the preservation of any endangered species.

As I see it, there are three fundamental arguments for imposing on ourselves at least some responsibility to preserve endangered species. The first has to do with culpability. According to this argument, to the extent that endangerment is the result of anthropogenic events such as dear-cutting of forests or polluting of lakes and streams, we humans have a duty to take affirmative measures to protect the species whose survival we've placed in jeopardy. The second argument has to do with capability. This argument disregards the extent to which we humans might have contributed to the endangerment of a species. Instead, the argument goes, if we are aware of the danger, know what steps are needed to prevent extinction, and can take those steps, then we are morally obligated to help prevent extinction. This argument would place a very high affirmative duty on humans to protect endangered species. The third argument is an appeal to self-preservation. The animal kingdom is an intricate matrix of interdependent relationships, in which each species depends on many others for its survival. Severing certain relationships, such as that between a predator and its natural prey, can set into motion a series of extinctions that ultimately might endanger our own survival as a species. While this claim might sound far-fetched to some, environmental experts assure us that in the long run it is very real possibility.

On the other hand are two compelling arguments against placing a duty on humans to protect endangered species. The first is essentially the Darwinian argument that extinction results from the inexorable process of so-called “natural selection” in which stronger species survive while weaker ones do not. Moreover, we humans are not exempt from the process. Accordingly, if we see fit to eradicate other species in order to facilitate our survival, then so be it. We are only behaving as animal must, Darwin would no doubt assert. The second argument, and the one that I find most compelling, is an appeal to logic over emotion. It is a scientific fact that thousands of animal species become extinct every year. Many such extinctions are due to natural forces, while others are due to anthropogenic factors. In any event, it is far beyond our ability

to save them all. By what standard, then, should we decide which species are worth saving and which ones are not? In my observation, we tend to favor animals with human-like physical characteristics and behaviors. This preference is understandable; after all, dolphins are far more endearing than bugs. But there is no logical justification for such a standard. Accordingly, what makes more sense is to decide based on our own economic self-interest. In other words, the more money and jobs it would cost to save a certain species, the lower priority we should place on doing do.

In sum, the issue of endangered-species protection is a complex one, requiring subjective judgments about moral duty and the comparative value of various life forms. Thus, there are no easy or certain answers. Yet it is for this very reason I agree that economic self-interest should take precedence over vague notions about moral duty when it comes to saving endangered species. In the final analysis, at a point when it becomes critical for our own survival as a species to save certain others, then we humans will do so if we are fit - in accordance with Darwin’s observed process of natural selection.

Issue 160

"The most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives. Any leader who is quickly and easily influenced by shifts in popular opinion will accomplish little."

Whether effective leadership requires that a leader consistently follow his or her principles and objectives is a complex issue--one that is tied up in the problem of defining effective leadership in the first place. In addressing the issue it is helpful to consider, in turn, three distinct forms of leadership: business, political, and social-spiritual.

In the business realm, effective leadership is generally defined, at least in our corporate culture, as that which achieves the goal of profit maximization for a firm's shareholders or other owners. Many disagree, however, that profit is the appropriate

measure of a business leader's effectiveness. Some detractors claim, for example, that a truly effective business leader must also fulfill additional duties--for example, to do no intentional harm to their customers or to the society in which they operate. Other detractors go further--to impose on business leaders an affirmative obligation to yield to popular will, by protecting consumers, preserving the natural environment, promoting education, and otherwise taking steps to help alleviate society's problems.

Whether our most effective business leaders are the ones who remain consistently committed to maximizing profits or the ones who appease the general populace by contributing to popular social causes depends, of course, on one's own definition of business success. In my observation, as business leaders become subject to closer scrutiny by the media and by social activists, business leaders will maximize profits in the long term only by taking reasonable steps to minimize the social and environmental harm their businesses cause. Thus the two definitions merge, and the statement at issue is ultimately correct.

In the political realm the issue is no less complex. Definitions of effective political leadership are tied up in the means a leader uses to wield his or her power and to obtain that power in the first place. Consider history's most infamous tyrants and despots--such as Genghis Khaan, Stalin, Mao, and Hider. No historian would disagree that these individuals were remarkably effective leaders, and that each one remained consistently committed to his tyrannical objectives and Machiavellian principles. Ironically, it was stubborn commitment to objectives that ultimately defeated all except Khan. Thus in the short term stubborn adherence to one's objectives might serve a political leader's interest in preserving his or her power; yet in the long term such behavior invariably results in that leader's downfall if the principles are not in accord with those of the leader's would-be followers.

