25 September 2012
Education is considered to be a central value in the American culture. Social scientist, and professor of civil society, Benjamin R. Barber, in his excerpt, “The Educated Student: Global Citizen or Global Consumer?” depicts the reality of education’s purpose and unconstructive effect on students’ competence. Barber appeals to logos and ethos to expose the growing relationship between commercialization and the educational system that has emerged throughout history. Furthermore, Barber argues that school institutions need to take back the reign of education by providing students with a multicultural, civic, and literate education in order to shape informed citizens and not an apathetic community. Barber appeals to logos by briefly introducing the history that constituted the purpose of education. He refers to political reformists John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both who advocated that education was the foundation to a well-informed citizenry and the key to a successful democratic government (Barber 1). Furthermore, he emphasizes the value that education gives to citizens. Barber proves his statement by emphasizing the benefits education gives to people. For instance, he mentions Brown vs. Board of Education to indicate the inequalities minority groups had to overcome in order to attain a voice in society (Barber 1). Evidently, the rights that were once denied have been progressively achieved with the help of educational access. Thus, acknowledging the valuable power and thrive education has on individuals. After emphasizing the historical importance that education has brought upon people, Barber continues to use logos to illustrate the corruption that has disintegrated the educational system. For example, Barber points out that after the Civil War, stealth actions of commercialization and privatization in public schools developed. Barber references large corporations such as Coca Cola to stress how financial power that has allowed them to “brand” students through exclusive contracts on campus in exchange for technology and equipment. Barber states, “While you are busy teaching them the importance of critical choices, they can only drink one cola beverage on this campus" (Barber 5). This analogy questions the limited choices given to students, and encourages one to assess the harmful presence of venues in schools to conclude that commercialization does not assist in enhancing students’ education or competency. In addition, Barber allures readers with ethos by passionately articulating his argument. He affirms, “people who sell it would not sit for a minute if their own children, sitting in private schools somewhere, were exposed to that commercial advertising...” (Barber 5). Yet, families with disadvantage backgrounds have to tolerate their children being brand. This parallelism reaches readers to elicit feelings of disappointment and anger towards the unreasonable educational system. Barber further expresses his undignified emotions by communicating to readers, “I don't think we should put up with it, and I don't think America should put up with it” (Barber 6). His concern for America’s welfare gives him credibility to assert that his intentions are genuine. All in all, Barber invokes a social responsibility and accountability to rescue education from further exploitation. He appeals to logos and ethos to effectively convince his audience that liberal arts is a key component in education to strengthen a student’s cultural understanding and global competence. For this to occur, Barber stresses students’ and school administrations’ necessity to reclaim the quality education they are entitled to in order to empower citizenry and democracy.