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The Anatomy of a
Most Peculiar Institution

PJ Media, by Victor Davis Hanson

Original Article

Posted By:Judy W., 12/28/2012 2:02:49 PM

Almost everything about the modern university is a paradox. It has become a sort of industry gone rogue that embraces practices that a Wal-Mart or Halliburton would never get away with. It is exempt from scrutiny in the fashion that the Left ceased talking about renditions or Guantanamo Bay once Barack Obama was elected, or a Code Pink goes after a NRA official in the way it would never disrupt a hearing on Fast and Furious. In other words, the university is one of the great foundations of the Left, and so is immune from the sort of criticism

Comments:
This is a fabulously useful and informative piece, covering just about everything that´s wrong with higher education in VDH´s illuminating style.

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: Passion, 12/28/2012 2:34:57 PM     (No. 9087742)

His first sentence just about says it all.....nothing is as it seems indeed.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: krause, 12/28/2012 2:45:15 PM     (No. 9087760)

I like the idea of a national testing apparatus for college graduates. I think identifying proficiencies and deficiencies in basic knowledge areas would be beneficial to employers.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: petalcup, 12/28/2012 2:56:07 PM     (No. 9087776)

A very bright light needs to be directed into the eyes of all higher education. We have a real mess bubbling up within our county´s community college system that has us shaking our heads.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: kanphil, 12/28/2012 2:56:50 PM     (No. 9087778)

End tenure.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: southron, 12/28/2012 3:37:44 PM     (No. 9087809)

The truth is that most young people do not need a college education. They would be better off attending a technical college and learning skills to prepare them for a certain job.

Also, most college curricula have been seriously dumbed-down.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Rafter, 12/28/2012 3:52:31 PM     (No. 9087823)

Many of the brighter students could easily finish the first twelve grades
in ten years or fewer, and complete four years of college in three or fewer.

The prolonging of education by mass social promotion in yearly steps is what´s wrong.
Of course it´s a money-making industry.
We can no longer afford it and the unions.

Each student should progress as rapidly as he/she comfortably or reasonably can within
a given subject matter.
Students don´t need to be in the same grade overall, when many can advance individually based on actual skills and performance.

Someone might be in "twelfth grade" English and "ninth grade" math, or vice versa, for example.
Just make whatever progress is possible without being locked within a class progression.
Lots of our students are unchallenged and bored.
The point should be to finish more quickly the basics, and if you want to continue,
then move more rapidly into the upper levels.

Conversely, those who haven´t mastered a subject should stay at their level until they do.
No social promotions.

I would experiment with starting the academic year in March and ending it just prior to Thanksgiving.
The long break would be in Dec, Jan, Feb.
Eager beavers could take courses in the break period if they wanted.

For most, why idiotically make people drag kids to school in cold, icy/snowy conditions?
And wait for rides in early a.m. darkness?
This practice is just dumb.

We are no longer an agrarian society.
Go to school in nicer weather.
Among a myriad of changes to consider.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Teleologicus, 12/28/2012 4:43:10 PM     (No. 9087869)

An important article on the scandal that is American "higher education." There is a racket here that equals the housing-lending racket. Plenty of hogs are rooting in both troughs.

Junk courses and phony disciplines(black, women´s, queer, Latino, etc.) fill up slots, satisfy quotas, and keep the student loan money coming. Meanwhile, traditional liberal education has been flushed down the memory hole and replaced with politically correct nonsense that deliberately misrepresents history to make people feel good and self-righteous. Plus, politically correct "history" is easy. None of those boring old facts and dates, just attitude and correct thinking.

The universities are the problem. They are the source of the sickness that has spread to the media and the electorate. The universities are to blame for the rise of a character like Obama and the foolishness of a populace that entrusts him and his ilk with the presidency.

What to do? The best solution would be to evacuate the campuses, retire all the tenured liberal arts faculty, and send the air force to blast the buildings to rubble. Then we could start over. Rebuilding would create jobs.

Since the best solution seems unlikely, the next best is to keep harping on the subject and raising public awareness like VDH and others are trying to do.