Finally, consider social-spiritual leadership. Few would disagree that through their ability to inspire others and lift the human spirit Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King were eminently effective in leading others to effect social change through civil

disobedience. It seems to me that this brand of leadership, in order to be effective, inherently requires that the leader remain steadfastly committed to principle. Why? It is commitment to principle that is the basis for this brand of leadership in the first place. For example, had Gandhi advocated civil disobedience yet been persuaded by dose advisors that an occasional violent protest might be effective in gaining India's independence from Britain, no doubt the result would have been immediate forfeiture of that leadership. In short, social-spiritual leaders must not be hypocrites; otherwise, they will lose all credibility and effectiveness.

In sum, strict adherence to principles and objectives is a prerequisite for effective social-spiritual leadership--both in the short and long term. In contrast, political leadership wanes in the long term unless the leader ultimately yields to the will of the followers. Finally, when it comes to business, leaders must strike a balance between the objective of profit maximization--the traditional measure of effectiveness--and yielding to certain broader obligations that society is now imposing on them.

Issue 167

"It is impossible for an effective political leader to tell the truth all the time. Complete honesty is not a useful virtue for a politician."

Is complete honesty a useful virtue in politics? The speaker contends that it is not, for the reason that political leaders must sometimes lie to be effective. In order to evaluate this contention it is necessary to examine the nature of politics, and to distinguish between short-term and long-term effectiveness.

On the one hand are three compelling arguments that a political leader must sometimes be less than truthful in order to be effective in that leadership. The first argument lies in the fact that politics is a game played among politicians--and that to succeed in the game one must use the tools that are part-and-parcel of it. Complete forthrightness is a sign of vulnerability and naivete, neither of which will earn a politician respect among his or her opponents, and which those opponents will use to

every advantage against the honest politician.

Secondly, it is crucial to distinguish between misrepresentations of fact in other words, lies--and mere political rhetoric. The rhetoric of a successful politician eschews rigorous factual inquiry and indisputable fact while appealing to emotions, ideals, and subjective interpretation and characterizations. Consider, for example, a hypothetical candidate for political office who attacks the incumbent opponent by pointing out only certain portions of that opponent's legislative voting record. The candidate might use a vote against a bill eliminating certain incentives for local businesses as "dear evidence" that the opponent is "anti-business," "bad for the economy," or "out of touch with what voters want." None of these allegations are outright lies; they are simply the rhetorical cant of the effective politician.

Thirdly, politics is a business born not only of idealism but also of pragmatism; after all, in order to be effective a politician must gain and hold onto political power, which means winning elections. In my observation some degree of pandering to the electorate and to those who might lend financial support in reelection efforts is necessary to maintain that position. Modern politics is replete with candidates who refused to pander, thereby mining their own chance to exercise effective leadership.

Although in the short term being less-than-truthful with the public might serve a political leader's interest in preserving power, would-be political leaders who lack requisite integrity ultimately forfeit their leadership. Consider Richard Nixon, whose leadership seemed born not of ideology but of personal ambition, which bred contempt of the very people who sanctioned his leadership in the first place; the ultimate result was his forfeiture of that leadership. In contrast, Ronald Reagan was a highly effective leader largely because he honestly, and deeply, believed in the core principles that he espoused and advocated during his presidency--and his constituency sensed that genuineness and responded favorably to it. Moreover, certain types of sociopolitical leadership inherently require the utmost integrity and honesty. Consider notable figures such as Gandhi and King, both of whom were

eminently effective in leading others to practice the high ethical and moral standards which they themselves advocated. The reason for this is simple: A high standard for one's own personal integrity is a prerequisite for effective moral leadership.

To sum up, I concede that the game of politics calls for a certain measure of posturing and disingenuousness. Yet, at the end of the game, without a countervailing measure of integrity, political game-playing will serve to diminish a political leader's effectiveness perhaps to the point where the politician forfeits the game.

Issue 169

"Those who treat politics and morality as though they were separate realms fail to understand either the one or the other."

