TOM KEANE recently wrote, “College doesn’t make you smart. Rather, smart people go to college” (“Is college worth it?” Op-ed, Feb. 18). As a UMass Lowell professor of public health policy, I view college differently. College provides advanced education that a young person is less likely to get if she or he is working full-time and raising a family.
A strong democracy depends on the ability to understand the workings of an advanced society that relies on complicated technologies and organizations. One need only look to the West Virginia chemcial spill to grasp the dangers of technologies that are inefficiently studied and regulated. And because of a lack of informed scrutiny, the organizations that comprise the financial industry devised elegant gambling schemes that nearly brought down the global economy.
Too many Americans receive a sort of education through political advertising and infomercials. Public higher education needs to be free to optimize strong and well-informed discussion of these critical issues.