Similar to many authors we have read this year Giroux argues, “that neoliberalism is the most dangerous ideology of the current historical movement” because it has been adopted by most political parties and considered the “dominant global political economic trend” (425). Neoliberal discourse has dominated the ways in which we view democracy and public entities, public space is now viewed “as an investment opportunity” (428). Neoliberal ideology has created an army of “self-interest individuals” (425) and has changed the ways in which we view freedom and democracy but we must discuss the larger issue. I know that when we discuss these issues I tend to feel discouraged that there can be no solution because this issue is so deeply rooted in the way we think of society and how it works. Giroux writes, “as democratic values give way to commercial values, intellectual ambitions are often reduced to an instrument of the entrepreneurial self and social visions are dismissed as hopelessly out of date” (428). I believe that I feel hopeless because neoliberalism “wraps itself in what appears to be common sense” (428). Giroux suggests one way in which to create change is by “addressing the meaning and purpose of public and higher education” (430) in order to change the discourse of neoliberalism. I agree with Giroux that public and higher education should be viewed and “defended as both a public good and an autonomous sphere for the development of a critical and productive democratic citizenry” (433). But can we do more in order to really make a change? Giroux explains that as a result of the neoliberal era students feel the only purpose of higher education is to obtain a better position in the job market (435). Is that true for Colgate students? Do we believe the most important aspect about getting our education is to get a job? If we believe this how can the purpose of high education ever be changed?
Tuchman agrees with Giroux when he writes that the neoliberal era has changed the way we view higher education. Instead of defining higher education as “the development of critical thinking, the nurturing of civic responsibility, or the pursuit of knowledge” universities are focused on “more practical terms, such as preparing students for job” (11). Neoliberal ideology and those who are administrators of such universities define knowledge and job preparation as “commodities” (11). Education is viewed as a “market transaction” and the objective is to make a profit (11). The language used in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Arnone 2003) to define a wannabe university is very similar to the discourse in neoliberal ideology. For example, the university wants to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new construction…well known faculty members and recruiting top students” (15). The Chronicle emphasizes the universities as “being on the cusp of greatness” (15). Finally the institution wants to be recognized in the top rankings and “act as engines for the state economies” (15). Education needs to be praised and associated with its “contribution it makes to the quality of life” by emphasizing democratic values “to provide students with the capacities they need for civic courage and engaged critical citizenship” (Giroux 457).