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Ideas

Dialogues in Democracy

Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008

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Here's a question that will keep you busy for a while: Why go to college? The answer's obvious, isn’t it? To get a good job. But, given the shifting sands of our global economy, is a more general education, the so-called "liberal arts" approach a better reason? And another thing -- what should we do, what can we do, about skyrocketing tuition? These are two themes that we explore in this special edition of ideas.

Here's a question that will keep you busy for a while: Why go to college? The answer's obvious, isn’t it? To get a good job. But, given the shifting sands of our global economy, is a more general education, the so-called "liberal arts" approach a better reason? And another thing -- what should we do, what can we do, about skyrocketing tuition? These are two themes that we explore in this special edition of ideas.

Throughout the program we hear comments from people who attended a day-long deliberation held in October on the campus of Kent State University. They wrestled with these questions as part of a nation-wide project called "By The People: Dialogues in Democracy." The Dialogue at Kent State touched on many critical issues facing higher education in Ohio but the conversations often circled back to two basic questions: "What is the purpose of higher education?" and "How can we achieve that purpose at a cost anyone can afford?" Read transcriptions from the deliberation: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Throwing more money at these problems is not the answer, according to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. In his inaugural address a year ago, he called for fundamental reform of our state's educational system. Since that speech the Governor, along with the General Assembly, approved a record budget for higher education and put a freeze on public college and university tuition for two years. And come March, Eric Fingerhut, Ohio's Chancellor for higher educational, will unveil his 10-year master plan for reforming Ohio's colleges and universities. Click here to go to the Chancellor’s web site.

Chancellor Fingerhut joins us for this special edition of ideas to respond to comments made by people who participated in the deliberation back in October and to answer questions poised by host Dan Moulthrop.

On Sunday, January 13 at 1:00 PM on WVIZ/PBS, join Jim Lehrer as he hosts By the People: Citizenship in the 21st Century, a documentary featuring some of America's most talented and influential leaders debating the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The one-hour special will show highlights of the Dialogues in Democracy project that By the People is undertaking in partnership with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. A major focus of the broadcast is the By the People convocation that took place in Williamsburg, Virginia, from November 8 through 11, with the goal of creating thoughts for a new “Declaration of Citizenship in the 21st Century.”

The convocation brought together a diverse group of approximately 50 influential Americans, reflecting diverse perspectives. Among the participants were: Nathan Baxter, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania; David Davenport, former president of Pepperdine University; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; Leo Melamed, Chairman Emeritus, Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Robert Moses, founder of The Algebra Project; Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; and Indianapolis 500 driver Janet Guthrie. This program will be immediately followed by an encore broadcast of ideas at 2:00 PM, concerning higher education in Ohio.

This episode of ideas was co-produced with Kent State University. Dr. Kim Sebaly served as the convener. Production support was provided by the KSU Department of Telecommunications.

The event and episode of ideas were produced in cooperation with WBGU-PBS in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Funding for this episode of Ideas was provided by:
The Cleveland Foundation
The GAR Foundation
The George Gund Foundation
The Thomas H. White Foundation, a KeyBank Trust

By the People is partnering with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation on the Dialogues in Democracy project.

Support for WVIZ/PBS's Dialogues in Democracy project is provided by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. Ongoing By the People project funding partners include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

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Ideas is designed to report and explain the news, and serve as a source of information about what is most important to Northeast Ohioans. Each week Ideas will connect viewers with insight and commentary from seasoned journalists, those who are close to both the facts and the backstories about subjects affecting the lives of Northeast Ohioans.

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Funding for Ideas/Sound of Ideas comes from The George Gund Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Eaton Corporation Charitable Fund, the George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation and the Nord Family Foundation.