Skip to comments.A hidebound reading list for freshmen: colleges promote a predictable ideology.
Posted on 10/03/2010 10:45:50 AM PDT by rhema
Last month, you dropped your college freshman daughter off at school. Chances are, as you toted boxes up the dorm stairs, you noticed bulletin boards "celebrating" diversity and a poster announcing a big diversity bash during "Welcome Week."
Diversity -- of skin color, sexual orientation, etc. -- is all the buzz on American campuses today. But intellectual diversity, the kind that really matters? That's a different story.
Take the "common text" your daughter was assigned to read over the summer. The purpose of this shared reading -- a tradition for freshmen on many campuses -- is to encourage intellectual reflection and to start a campuswide dialogue, say college administrators. This academic year, 93 percent of the top 100 colleges ranked by U.S. News and World Report assigned a common reading, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS) in Princeton, N.J.
In June, NAS released a study of 290 American colleges with such programs. This fall, the study was updated to include all 314 campuses with common readings -- 184 books in all. The conclusion? Far from being diverse in theme and perspective, these books tend toward lockstep conformity.
You won't see "Moby Dick" or "Hamlet" on the list, or even "The Great Gatsby" -- books that have stood the test of time, and that call students to think seriously about humanity's greatest challenges. Instead, most "common texts" seem intended to advance an ideological agenda -- to nudge young people into viewing the world through a very particular prism.
This fall, for example, many freshmen are arriving at college with "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet" tucked under their arm. Others are being instructed on the evils of capitalism -- the economic system that built our nation's world-class campuses --
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
In general, the topics covered are those beloved of the Academic Left: multiculturalism, racism, immigration, environmental issues, animal rights, food production and green politics, along with the Islamic world, women and poverty. Nearly one-third of the books had an African, African-American, Latino or East Asian theme, while only 1.7 percent had a European theme.
This was exactly what happened to me in late August. And I dropped my daughter off at the oldest Catholic university in the U.S.
During the Sunday morning Mass, prayer was requested for the courage to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It was the first time I felt like standing up and booing at a Mass.
Oh, and the summer reading was a book about fundamentalist Islam.
Those Jesuits certainly know how to run a school.
Kids, did you need any more proof that “summer reading” in college is a joke?
There isn’t a business in the country that will be able to hire these ‘intellectuals’ after 4 or 5 or 6 years of ‘studies’.
A reasonable topic to read at a Catholic university ... if it was by Pope Urban II.
But don’t worry, parents! Just keep sending your kids to these indoctrination camps that call themselves colleges.
Don’t even think about how much it costs and what you really get for what you really sweated for.
Besides...YOUR kid’s college, like his public school, is “different.” YOUR kid is not impressionable or likely to fall under the influence of bad teachers or bad companions. And maybe YOUR kid needs a sheepskin on the wall to prove his worth and make his way in the world.
So go ahead. Never mind whose skin will be on that wall, but it might be your grandchildren’s. Or yours!
That’s nothing compared to the crap I had to read at UW-Madison. “One World” by Peter Singer (lets kill humanity), “Night Draws Near” (A story about Iraqis being killed wholesalely by American soldiers), “Race Class and Gender in American Media” (Saying that the LIBERAL media is racist and sexist), arguments about how Howard Dean and Barack Obama were/are too far to the right , ect.
Why don't you? They certainly are not doing God's business.
Why don't you? They certainly are not doing God's business.
Amen! When the Temple was dirtied by those who were not doing God's business Jesus literally went in and kicked the miscreants out of God's Holy Temple. Booing at the sight of such heresy at the very least is something of which Jesus would definitely approve.
Since Plato’s on the list, I’d add Homer’s “The Odyssey”.
Plato wanted to ban it.
“In response, the NAS has compiled a list of worthy alternatives, entitled “Read These Instead: Better Books for Next Year’s Beaches.”
That’s an excellent list! I’ve read many (though sadly, not all) of the suggested books. Things Fall Apart, Augustine’s Confessions, Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, and Candide are some of my all-time faves.
I went to a Methodist church last year (first time in years; last time ever) and the prayer was to “forgive us for making machines that make war on peoples and destroy the environment”.
I said something under my breath and the people next to me looked at me. I was embarrassed and asked their forgiveness after service (after all I went to their church) but during the sermon the pastor said something about how he was left of center and everyone in the congregation knew it. And I did feel like taking him on.
I know exactly how you felt.
Actually, this is good news. Please let me explain.
I’m a high school English teacher. A lot of the crap portrayed as literature isn’t allowed into my classroom, but that’s not the topic of discussion. Here’s what I’ve found with actual students in a real classroom.
The more strident and ideological the teacher and materials, the more disinterested and cynical the student. Once a student understands that all he or she has to do to pass is vomit back the teacher’s prevailing bias, the student has learned an important lesson: the elites are full of bulls**t.
The same thing happened in the old Soviet Union, where students had to mouth Marxist platitudes in order to pass their classes. They become professionals at mindless writing which reflected the accepted ideology of their leaders. In the end, even the teachers knew it was a mirage.
Among my smartest students, the leftist platitudes about race, diversity, gender and political outlook are the source of smirking disrespect. If I had to put a label on it, I’d describe most of my students as libertarians, with a fairly strong representation of social conservatives. Outspoken leftist attitudes remain in the realm of the teachers, where such thinking is considered by students to be a sign that their classroom leader is an old hippie.
Here’s another good sign. Right now I’m taking an online degree program for my master’s degree. The college is located in Chicago. Students are scattered around the country. I’m in Alaska. There’s not a lot of liberal garbage, either - by my choice. I could have gone to the University of Alaska to get the same degree, but they wanted five times as much money and filled their curriculum with leftist ideals. Someone smarter put together an online program which gave me what I wanted, and with far less cost and headache.
There will come a day, soon, when major academic institutions will be in the same boat as the major television networks - that is to say, they’ll be anachronistic institutions that no one cares about and no one uses. Specialty schools, online or with local branches, will replace the large colleges and universities, as people grab the education they need quickly and effectively and then get to work.
By the way, I warn students about the narrowness of thinking at college or university, too. I also have the seniors read Solzhenitsyn in case they didn’t get the message the first time.
Just my two cents.
The majority of students go to STATE colleges and universities, which are, by definition, socialist institutions.
What you see, is what you get.
They take the book of Ecclesiastes to be by King Solomon, judging by the date they assign to it. That is disputed.
I teach English as well. My 9th graders read Anthem. My juniors read the Declaration of Independence and researched natural rights vs positive rights.
It is stupid to try to convince kids that they must serve others. They’re already going to pay for the Stimulus Bill.