Abyss of Area Studies

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

College and universities have one thing in common with the federal government, along with the cash that flows from the latter to the former: They seem to be following Einstein’s definition of insanity.

They keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 1958, the federal government gives colleges and universities $120 million a year to train students to study languages that might be useful to America’s national security: Not many students receive such training under the law.

Sarah Stern of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) gave the latest available percentage at a conference EMET held on Capitol Hill on March 19, 2014: Three percent of college graduates go on to work for the military or the government.  “The Defense Languages Institute and the Foreign Language Association produce more foreign language graduates than Title VI,” Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics & Public Policy Center pointed out about the section of the NDEA under which foreign language studies is subsidized.   Kurtz also writes for National Review Online.com.

Nevertheless, if Title VI is failing in its original intent, it has still become politicized. “At least nine faculty at Columbia funded by Title VI have endorsed the boycott of Israel,”  Tammi Rossman-Benjamin pointed out at the EMET seminar. Rossman-Benjamin is a lecturer at the University of California-Santa Cruz.