“The world needs its Amhersts, but not only its Amhersts,” writes College President Biddy Martin in an op-ed for The Hechinger Report, advocating for state and federal support for public institutions of higher learning at a time when their funding is under particular threat as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin presents examples from her own life and family of the value of access to public postsecondary education. She discusses the mutual prejudices between the constituents of different kinds of schools: those who favor the Ivy League and other elite private institutions often overlook or underestimate the work done at large Midwestern universities, while those private schools are derided as snobbish, exclusive and inequitable. But Martin argues that both kinds of schools have value, and that investment in a variety of educational options is necessary for the good of students and society.
“I plead with readers not to yield to the belief that we should elevate any one kind [of education] by denigrating all others,” she writes. “The diversity of postsecondary education has long been a great strength; my family is a testament to the need and the value of institutions and apprenticeships that not only meet different needs but also cultivate different talents.”