Thursday, December 09, 2004
Higher Education in Decline
Walter E. Williams continues the discussion of campus liberalism and ties this to the decline in college students' knowledge.
In a study to be published in Academic Questions, sociologist Charlotta Stern and economist Daniel Klein found in a random national sample of 1,678 university professors that Democratic professors outnumber Republican professors 3 to 1 in economics, 28 to 1 in sociology, and 30 to 1 in anthropology. As George Will said in his Washington Post column, "Academia, Stuck to the Left" (Nov. 28, 2004): "Many campuses are intellectual versions of one-party nations."
That strong campus leftist bias goes a long way to explain mindless university courses like: "Canine Cultural Studies" (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), "I Like Ike, But I Love Lucy" (Harvard), "History of Electronic Dance Music" (UCLA), "Rock and Roll" (University of Massachusetts) and "Hip-Hop: Beats, Rhyme and Culture" (George Mason University). There are many other examples documented by Accuracy in Academia.
A Zogby survey was commissioned by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) to compare the general cultural knowledge of today's college seniors to that of yesteryear's high school graduates. The questions for the survey were drawn from those asked by the Gallup organization in 1955 covering literature, music, science, geography and history. The results were reported in a NAS publication titled "Today's College Students and Yesteryear's High School Grads." It concludes that "Contemporary college seniors scored on average little or no higher than the high-school graduates of a half-century ago on a battery of 15 questions assessing general cultural knowledge."
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni's 1999 survey of seniors at the nation's top 55 liberal arts colleges and universities found that 98 percent could identify rap artist Snoop Doggy Dogg and Beavis and Butt-Head, but only 34 percent knew George Washington was the general at the battle of Yorktown.