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Drifting to a Close?

by Thomas K. Lindsay

The latest front in the higher-education battles

Twenty-five years ago, Allan Bloom published his bestselling book,The Closing of the American Mind. Last year, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published their landmark study of collegiate learning, Academically Adrift. The two works stand as bookends. Between them rests a generation of college graduates. Together, theychronicle the crisis in higher education.

In Closing, Bloom lays out his analysis of the principles that he recognized had come to dominate the academy. Adrift provides quantitative evidence that the American mind Bloom saw closing has, one generation later, closed further. The unanswered question is whether Adrift’s corroboration of Closing will spur reform — or resignation.

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