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Books of the Month . . .
In connection with the publication of the report by the National Association of Scholars about the dumbing down of U.S. colleges, let us review some of the excellent books about colleges that followed Allan Bloomžs trailblazer, The Closing of the American Mind.
Impostors in the Temple (Simon & Schuster, 1992) is what Martin Anderson, a former Columbia University professor and now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, calls many of our nation's academic intellectuals -- that is, people who pretend to teach and pretend to do original, important work, but actually do neither. He says that "the death of integrity in the heart of higher education is the root cause of the educational troubles which afflict us today." He describes how Stanford bilked the federal taxpayers out of millions of dollars and played a big role in the Political Correctness movement.
Dr. George Roche, president of Hillsdale College, demonstrates in The Fall of the Ivory Tower (Regnery, 1994) how the easy availability of federal money channeled to colleges and universities has corrupted our entire educational system.
The flow of taxpayers' money has resulted in a large percentage of students being admitted to college who have no business being there at all because they are academically or emotionally unprepared. The high rate of default on student loans is a national scandal.
One of America's most distinguished scholars, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Thomas Sowell gives us a realistic look at the decline, the deception and the false dogmas of the U.S. educational system, which he charges is morally and intellectually bankrupt. In Inside American Education (Free Press, 1993), he exposes the ideological indoctrination and double standards about behavior and race practiced at the leading universities. Sowell says that they have presumed to be the conscience of society, while shamelessly exploiting college athletes, overcharging the government, organizing price-fixing cartels, and abandoning teaching to student assistants while the tenured faculty pursue personal prestige.
Charles Sykes, author of ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education (St. Martin's Press, 1989), presents a devastating indictment of U.S. universities, which he calls vast citadels of waste, ruled with an iron hand by an oligarchy of arrogant, tenured professors who are overpaid and underworked.
Sykes names specific universities, professors, dates and places, and asserts that a university education is a scam which cheats students, parents, and taxpayers. He says the universities offer more and more courses of less and less importance, including a plethora of junk courses referred to by students as "guts" (slang for a course that can be passed with no more preparation than gut instinct).
He cites some examples: Anthropology of Play, Socio-Psychological Aspects of Clothing, Music Video 454, Sport and Political Ideology, Recreation and Leisure, Pocket Billiards, and Rock 'n' Roll Is Here To Stay.
In his second book, The Hollow Men -- Politics and Corruption in Higher Education (Regnery Gateway, 1990), Charles Sykes explains the politicization of the college courses. He tells how race, gender and class have been enshrined as the looking gasses through which all subject matter must be seen if one is to survive in academia. Sykes explains how colleges have gone overboard with institutionalized affirmative action, sensitivity training, and anti-free speech codes. The second half of the book is devoted to a case study of Dartmouth College, which became a prime example of the intolerance of those who preach "diversity."
Tenured Radicals (Harper & Row, 1990) is the expression Roger Kimball uses to discuss the radical politics of many in academia. His main focus is on the absurdity of what passes for scholarship on the campuses, and he describes the unintelligible jargon, or "ProfSpeak," which passes for erudition in the academic world. Kimball explains the deconstructionist movement, which he calls a hoax perpetrated by academics in order to create more possibilities for papers, symposiums, specialized classes, and university teaching positions.
In The Closing of the American Heart (Probe Books, 1990), Ronald H. Nash describes how the decline of moral and religious standards over the past 25 years has contributed to the collapse of the nationžs educational standards. He charges that moral illiteracy is reflected and taught in academia through relativism, positivism, and humanism.
Dinesh D'Souza, in Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (Free Press, 1991), explains Political Correctness (P.C.) on college campuses. He shows how P.C. produces closed-mindedness and intolerance, which is to say an "illiberal education." He explains how Political Correctness opposes the teaching of Western Civilization and demands that professors give their first attention to race and gender issues.