People and Process in Social Security

By Karl De Schweinitz; American Council on Education Committee on Education and Social Security | Go to book overview

8. UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

The present function of the liberal arts college, in my belief, is to use the resources put at our disposal alike by humane literature, by science, by subjects that have a vocational bearing, so as to secure ability to appraise the needs and issues of the world in which we live. Such an education would be liberating not in spite of the fact that it departs widely from the seven liberal arts of the medieval period, but just because it would do for the contemporary world what those arts tried to do for the world in which they took form.

-- JOHN DEWEY1

WHAT CAN AND SHOULD an undergraduate education contribute to the preparation of personnel for the administration of social security? The answer to this question will be found in the nature of the material with which this personnel works. They deal with facts, ideas, and people. They must think in terms of social programs and public policy as they relate to the individual. They do not work in things. When they requisition benefit checks, they make their closest approach to manufacture. Their main products are decisions and administrative interpretations. Whatever they accomplish is done with and through the actions of others. They must be able to conceive broadly and to apply general principles person by person. They must have an awareness both of social purpose and of people in an area of life that is acutely important to every human being--the maintenance of income.

The person who looks forward to this kind of work needs

____________________
1
John Dewey, Problems of Men ( New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1946), p. 87.

-111-

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