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Posts Tagged ‘University’

Affirmative Action’s Failure in Higher Education

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 25, 2017

In the 1970s concerns grew that people of color were inappropriately represented in America’s institutions of higher education.  Social engineers and the judicial branch of government determined that this inequity could be addressed by programs that became known as Affirmative Action.  While the inequity was real, evidence indicates the corrective actions have failed.

The New York Times published an article whose headline speaks of Affirmative-Action’s failure:  “Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges than 35 Years Ago”.  The article includes data indicating that since 1980 the percentage of African-American students in America’s top 100 schools has remain “virtually unchanged”.  The Times indicated, however, that there have been gains for African-American and Hispanic in “less selective colleges”.

The Times only offered snippets of potential reasons behind the Affirmative-Action’s failure in America’s top 100 schools.  This includes what the Times refers to as “equity issues that begin earlier” and “distinct disadvantage to begin with”.  A deeper dive into these issues could have been informative and point towards corrective actions.  Did the Times avoid such discussion in fear of who may be to blame for the failure of the Affirmative Action Programs?

The Times indicated that the number of white students enrolled in the top 100 universities has declined since 1980.  During this same period there has been an increase in the number of Asian students.  The reasons behind these changes deserve study, but were ignored by the Times.

Social engineering is at best a soft science with a record of success that has been spotty.  It is often riddled with crony-capitalism.  Programs that fail to successfully meet the goals set up when they were created need to be canceled or radically changed.

Social engineering programs should be judges based on results, not emotion.  Programs that have proven successful should be considered for expansion.  Those that have failed should be eliminated.  Unfortunately this type of results-based performance evaluation are rarely used by social engineers and their partners in the government.


Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Castigates Liberal Intolerance

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 1, 2017

This Blogger has often discussed with associates on the Left concerns about the media’s and educational industry’s strong Leftists tilt.  Many of these Liberals respond by either denying this bias or incredibly stating that they see just the opposite, the media’s tilt towards the Right.  They ignore the educational industry’s Liberal bias since this bias is unarguable by any interpretation.

Liberals choose to ignore the clear evidence of the bias of both the media and educational industry since this strong bias goes against what used to be a main tenant of Liberalism, open and unhindered discussion on any issue.

Recently, there have been signs that even some of the Left have become concerned by the intolerance by Progressives.  CNN host Fareed Zakaria, who has often been strongly criticized towards President Trump, recently castigated fellow liberals for intolerance, as shown in the video below.

Zakaria starts by comparing his reception while giving a Bucknell commencement speech to that VP Mike Pence received while giving a commencement speech at Notre Dame University.  Pence was rudely interrupted as 100 students turn their back and walked out of the speech.

Zakaria went on to share another example where U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos was rudely booed while giving a commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University.  In concluding, Zakaria said:

  • “American universities these days seem to be committed to every kind of diversity – except intellectual diversity. Conservative voices and views, already a besieged minority, are being
  • “Freedom of speech and thought is not just for warm, fuzzy ideas that we find comfortable. It’s for ideas that we find offensive”.
  • “There is, as we all know, a kind of anti-intellectualism on the right these days. Denial of facts, of reason, of science.  But there is also an anti-intellectualism on the left.  An attitude of self-righteousness that says we are so pure, we are so morally superior, we cannot bear to hear an idea with which we disagree.”
  • Liberals think they are tolerant, but often they aren’t”.

While it is comforting that some Left-leaning intellects like Zakaria are finally speaking out on the intolerance of Progressives, the fact that they allowed the Fascist behavior to go on for decades questions their motivation.  The damage done to American society and free speech as a result of the intolerance may not be repairable.  It is difficult to put a genie back in a bottle once the cork is pulled.  It will be difficult for Leftists who so strongly believe in their moral superiority to start listening to others’ points of view.

Posted in Liberals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

American History no Longer Required for History Majors

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 26, 2016

Independent Journal Review reports on yet another sign of the disintegration and political tampering in education by the higher-education industry.  According to the report, George Washington University has changed its requirements for history majors, no longer requiring a course in US History to earn the degree.

GW joins approximately one third of the top US universities in omitting the American history requirement, accordunceding to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).  ACTA President-elect Michael Poliakoff correctly says of this radical direction:

Historical illiteracy is the inevitable consequence of lax college requirements, and that ignorance leads to civic disempowerment.  A democratic republic cannot thrive without well-informed citizens and leaders.  Elite colleges and universities in particular let the nation down when the examples they set devalue the study of United States history.”

It would be bad enough if universities the US history requirement to make way for courses they felt were more important for students, irrespective of how ludicrous that conclusion would be.  No, instead their motivation is far more sinister.  Progressives at universities understand that history teaches lessons that affect graduates’ conclusions and then ultimately future policy decisions that could inhibit the radical Left’s political agenda.

Besides irresponsible curriculums, the cost of services universities offer, i.e. education, are out of control.  While in a free market consumers would ultimately demand improvement and more efficiency, governmental intervention through financing and funding programs has allowed consumers to be pillaged.  This is another example of damage to society as a result of crony capitalism

Posted in Education, Radical Left | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Study Shows Many Colleges no Longer Educate

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 1, 2014

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit advocate for college/university accountability has issued a critical report on the efficacy of college or university degrees in the United States.  The report concluded:

  • Examples of weaknesses include that graduates do not know: 1) the US congressional term length, 2) what the Emancipation Proclamation was, 2) or the lead Revolutionary War general at Yorktown.
  • Few colleges today mandate core subject courses such as U.S. government, history or economics. (This may help explain the incompetence of the current President.)
  • Only 18% of colleges require an American history course to graduate with only 13% requiring a foreign language and a mere 3% one in economics. (It is likely that these Progressive educators fear that an economics education would out the incompetent fiscal management of our government.)
  • Whittier College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California was graded an F because it required only one core course; composition. This school had no requirement for courses in literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science.  Incredible!  Two other of the 98 schools that received F’s were Wesleyan University, Connecticut and Brown University, Rhode Island.
  • Only 23 schools received grades of A’s from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni with one being Christopher Newport University in Virginia that required students to take core courses including literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science.

