Steven Roy Goodman, a DC-based educational consultant, said in a recent Washington Post piece that middle class parents are getting fed up with the “overly politicized atmosphere” and ballooning costs of higher education. If colleges and universities don’t start to shape up, Goodman suggested “they run the risk of turning off enough American consumers that many campuses could marginalize themselves right out of existence.”
Most parents he counsels are “flabbergasted by courses with titles like ‘Pornography and Evolution,’ ‘The Beatles Era,’ or ‘Introduction to Material Culture,’ as well as educational values that appear only tangentially related to the reality of their lives.’”
A sign of the times: Goodman said that he recently counseled one of his clients, an Eagle Scout, that it might not be a good idea to tout his accomplishments on his college application because of the Boy Scouts’ stand against homosexuality. Instead, Goodman suggested that he might get involved in an AIDS hotline to “show sensitivity to an issues linked to the gay community.”
Goodman said that in the 1980s, students were focused solely on the Ivies. Today, that’s not the case. Both parents and students agree that political divisiveness distracts the school’s attention from teaching.
Parents aren’t the only ones bristling over campus political correctness battles, and the prospect of paying over $200,000 per child for four years of college. Contributions from alumni have declined steadily over the past several years and now hover around 13 percent.
Goodman’s article did not go unnoticed. Stanley Kurtz wrote in National Review Online that these views have immense implications for academia, especially when applications for big name schools like Columbia University are already trending down.
Kurtz noted that 20 years of leftist pc on campus combined with the effects of 9/11, generational change, results of empirical studies – and the rise of alternative media have created a huge reservoir of consumer information.
When prestigious schools start losing applicants, perhaps they’ll finally wake up to reality.
Columbia University is a case in point. The anger over their Middle East program, which only hires professors bitterly opposed to Israel, is based on the school not providing another point of view. Recently the school said it would hire one pro-Jewish professor, but that’s not enough.
Kurtz suggests establishing an alternative program, which is what Princeton did after an angry eruption over their hiring of euthanasia-advocate Peter Singer. Their Madison Program is headed by noted natural-law theorist Robert George.
Kurtz says Princeton’s Madison program provides a way-out for elite schools under attack. Although the tenured radicals cannot be removed, small enclaves of conservative faculty would provide some genuine debate on campus – finally.
Deborah Lambert writes the “Squeaky Chalk” column for Campus Report.