It’s no secret that the American education system is failing. The evidence is plain as college students extol socialism but then can’t describe what it means. SAT scores are tanking even as high school grades are on the rise thanks to the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality of many teachers.
Of course, critics of higher education culture have known this for years. But how did we get here? Following are three of the largest problems facing the system that is meant to prepare young adults to run the world but is instead turning out intellectual dwarfs.
The world is not a “safe space”, and universities shouldn’t be either. Anyone who is serious about learning history and economics will need to wade through at least one or two books from classical writers such as Adam Smith or Friedrich Hayek. Banning such books from reading lists limits student perspectives to a single point of view, making it hard for them to understand the world at large.
Unfortunately, intolerance extends far beyond controversies surrounding reading lists. So-called “social justice warriors” have vandalized buildings, set of fire alarms and committed assault when universities have allowed controversial speakers to take the stage.
Even liberal professors who aren’t left-wingers have been targeted as is the case when Evergreen State College biology professor Bret Weinstein refused to leave campus as part of a “no white people” day.
Lack of Respect
In times past, it was understood that school faculty members had the right to make the school rules. Unfortunately, this is becoming a thing of the past as each person who doesn’t like the rules challenges them in court in order to become exception to the rule — or even remake the rules to suit their tastes and preferences.
If the school doesn’t have a girls’ basketball team, for instance, why move to another school that does when you can simply sue the school to force them to put your daughter on the boys’ basketball team? This scenario is actually playing out in New Jersey as an angry parent is suing the Archdiocese of Newark because a local Catholic school won’t allow girls on a boys’ team.
The situation has become even more serious across the country as college and university students demand faculty give them control of the hiring process.
In the real world you don’t really get to choose who’s in charge. The people you want in charge of government, for example, aren’t always elected to the position. You don’t get to choose who your boss appoints to manage you or work with you.
You can’t choose if you want to obey traffic rules, tax laws or homeowner association guidelines. Students who learn that all forms of authority can be successfully challenged are, not surprisingly, ill-prepared for a world where they can’t get their own way all the time.
Lowering the standards is a poor way to cover up the academia’s failure to properly teach children basic skills such as reading, spelling, grammar, math, history and science. Yet this is precisely what has been happening at colleges and universities around the country.
According to recent statistics, over 90% of all high school students graduate with either an A or B. Why? Because grade inflation is simply part and parcel of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality.
Teachers simply hand out high scores like Santa handing out candy at Christmas, and then sit back and watch as over 40% of all college students fail to complete a four-year degree program in six years or less — and a mere 29% of students take longer than three years to complete a two-year degree program.
What Happens Next?
Unfortunately, it is hard to see the educational system of this country improve anytime in the near future. However, there is a ray of light as students, faculty members and parents alike are getting fed up with what currently passes for an education.
A number of Middlebury students and faculty members wrote an open letter affirming the importance of free speech and robust debate while other students on campus pitched a hissy fit over the invitation of a controversial speaker. Homeschooling is one the rise in just about every single state, including liberal bastions such as California and New York.
While some students simply won’t have the mental, academic and physical skills needed to live as responsible adults, others will thanks to the efforts of dedicated parents and teachers who are willing to forgo political correctness in favor of giving children and young people a proper education.
Written for and published by Liberty Planet ~ July 21, 2017.
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