Detailed Outline

Detailed Outline – Book Review of Fareed Zakaria’s In Defense of a Liberal Education[1]

Christina E. Ekman[2]

President Obama’s concern “that in today’s world, college

graduates need to focus on the tools that will get them good jobs—is shared by many liberals, as well as conservatives and independents. The irrelevance of a liberal education is an idea that has achieved that rare status in Washington: bipartisan


I. Introduction A. Who is Fareed Zakaria and why should you care what he has to say about education? i. Best known as host of CNN’s foreign affairs show, GPS. Born in India in 1964. Came to United States in 1982 and attended Yale, where he earned a BA in History during the cold war, when foreign students had many incentives to come study at American colleges and universities in the form of tuition assistance.[4] Ultimately, Mr. Zakaria earned a Doctorate in Philosophy from Harvard University in Government.[5] ii. Was overwhelmed and awestruck by the array of choices available to him as a student. Stood out in stark contrast to the uniformity and technical nature of higher education in his native India. This is what prompted him to study in the United States.[6] iii. Has worked as an adjunct professor, editor of Foreign Affairs, Newsweek International, editor at large and columnist at Time, and has written for a number of magazines on international affairs. [7] iv. Published several books, served as a news analyst, hosted a weekly TV show on PBS, and in 2008 began hosting Fareed Zakaria Global Public Square (GPS). Includes several best sellers. Dogged by plagiarism allegations in 2013 as well.[8]



B. Roadmap i. General overview of book. ii. Arguments and biases. iii. Assessment iv. Conclusion II. Organization / Content of book A. Book is well organized—starts out with his own story—how he came to be a student in the United States during the cold war and what struck him about the American approach to college/university education, as compared to that in most other countries. It is also well-researched and documented. i. Coming to America ii. Brief History of Liberal Education—back to times of Romans and Greeks iii. Learning to Think[9] iv. The Natural Aristocracy—an examination of the tradition of the liberal education that began in this country with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin[10] v. Knowledge and Power vi. In Defense of Today’s Youth B. A Look at His Sources i. Well researched ii. Uses APA citation format with endnotes. Not as effective as Bluebook for allowing reader to see exactly where



information was found, and not as efficient as footnotes. There does not seem to be any issue with plagiarism though, which is something Mr. Zakaria was accused of in the past.[11] III. Evaluation of the Book’s Merits and Weaknesses B. What is his bias/agenda—he is a centrist and is taking on the liberal and the conservative attack on the traditional American liberal education.[12] i. He styles himself a reasonable centrist, and this is the tone the book takes, as he addresses both the liberal and the conservative positions against a liberal arts education today in this country.[13] ii. He thinks there is no substitute for the liberal education, especially in today’s high-tech world. This is based in part on his personal experience, but is well supported by his research. He does acknowledge the merits of a more technical approach to education, but says that both are needed for the well-rounded and successful student who will also succeed post- education in the work force.[14] iii. Three main purposes of the liberal education: teach students to write[15], teach students to speak publicly[16], teach students how to learn—lots of explanation of both[17] iv. Examples from international test data and what these data really mean. (looks at Israel, Sweden, and the US as compared to other countries with a more “research university” approach to learning—technical based.[18] More startups/innovation out of Israel (#1), US (#2) and Sweden (#6) than in other countries in Europe and Asia etc.) v. Addresses impact of technology/online education and its impact on higher education/liberal education’s accessibility, and draws some parallels such as the GI Bill which opened up education to more people of lower classes—which is consistent with the earlier explained views of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.



vi. Not very well versed in online education though—lots of discussion of MOOCS, and none about the impact of for profit online institutions such as University of Phoenix and American Public University System, to name a few. This chapter needed more research/more current information, as reputable for-profit online institutions, which do make education more accessible to more people (disabled students, first responders, deployed service members, stay-at-home mothers and others who do not have the means to attend a brick and mortar institution). vii. There is a heavy lobby against such institutions by the traditional colleges and universities for many reasons. That needs to be examined in much more detail—similar impact to GI Bill—that connection not fully examined. Note that tuition has not risen in these institutions to the same degree as it has in traditional schools. (Need citation here)[19] viii. Citation—was cited for plagiarism in 2013, but nothing here suggests a problem. Well researched and very detailed citation, though not as detailed and easy to follow as Bluebook (but that is my bias). Conclusion: Book is worth reading


[1] Fareed Zakaria, In Defense of a Liberal Education (2015). [2] Christina Ekman is a retired Army Judge Advocate and an Associate Professor in the American Public University System’s Legal Studies Department. [3] Id. at 19-20. [4] Fareed (Last visited July 23, 2015). [5] Fareed (Last visited July 23, 2015). [6] Zakaria, supra note 1 29-39.



[7] Id. [8] Lloyd Grove, Can Fareed Zakaria Survive A Plagiarism Firestorm? Word Up, 11.12.141:25 PM ET, The Daily Beast zakaria-survive-a-plagiarism-firestorm.html. [9] Id. at [10] Id. at [11] Richard Leiby, Columnist Fareed Zakaria faces new allegations of plagiarism, The Washington Post, (Aug. 19, 2014) zakaria-faces-new-accusations-of- plagiarism/2014/08/19/52bff872-27ed-11e4-958c- 268a320a60ce_story.html. [12] Id. at 15-20. [13] Id. [14] Id. at 73-5. [15] Id. at 73-5. [16] Id. at 75-8. [17] Id. at 78-9. [18] Id. at 90 – 101. [19]


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