North Carolina’s Callow Core

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

‘Twas a time when young men and women graduated from the readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic of high school to the Great Works that awaited them in college, but what awaits today’s high school graduates?

A new study of North Carolina universities found that “Just under half of our schools—45 percent—offer a course in remedial (aka developmental) English.” That study, “How Solid is the Core?,” was conducted by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

The NAS and the Pope Center looked at nearly a dozen state universities in North Carolina. The study graded the Tar Heel state schools on history, English, math and science, and found the universities wanting.

“Only 36 % require some type of Western history or Western civilization course,” the “Core” study concluded. “By contrast, 64% require a multicultural or cultural diversity course, at best a sign of interest in non-western cultures, but all too often an exercise in politically correct ‘education.’”

Indeed, if multicultural awareness were truly the goal, universities would be graduating record numbers of multilingual scholars. The NAS and the Pope Center found the exact opposite to be the case.

“Only East Carolina University requires the 12 credit hours in a foreign language needed to ensure a basic competence,” the “Core” study tells us. “Overall, the institutions studied are seven times as likely to require a course in cultural diversity as they are to mandate foreign language competence.”

And, not too surprisingly, given all of the above, “Not one institution requires all undergraduates to take a course in United States history.”

So, what did the study find in school catalogues? Here’s a sampling:

At Appalachian State University: Advanced Studies in Women and Literature, Women in History and Women in American History.

At Fayetteville State University: African-American Literature I, African-American Literature II, Advanced Grammar and History of Women In The Western World.

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh: Language and Gender, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Literature for adolescents and Women in the Middle East.

At the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill: Southern Women and Writers, Feminist Theory and Literary Criticism and the South as Symbol of Self and Nation.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, the study found that “A considerable number of courses focus on women and women’s issues: Women and Marriage in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, Women in Europe before 1750, Women in Europe since 1750, Women in Russian and Soviet History, Women in American History, Women in the Age of Victoria, Women and Gender in Latin American History, and History of Gender in America.”

“However, seven of these eight courses are Women’s Studies courses cross-listed with the History department.”