By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
The state of higher education in what used to be called “Liberal Arts” has gone positively bonkers. In ancient times, when this writer was in college, all students regardless of their major were required to take some liberal arts courses. Generally these consisted of English, History, civics and Western Civilization taken in various combinations. The idea was that whether you were seeking a degree in medicine, engineering, law or some other hard science, the well-rounded student ought to know something about his county, its government, and moral principles. English was required because whatever one studied, it was assumed that they needed to communicate clearly. Now this is no longer the case. Higher education has become obsessed with race, censorship of free speech, ending freedom of expression, and monolithic thinking or what passes for thinking. Some might call this process indoctrination.
To a normal person, all of this academic talk about whiteness, safe spaces, micro aggressions, pervasive racism, and outright hatred for American values and principles sounds like insanity. And it is all wide spread. I have taken the liberty of aggregating a few samples of loony professorial blovations over the past few months. It is wide spread and is producing a generation of leftist zombies whose minds have been emptied of all rational, and empirical thought
- A math education professor at Brooklyn College contends in a recent academic article that “meritocracy” in math classes is a “tool of whiteness.”
Laurie Rubel implicates both meritocracy and “color-blindness” as ideological precepts that hold back racial minorities from succeeding in math classes in an article for the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Mathematics Education.
Rubel, who taught high school math for nine years before becoming a professor, argues that while meritocracy is commonly linked to hard work and talent, it also “functions as a tool of whiteness” because it “ignores systemic barriers and institutional structures that prevent opportunity and success.”
Color-blindness, too, can be an issue for math teachers, according to Rubel, who asserts that “Teachers who claim color-blindness—that is, they claim to not notice the race of their students—are, in effect, refusing to acknowledge the impact of enduring racial stratification on students and their families.
“By claiming not to notice, the teacher is saying that she is dismissing one of the most salient features of the child’s identity and that she does not account for it in her curricular planning and instruction,” Rubel adds, citing education theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings.
Even math teachers who acknowledge race, such as those who indicate that they “can’t relate” in certain ways to students who are of a different race, are called out in Rubel’s paper.
If math teachers notice racial differences between themselves and their students, Rubel elaborates, “those differences are typically cast in terms of deficit constructions about students, their places, and their families.”
To mediate this, Rubel recommends that math teachers incorporate more social justice issues into math lessons, but warns that even “teaching for social justice” can be a “tool of whiteness” if teachers are not sufficiently attuned to the experiences of minority students.
This is because even social justice-minded professors may inadvertently hold the “belief that effort is always rewarded, [which corresponds] to various tools of whiteness, like the myths of meritocracy and colorblindness,” Rubel writes.
2. Donna Riley, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, published an article in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Engineering Education, positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.” Riley added that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.” Would you hire an engineering education graduate who has little mastery of the rigor of engineering? What does Riley’s vision, if actually practiced by her colleagues, do to the worth of degrees in engineering education from Purdue held by female and black students?
Sympathizing with Riley’s vision is Rochelle Gutierrez, a math education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her recent book, she says the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. Educators must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society. She thinks that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” After all, she adds, “who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.” What’s worse is that the university’s interim provost, John Wilkin, sanctioned her vision, telling Fox News that Gutierrez is an established and admired scholar who has been published in many peer-reviewed publications. I hope that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s black students don’t have the same admiration and stay away from her classes.
- Last February, a California State University, Fullerton professor assaulted a CSUF Republicans member during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The students identified the assailant as Eric Canin, an anthropology professor. Fortunately, the school had the good sense to later suspend Canin after confirming the allegations through an internal investigation.
- Last month, the presidents of 13 San Antonio colleges declared in an op-ed written by Ric Baser, president of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, and signed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and 12 other members of the HECSA that “hate speech” and “inappropriate messages” should not be treated as free speech on college campuses. Their vision should be seen as tyranny. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech doesn’t come when he permits people to be free to make statements that he does not find offensive. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when he permits people to make statements he does deem offensive.
- Last year, University of Georgia professor Rick Watson adopted a policy allowing students to select their own grade if they “feel unduly stressed” by their actual grade in the class. Benjamin Ayers, dean of the school’s Terry College of Business, released a statement condemning Watson’s pick-your-own-grade policy, calling it “inappropriate.” He added: “Rest assured that this ill-advised proposal will not be implemented in any Terry classroom. The University of Georgia upholds strict guidelines and academic policies to promote a culture of academic rigor, integrity, and honesty.” Ayers’ response gives us hope that not all is lost in terms of academic honesty.
Its time that colleges started providing some value for their astronomical costs to hard working families.