This graduation season, Michelle Obama gave a commencement speech for the City University of New York. The country’s largest urban public university, CUNY is historically dedicated to bolstering opportunities for people of modest backgrounds. Michelle Obama’s speech, at CUNY’s flagship City College in the Harlem District of Manhattan, lauded this year’s graduates for their own struggles. But the bright-pink elephant in the room—City College reportedly makes higher-than-average use of both part-time and adjunct teaching staff—never got a mention.
. . .At this time, knowledge is critical to a public understanding of civilization-threatening problems. A 2014 Pew Research survey showed that most people who’ve attained a college degree know that global warming is driven by human activity, while most people without that education do not.
And if this is so, higher education matters urgently to sound politics.
But opportunities to contribute to society, its knowledge, and its policies are being denied to current and future teachers and researchers.
Meanwhile, people positioned to change this are speechifying at commencements.
Read this piece in full in today’s edition of CounterPunch.