The universities are the problem. Pass it on. Obama is just the symptom. The universities created him, people like him, the mass media, and the Leftist establishment that presently dominates the public space. Until something is done about the universities, problems will only continue. Indeed, they will get worse.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Iraengneer, 12/28/2012 4:49:20 PM     (No. 9087878)

Both Dear Wife and yours truly have dealt with graduates who are functionally illiterate. Not just high school graduates. College grads. Including two in particular with Master´s degrees from a HBCU.
So, obviously, the quality of the product is not there. Suggestions are not lacking, some very interesting.
Here´s part of the problem: credentialism. Another term for the policies of the dolts normally cluttering up HR departments. They´re the ones who keep writing job descriptions requiring a BS/BA in nearly ANY major as a requirement for counting the fuzz in a caterpiller. Or similar. People are pursuing these idiot degrees in response to these facts, which certainly are not secrets. End that sort of manifest idiocy, and perhaps we can avoid drowning in idiots-with-degree

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Reply 9 - Posted by: neanderthal, 12/28/2012 4:55:39 PM     (No. 9087886)

Just another of the millions of pieced of evidence that America is lost. There is no way to recover from the depths to which we have descended. But, wise people since the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when all is lost always leave and start over someplace else.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: Spidey, 12/28/2012 5:42:32 PM     (No. 9087928)

The student loan program is approaching a trillion dollars in the hole but the left is so addicted to the money the college industry generates,there´s almost no chance of it being reformed or modified. For one thing ,there shouldn´t have been a government takeover of the loan business,especially being rolled into Obamcare.This has led to armies of unqualified people into the system,in a lot of cases just to get the cash disbursements,a lot of them see as government gifts that don´t have to be repaid. It also leads to people becoming career college students to avoid repaying the loans.

On the other hand,you continuously see employers saying they can´t find skilled labor.That´s because so many students take courses of least resistance just to get a worthless sheepskins. To me, this whole college culture of "studies" is a huge waste of money and the grads have to depend on a patronage government job for employment.


I think it would be a lot cheaper to pay employers to train their own employes and maybe there´s already credits for that.

Then there´s a poor job of aptitude screening.

Even with all this foolery,the biggest problem is these loans being used to buy votes from low information students.Obama´s hinted more than once about student loan forgiveness which is why he overwhelmingly won the college vote.

Then you have this other culture of grants which cons kids into thinking they´re getting free money and or discounts.What they really are is taxpayer transfers using the student as a proxy to reward professors and college administrators.

So a lot of it is a pure and simple liberals racket.

On top of all this waste,Obama is creating government positions out of thin air so some of these people get a job somewhere,which adds even more to the deficit.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: dman, 12/28/2012 9:19:07 PM     (No. 9088096)

Break up the universities. Let each college stand or fall on it´s own cost-effectiveness. Stop subsidizing the liberal professors and their "liberal education" B.S. We´ll wind up with fewer students wasting their time and parent´s money on liberal arts studies, and spending more time in "hard" disciplines that can land actual jobs and help us compete with the Chinese and others. Liberal arts will not go away - they will just be placed back in proper perspective.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623, 12/28/2012 10:05:23 PM     (No. 9088117)

We have a lot of educated idiots.

Think back to the founding fathers and what they accomplised and their education vs well..say.. Zippy and the Wookie.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: LanieLou, 12/29/2012 1:07:03 AM     (No. 9088207)

Progressives own the school system, from 1st grade on. They´ve worked on this goal for 50 years & now achieved it.

But just like any criminal.. getting away with it has caused them to be brazen. Now they are erasing & replacing real history.

Professors are millionaires, subsidized with gov´t grants to produce phony papers that will be used to advance idiocy like global warming.

Obama had goals when taking over school loans... the goal is to have young people so indebted, that they jump at the option to provide 2 years of public service ILO repaying loans.

So now the gov´t owns you until you are 25 or so... and will peeps still be motivated to set goals & be successful? Doubt it. No, most likely peeps will be slaves, driven to jobs the gov´t wants done.

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