Most college-bound seniors have now received their letters of acceptance from admissions offices around the country. A lengthy document submitted last week by the California Association of Scholars (CAS) to the California Board of Regents offers compelling evidence that these incoming freshmen will be paying more money for a lower quality education that’s heavily corrupted by leftist activism.
The report notes that “the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982” while “an astounding proportion of students” are completing their studies “without measurable gains in general skills.”
Case in point: According to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 80% of seniors from fifty-five of the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities (including Berkeley and UCLA) received a D or F when asked basic questions about American history like identifying the Gettysburg Address or recognizing fundamental constitutional principles.
The CAS report views the politicization of higher education as a major factor that’s fostered this state of affairs. After all, instructors besotted with ideology focus on indoctrination—not on dispensing a balanced portrait of complex issues and developing a student’s ability to critically evaluate competing perspectives.
In the words of the CAS study: “political activists tend to have a very different attitude to alternatives to their own convictions.” In their view competing beliefs “do not deserve sympathetic consideration, for they are at best wrong, at worst evil.”
Those who believe that the academy has always been structured as it is today should consider the difference between the political makeup of schools in 1969 (when, according to a Carnegie Commission report, there was a 45-27-28 percent liberal-moderate-conservative split) with the 5:1 liberal dominance observed by Stanley Rothman in 1999. Since that time the imbalance has gotten much worse—especially in the Humanities.
At UC San Diego the CAS report shows a clean 27-0 leftist sweep in Politics and a 26:1 split in History—ratios typical within the UC system. The report also provides examples of the way ideology permeates instruction and affects the hiring of new faculty—where there’s significant bias against hiring Republicans but no measurable prejudice against self-identified Marxists.
Even non-political courses are often used as platforms for leftist indoctrination—as Luann Wright (founder of the website noindoctrination.org) discovered when she investigated a UCSD writing course that ignored composition and instead became a “sociopolitical soapbox.” Wright was amazed that administrators were aware of but tolerated such malpractice.
The aforementioned CAS report is designed to get Regents to take seriously Article IX, Section 9 of the state constitution at their May 15 meeting: “The university shall be entirely independent of all political and sectarian influence…”