Should politics and morality be treated as though they are mutually exclusive? I strongly agree with the speaker that any person claiming so fails to understand either the one or the other. An overly narrow definition of morality might require complete forthrightness and candidness in dealings with others. However, the morality of public politics embraces far broader concerns involving the welfare of society, and recognizes compromise as a necessary, and legitimate, means of addressing those concerns.

It is wrong-headed to equate moral behavior in politics with the simple notions of honesty and putting the other fellow's needs ahead of one's own----or other ways which we typically measure the morality of an individual's private behavior. Public politics is a game played among professional politicians--and to succeed in the game one must use the tools that are part-and-parcel of it. Complete forthrightness is a sign of vulnerability and naivete, neither of which will earn a politician respect among his or her opponents, and which opponents will use to every advantage against the honest politician. Moreover, the rhetoric of a successful politician eschews rigorous factually inquiry and indisputable fact while appealing to emotions, ideals, and subjective interpretation and characterizations. For example, the politician who claims his

opponent is "anti-business," "bad for the economy," or "out of touch with what voters want" is not necessarily behaving immorally. We must understand that this sort of rhetoric is part-and-parcel of public politics, and thus kept in perspective does not harm the society--as long as it does not escalate to outright lying.

Those who disagree with the statement also fail to understand that in order to gain the opportunity for moral leadership politicians must engage in certain compromises along the way. Politics is a business born not only of idealism but also of pragmatism insofar as in order to be effective a politician must gain and hold onto political power. In my observation, some degree of pandering to the electorate and to those who might lend financial support for reelection efforts is necessary to maintain that position. Modern politics is replete with candidates who refused to pander, thereby mining their own chance to exercise effective leadership.

Finally, those who claim that effective politicians need not concern themselves with morality fail to appreciate that successful political leadership, if it is to endure, ultimately requires a certain measure of public morality--that is, serving the society with its best interests as the leader's overriding concern. Consider the many leaders, such as Stalin and Hitler, whom most people would agree were egregious violators of public morality. Ultimately such leaders forfeit their leadership as a result of the immoral means by which they obtain or wield their power. Or consider less egregious examples such as President Nixon, whose contempt for the very legal system that afforded him his leadership led to his forfeiture of that leadership. It seems to me that in the short term amoral or immoral public behavior might serve a political leader's interest in preserving power; yet in the long term such behavior invariably results in that leader's downfall.

In sum, I fundamentally agree with the statement. It recognizes that the "game" of politics calls for a certain amount of disingenuousness that we might associate with dubious private morality. And it recognizes that such behavior is a necessary means to the final objective of moral political leadership. Besides, at the end of the political

game any politician failing to exercise moral leadership ultimately forfeits the game.

