Many of the nation’s colleges and universities have become cesspools of indoctrination, intolerance, academic dishonesty and an “enlightened” form of racism. This is a decades-old trend. In a 1991 speech, Yale President Benno Schmidt warned: “The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.”
Unfortunately, parents, taxpayers and donors have little knowledge of the extent of the dishonesty and indoctrination. There are several clues for telling whether there’s academic dishonesty and indoctrination. One is to see whether a college spends millions for diversity and multiculturalism centers and hires directors of diversity and inclusion, managers of diversity recruitment, associate deans for diversity, and vice presidents of diversity. See whether colleges spend money to indoctrinate incoming freshmen with programs such as “The Tunnel of Oppression,” in which, among other things, students call one another vile racial and sexual names in order to develop “oppression awareness.”
An American Council of Trustees and Alumni survey in 2004 of 50 selective colleges found that 49 percent of students complained of professors frequently injecting political comments into their courses even if they had nothing to do with the subject, while 46 percent reported that professors used their classrooms to promote their own political views. One English professor told his students that “conservatism champions racism, exploitation and imperialist war.” The “critical race studies” program at UCLA School of Law says that its aim is to “transform racial justice advocacy.” At an East Coast college, an exam was found with questions such as, “How does the United States ‘steal’ the resources of other (third world) countries?” The answer marked correct was, “We steal through exploitation.” An economics professor told his class, “The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world.” A Germanic languages professor told his class, “Bush is a moron, a simpleton and an idiot.”
A recent National Association of Scholars report, “A Crisis of Competence,” reported that the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute found that “more faculty now believe that they should teach their students to be agents of social change than believe that it is important to teach them the classics of Western civilization.” Use of public funds for private advocacy not only is academic dishonesty but also borders on criminality.
In today’s college climate, we shouldn’t be surprised by the outcomes. A survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut gave 81 percent of the seniors a D or an F in their knowledge of American history. Many students could not identify Valley Forge, words from the Gettysburg Address or even the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that only 31 percent of college graduates can read and understand a complex book.
A 2007 national survey titled “Our Fading Heritage: Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions,” by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, found that earning a college degree does little to increase knowledge of America’s history. Among the questions asked were: “Who is the commander in chief of the U S. military?” “Name two countries that were our enemies during World War II.” The average score among college graduates was 57 percent, or an F. Only 24 percent of college graduates knew the First Amendment prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.
A 2006 survey conducted by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 24 percent of employers thought graduates of four-year colleges were “excellently prepared” for entry-level positions.
Our sad state of college education proves what my grandmother admonished: “If you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, you can’t do what you’re supposed to do.”
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.