Is Diversity in Education Essential?

Topics: Discrimination, Affirmative action, Culture Pages: 6 (1976 words) Published: March 16, 2008
Is Diversity in Education Essential?

During the course of this essay I will present a response to the letter "Education as a commodity" and explain why I disagree with Guerber's weakly substantiated argument. I shall address the three prevalent premises offered by the author, while further critically evaluating and revealing their flaws, truths or irrelevances.

It is clear from the letter, the author has concluded that universities who take diversity into account when selecting future students, are doing so wrongly. He believes it is unfair and irrelevant to education. "It does not, and should not, educate one group of people over another because of their race." (Guerber 1999). This topic of affirmative action, quotas and diversity in university selection, is a much talked about subject, especially in the United States of America. With regards to this essay I shall concentrate on the issue in America, as it is most relevant to the article.

In the first paragraph of Mr Guerber's letter, he argues that students purchase ONLY an education of universities and nothing else should be included in this equation and that diversity therefore is irrelevant.

Looking at this sweeping statement's reasoning logically, it can be plainly seen that the correlation from the one statement to the other, is not completely justified. In order for him to make that particular statement true, he would have to answer the questions: Does or should education include diversity, or is diversity essential to a good education? If he himself had answered those questions, then perhaps there would be no need for me to write this essay.

He solely views education as a commodity. A traded item, that is an item that is bought and sold. Unfortunately education is a unique product. It is paid for but it is not sold. Education is earned through hard work, learning, critical thought and studying. Education is the transfer of skills that accompanies growth and maturity, which transforms a student into an experienced and equipped scholar, who is able to execute an occupation with excellence. If acquiring education were as easy as buying a degree, then the situation would be very different. The author has confused himself and the readers, on the concept of a commodity. A commodity can either be a tradable item, as said before (Oxford Complete Wordfinder 1993 p.285 ). Or alternatively, more correctly and directly applicable to education, it could be something that people value or find useful. The author has made a fallacy of ambiguity (Van Vueren, p. 3.16), on which his argument is based, thus his argument is flawed. Therefore as the basic function of university is to educate their students, it is also their responsibility to equip them with skills to obtain careers in the world of work. If they are to do so in a diverse world, where no two people are alike and there are many different races. Where each of the thousands of different values and cultures has its distinct place. It is completely logical to have a diverse university, representative of the true, real world situation. So they can learn from each other's different cultures and share in each other's vast experiences. If we are not exposed to a diverse culture, we are limiting ourselves. Limiting our exposure to new things and experiences. These diverse experiences could extend our education, which essentially is why we attend university. Best put by Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger, a former Duke University law professor who said "Exposing students to a diverse faculty on a daily basis, can dispel stereotypes and misconceptions and foster mutual understanding and respect.". Universities need to truly represent the world, not providing an isolated haven to foster and promote homogenous intolerant perceptions. Investing in the scholars, so they have a place to expand their thoughts and learn new exciting ideals. If diversity is included in education, the university is taking a holistic...
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