2、教育

039 - 认识大学教育的作用、意义:正规大学教育Vs 自学

051 - 教育方式:个性化Vs 标准化

053 - 教育经费支付:国家Vs 学生;教育Vs 经济

055 - 教育:高分Vs 真正能力培养-同100

100 - 教育机制、环境:分数Vs 能力培养- 同55

102 - 教育作用、效果:传统、既有理念-修正、持续、发展

128 - 矛盾:目的Vs 实际效果-教育的目标、实际

130 - 教育的意义:孩子的社会化

132 - 学科的交叉化、边缘化、相互影响

134 - 外表形式Vs 内核本质;机智圆滑vs.真诚坚定

214 - 局部Vs 整体;度的把握

222 - 教育:明确的目标、方向指导Vs 无目标、无计划

228 - 教育:处理方法、态度-积极行为Vs 消极行为

230 - 自由意志:主动Vs 被动;教育应起的作用:引导-234

232 - 教育目的、手段、方式:理论Vs 实际;教育与社会的接轨

a. 质疑

052 - 学术、工作态度、方式:被动Vs 主动;质疑Vs 接受

153 - 学习方法:主动Vs 被动-同52

213 - 教育:质疑、挑战、创新Vs 折中、容让、合作

b. 教育参与者

032 - 师资:如何留在人才,保证优秀师资;一致Vs 差异

050 - 师资素质的提高:理论Vs 实际、实践

154 - 教育者:父母、学校、社会-合作

223 - 正确认识学校所起的作用:主观能动Vs 客观环境;个人Vs 整体

c. 课程设置、全面教育、就业考虑-教育目的、目标

005-教育:标准化Vs 个性化

034 - 长期Vs 短期;务实Vs 理想;全面发展、素质教育Vs 功利学习

067 - 理论Vs 实践:全面教育、素质教育

078 - 教育的作用:共同的人性Vs 各类冲突、纷争

080 - 全面教育:科学学习的必要性

090 - 务实、功利Vs 理想;短期Vs 长期:学科选择-找工作

094 - 全面发展;务实Vs 理想;长期Vs 短期:学科的选择、专才Vs 通才

098 - 过去Vs 现在;功利、务实Vs 长远;现象Vs 本质:艺术课程的选择

106 - 道德素养的重要性:全面教育-必要性;课程选择/安排

158 - 度的把握;全面发展、素质教育:艺术Vs 主科

191 - 教育:全面平衡发展-兴趣Vs 职业技能;务实Vs 理想;当前Vs 长远201 - 教育目的;务实、功利Vs 理想;短期Vs 长期;

Issue 5

"A nation should require all its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college rather than allow schools in different parts of the nation to determine which academic courses to offer."

The speaker would prefer a national curriculum for all children up until college instead of allowing schools in different regions the freedom to decide on their own curricula. I

agree insofar as some common core curriculum would serve useful purposes for any nation. At the same time, however, individual states and communities should have some freedom to augment any such curriculum as they see fit; otherwise, a nation's educational system might defeat its own purposes in the long term.

A national core curriculum would be beneficial to a nation in a number of respects. First of all, by providing all children with fundamental skills and knowledge, a common core curriculum would help ensure that our children grow up to become reasonably informed, productive members of society. In addition, a common core curriculum would provide a predictable foundation upon which college administrators and faculty could more easily build curricula and select course materials for freshmen that are neither below nor above their level of educational experience. Finally, a core curriculum would ensure that all schoolchildren are taught core values upon which any democratic society depends to thrive, and even survive--values such as tolerance of others with different viewpoints, and respect for others.

However, a common curriculum that is also an exclusive one would pose certain problems, which might outweigh the benefits, noted above.

First of all, on what basis would certain course work be included or excluded, and who would be the final decision-maker? In all likelihood these decisions would be in the hands of federal legislators and regulators, who are likely to have their own quirky notions of what should and should not be taught to children--notions that may or may not reflect those of most communities, schools, or parents. Besides, government officials are notoriously susceptible to influence--peddling by lobbyists who do not have the best interests of society's children in mind.

Secondly, an official, federally sanctioned curriculum would facilitate the dissemination of propaganda and other dogma which because of its biased and one-sided nature undermines the very purpose of true education: to enlighten. I can easily foresee the banning of certain text books, programs, and websites which provide information and perspectives that the government might wish to suppress--as

some sort of threat to its authority and power. Although this scenario might seem far-fetched, these sorts of concerns are being raised already at the state level.

Thirdly, the inflexible nature of a uniform national curriculum would preclude the inclusion of programs, courses, and materials that are primarily of regional or local significance. For example, California requires children at certain grade levels to learn about the history of particular ethnic groups who make up the state's diverse population. A national curriculum might not allow for this feature, and California's youngsters would be worse off as a result of their ignorance about the traditions, values, and cultural contributions of all the people whose citizenship they share.

Finally, it seems to me that imposing a uniform national curriculum would serve to undermine the authority of parents over their own children, to even a greater extent than uniform state laws currently do. Admittedly, laws requiring parents to ensure that their children receive an education that meets certain minimum standards are well justified, for the reasons mentioned earlier. However, when such standards are imposed by the state rather than at the community level, parents are left with far less power to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process. This problem would only be exacerbated were these decisions left exclusively to federal regulators.

In the final analysis, homogenization of elementary and secondary education would amount to a double-edged sword. While it would serve as an insurance policy against a future populated with illiterates and ignoramuses, at the same time it might serve to obliterate cultural diversity and tradition. The optimal federal approach, in my view, is a balanced one that imposes a basic curriculum yet leaves the rest up to each state--or better yet, to each community.

Issue 50

"In order to improve the quality of instruction at the college and university level, all faculty should be required to spend time working outside the academic world in professions relevant to the courses they teach."