A recent book titled “Academically Adrift” followed a group of freshman who graduated between 2009 in 2010.  It concluded that the followed students studied only an average of five hours per week.  In addition, for 2013 30% of the group earned less than $30,000 annually in full-time jobs.  While it is hard to justify a college degree based on results, these results are understandable given the low quality of the offered education.

There is a growing chorus questioning the value of a college or university degree.  At the same time the cost of the education has skyrocketed faster than the rate of inflation, a direct result of governmental subsidizes for the cost/borrowing for tuition.  This broken system should have been repaired long ago, but power of the education industry circumvented repairs.  However, as with any free lunch, there are always consequences and changes that intervene and stop the cycle.  Two currently attacking the education industry include poor economic conditions and job market, and the Internet that will move much education online causing significant financial damage to bricks and mortar schools.

As competition for students increase with the education industry encountering the new economic realities, schools that supply real educations will survive with feel-good institutions becoming irrelevant.

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Brandeis University Shows Misogynists side of Political Correctness

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 17, 2014

AliAyaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali woman born of the Islamic faith, should be an inspiration to all who believe in freedom and equal rights.  Instead, she has become a victim of Progressive political correctness.

Earlier this year Brandeis University decided to honor Ms. Ali by awarding her an honorary doctorate for her efforts on behalf of women in Muslim societies.  That decision was met with consternation by pressure groups and Progressive political correctness that does not allow criticism of Islamic faith.  Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence caved to the pressures, removing the degree offer saying “we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.  For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of the statements earlier.”

Lawrence’s response is pure doubletalk.  How does Ms. Ali’s condemnation of female, genital mutilation, honor killings, forced marriage, or Sharia law conflict with Brandeis core values?  Freedom of speech, especially on a college campus, should not be curtailed in the name of any “core values”.  Finally, if core values preclude free speech at Brandeis, why did this same University award an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has said: “The biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s organization, The Aha Foundation, states its charter as: “The AHA Foundation works to protect and defend the rights of women and girls in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.”  This goal should find universal acceptance within the West’s feminist movement.  Their lack of outrage on the treatment of Ms. Ali is an indication of the moral corruptness of this movement.

Ms. Ali published an op-ed in the New York Times posted below titled Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis.  As she so says: “I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally.  And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.  The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored.  We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.

Brandeis behavior on this matter is reprehensible.

Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis, By Aya Hirsi Ali

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning.  Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories.  Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration.  All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed.  You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing.  And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it.  The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

I read an article recently that said many adults don’t remember much from before the age of 8.  That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as “9/11.”

You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing.  And you are not the only ones.  In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide.  Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt.  And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.

Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing.  In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation.  In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.

Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation.  In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage.  That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.

Sadly, the list could go on.  I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours.  When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism.  An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.  The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia.  There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.

Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.

When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago.  The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments.  But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority – including patriarchal authority – to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.

Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement.  Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century.  When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions.

One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning.  We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I’m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today.  I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.

I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally.  And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.

The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored.  We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.

So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration?  Is it blasphemy – punishable by death – to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era?  Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform.  I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.

Is such an argument inadmissible?  It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.

The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.”  That is my motto too.  For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.

Posted in Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Student Debt Soars

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 26, 2012

1Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released the figures for overall student debt in the United States.  The numbers are of concern for the economy.  The total student debt now exceeds $1 trillion, 16% higher than estimated by the Federal Reserve just one year ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the huge student debt will be a drag on the economy for some time as it will cause potential buyers to delay housing purchases and therefore recovery in the important housing market.  The Journal also reports that this debt has soared because of more people going to college to escape the weak economic environment, as well as increased tuition costs.

The student debt is one of many over leveraged aspects of American society.  Ironically, some portion of this debt growth can be attributed to government’s intervention into the education market.  Through various loan and subsidy programs, the government has made it easier for many Americans to attend universities.  At the same time, this assistance allowed colleges and universities to increase tuition much quicker than inflation.  The unintended consequence of these student aid programs is not only increased tuition, but another debt bubble.  This is another example of why the government needs to stop the senseless market interventions.

Posted in Education, Governmental Intervention | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Columbia University Offering Credit Course on ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 2, 2012

Here’s one of those incredible stories that you just can’t make up.  The AP has reported that Columbia University is offering a course for upperclassmen next semester titled “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement”.  Yes, this is a course designed to study the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The ridiculous course is been offered by Columbia’s Anthropology department and is being taught by Leftist professor, Dr. Hannah Appel.  This is yet another example as to how Leftist elitist educators are ruining America’s educational institutions.  With the exception of Progressives in government, few employers will choose a job candidate based on their studying the Occupy movement.

As reader Jim Mahoney said when submitting this incredible story: “It just keeps getting better.”  To that this blog and “yikes”!

Posted in Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »