Why English? Why general ed in general?

Political Calculations talks about how English is a general education requirement and how it does not require a major to take many classes outside its courses.

For example, if an Engineering major is required to take two English classes, but an English major is not required to take any Engineering classes, we can verify that the engineering student is being effectively required to subsidize the operation of the university’s English department. The more one-way the mandated class requirements are for outside-of-major courses, the less valuable the particular field is, otherwise campus administrators would not need to effectively subsidize it so heavily to support its continued operation.

This misses the point that we WANT our college graduates, whoever they are, to be able to read and write well in English. As a college, you cannot just presume that a high school graduate can do that. Believe me, they cannot all do that. Yes, maybe reading in literature isn’t necessary, but it is reading that is the issue. And I know there are college students who do not know how to capitalize a sentence or that a period should end it. Is this padding? not it is not. It is a general education requirement to make sure that the students aren’t just able to build bridges, but that they can read the directions and write the proposal to get the thing built.

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