Whether college faculty should also work outside academia, in professional work related to their academic fields, depends primarily on the specific academic area. With respect to fields in which outside work is appropriate, I strongly agree with the statement; students and faculty all stand to gain in a variety of respects when a professor complements academic duties with real-world experience.

As a threshold matter, the statement requires qualification in two respects. First, in certain academic areas there is no profession to speak of outside academia. This is especially true in the humanities; after all, what work outside academia is there for professors of literature or philosophy? Secondly, the statement fails to consider that in certain other academic areas a professor's academic duties typically involve practical work of the sort that occurs outside academia. This is especially true in the fine and performing arts, where faculty actively engage in the craft by demonstrating techniques and styles for their students.

Aside from these two qualifications, I strongly agree that it is worthwhile for college faculty to work outside academia in professional positions related to their field. There are three dear benefits of doing so.

First, in my experience as a student, faculty who are actively engaged in their fields come to class with fresh insights and a contagious excitement about the subject at hand. Moreover, they bring to their students practical, real-world examples of the principles and theories discussed in textbooks, thereby sparking interest, and even motivating some students to pursue the field as a career.

Secondly, by keeping abreast of the changing demands of work as a professional, professors can help students who are serious about pursuing a career in that field to make more informed career decisions. The professor with field experience is better able to impart useful, up-to-date information about what work in the field entails, and even about the current job market. After all, college career-planning staff are neither equipped nor sufficiently experienced to provide such specific advice to students.

A third benefit has to do with faculty research and publication in their areas of specialty. Experience in the field can help a professor ferret out cutting-edge and controversial issues--which might be appropriate subjects for research and publication. Moreover, practical experience can boost a professor's credibility as an expert in the field. For example, each year a certain sociology professor at my college combined teaching with undercover work investigating various cults. Not only did the students benefit from the many interesting stories this professor had to tell about his experiences, the professor's publications about cults catapulted him to international prominence as an expert on the subject, and justifiably so.

In sum, aside from certain academic areas in which outside work is either unavailable or unnecessary, students and faculty alike stand everything to gain when faculty enrich their careers by interspersing field work with academic work.

Issue 94

"Universities should require every student to take a variety of courses outside the student's field of study because acquiring knowledge of various academic disciplines is the best way to become truly educated."

I fundamentally agree with the proposition that students must take courses outside their major field of study to become "truly educated." A contrary position would reflect a too narrow view of higher education and its proper objectives. Nevertheless, I would caution that extending the proposition too far might risk undermining those objectives.

The primary reason why I agree with the proposition is that "true" education amounts to far more than gaining the knowledge and ability to excel in one's major course of study and in one's professional career. True education also facilitates an understanding of one-self, and tolerance and respect for the viewpoints of others. Courses in psychology, sociology, and anthropology all serve these ends. "True" education also provides insight and perspective regarding one's place in society and in the physical and metaphysical worlds. Courses in political science, philosophy,

theology, and even sciences such as astronomy and physics can help a student gain this insight and perspective. Finally, no student can be truly educated without having gained an aesthetic appreciation of the world around us--through course work in literature, the fine arts, and the performing arts.

Becoming truly educated also requires sufficient mastery of one academic area to permit a student to contribute meaningfully to society later in life. Yet, mastery of any specific area requires some knowledge about a variety of others. For example, a political-science student can fully understand that field only by understanding the various psychological, sociological, and historical forces that shape political ideology. An anthropologist cannot excel without understanding the social and political events that shape cultures, and without some knowledge of chemistry and geology for performing field work. Even computer engineering is intrinsically tied to other fields, even non-technical ones such as business, communications, and media.

Nevertheless, the call for a broad educational experience as the path to becoming truly educated comes with one important caveat. A student who merely dabbles in a hodgepodge of academic offerings, without special emphasis on any one, becomes a dilettante lacking enough knowledge or experience in any single area to come away with anything valuable to offer. Thus in the pursuit of true education students must be careful not to overextend themselves----or risk defeating an important objective of education.

In the final analysis, to become truly educated one must strike a proper balance in one's educational pursuits. Certainly, students should strive to excel in the specific requirements of their major course of study. However, they should complement those efforts by pursuing course work in a variety of other areas as well. By earnestly pursuing a broad education one gains the capacity not only to succeed in a career, but also to find purpose and meaning in that career as well as to understand and appreciate the world and its peoples. To gain these capacities is to become "truly educated."