A majority of the American public believes the political bias of college professors is a serious problem.
A recent Zogby poll that surveyed over 9,000 adults this month found that 58 percent of Americans see political bias by professors a somewhat or very serious problem. By party lines, an overwhelming 91 percent of very conservative adults held that belief while only 3 percent of liberals agreed; and 57.9 percent of those who are born again view the problem as very serious compared to 17.6 percent of Jews.
Christian leaders have often warned against the dangers of a secular college campus especially for Christian college students, at least half of which are reportedly dropping out of church attendance.
Sara Dogan, national campus director with Students for Academic Freedom, said she hears complaints from students every day about professor bias, according to CitizenLink, a publication of Focus on the Family.
"There's been a greater realization in recent years on the part of students that the education they're getting is very much slanted," she told Family News in Focus. "Students are beginning to wake up to the fact that they can fight this."
Research on professor bias in higher education is nothing new and has been growing, many times reporting the pervasiveness of the liberal bent of academe. A 2006 study by the American Association of University Professors revealed that Americans don't rate political bias in the classroom as the top problem in academe today, but many still think it's a serious one.
Above political bias, more students said the high cost of college (80.5 percent), binge drinking by students (66.2 percent), low educational standards (48.9 percent) and crime on campus (45.5 percent) are very serious problems, according to the AAUP study. More than 37 percent of the public view political bias in the classroom a very serious problem.
The latest Zogby poll further showed an American public less confident in the quality of a college education. Forty-six percent said they think it is worse than it was 25 years ago and 29 percent said it is better.
According to prominent evangelical Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, "the educational accomplishment of American education has dropped on average one year per decade throughout the 20th century.
"That means that if you have a college diploma ... you have about the same education that a sixth grader had in the first decade of this century."
"Do you feel robbed?" Kennedy asked his congregation in a past sermon.
"Clearly, studies by ACTA and others - indicating declining academic quality and pervasive politics - have made their way into the public consciousness," said Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, according to Inside Higher Education. "Yet the higher ed establishment seems to think that if it invokes 'Academic freedom! Give us your money and leave us alone,' nothing will come of it."
She urged academe to view the polls as a wake up call.
Despite public belief in lower academic quality and political bias, the 2006 AAUP survey revealed that Americans were more likely to express confidence in higher education than in organized religion, the White House and the press. Moreover, 53.2 percent said the job of a college or university professor was "very prestigious."
Zogby International conducted interviews of 9,464 adults online from July 5 to July 9.