William Cronon and “They Say”

The article “Only Connect….” written by William Cronon explores the ideas and concepts behind liberal education. Due to the topic that Cronon addresses, I believe that he is responding to essentially students close to our age. Within his introduction he talks about the “glossy admissions brochures that high school students receive by the hundreds”. Cronon traces the roots of the term “liberal” in order to argue the purpose of a liberal education; his use of the root words to define the significance of a liberal education is extremely helpful in conveying that a liberal education should provide the student with freedom to explore a range of topics and to familiarize themselves with a diverse mix of concepts and lessons.

Cronon dedicates several paragraphs to the exploitation of lists of required courses at colleges and universities. I find his argument very compelling and credible especially when I compare his evidence to my own schooling experiences. Even in high school, we are prompted to create “Four-Year Plans” to make sure that we can successfully and efficiently check off the certain classes that are required for graduation. After recently going through this experience, I personally agree with Cronon’s argument that a true liberal education should provide fewer lists for students to muddle through and a wider variety of classes to chose from. According to the reading from “They Say, I Say” in order to decipher my ideas from Cronon’s I would need to state early on who I am responding to, as well as be very clear about why. I would need to state my motive in a well written thesis.

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