When American parents send their children off to college, the deluge of emotion can be overwhelming. No matter how much time and money you spent preparing yourself for this most pivotal transition in the life of your child, you always feel as though you could have done more. Will they succeed? Will they be safe? Will I get a positive return on my investment in the form of a good job and happy life for my child? What exactly is it that I've spent the last decade saving for? What is a college education, really, and why is it important?
In recent decades, these questions have become increasingly urgent. For all the billions spent on higher education, it seems as though our nation's youth are graduating from college without much in the way of an education. There is a general consensus that there is a dumbing down of America underway. Of course, there are the obvious culprits. Too much sex, too much partying, too many distractions in general. Parents bear a good share of the blame for raising a generation of narcissists who lack the humility and work ethic to succeed. But there's another more fundamental issue at play when it comes to the obvious shortcomings of higher education in America today. There is a growing recognition that our move away from the classical understanding of what constitutes a proper education – and the ends of that education – is largely responsible for the problems we're seeing in the classroom, the workforce, and the culture at large.
Most American universities are founded on the classical liberal model of education. According to Wikipedia, "the liberal arts (Latin: artes liberales) are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (a citizen) to know in order to take an active part in civic life. . . . The aim of these studies was to produce a virtuous, knowledgeable, and articulate person." This model is less concerned with equipping individuals with a particular skill set needed to excel in a particular career, and more with cultivating a well-rounded, thoughtful individual with the capacity to engage the world of ideas with vigor and intelligence. The classically educated person is not only concerned with the "how's" of life, they are concerned with the "what's" and "why's." This person believes that there exists an objective truth, and that the good life consists in the quest for and contemplation of that truth. From these principles flows his or her conduct as a human being. more >>
A community college professor in Tennessee who required her students to wear rainbow-colored ribbons in a show of support for the gay rights movement during a class assignment, also said the views of students who were against the display because of their faith was "ignorant and uneducated," according to a religious liberty legal group.
Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers say that the students were in Linda Brunton's general psychology class at Columbia State Community College when they were directed to wear "Rainbow Coalition" ribbons for an entire day and express their support for the homosexual community.
When several students objected to being forced to support conduct that violates their faith convictions, Brunton brushed aside their concerns, described their views as "ignorant and uneducated," and explained that she hoped this assignment would cause them to change their beliefs, ADF stated. Regardless of their convictions, students had to express the views in a paper about the assignment she mandated in order to receive class credit. more >>
A petition posted on a White House website has called for the ban of intelligent design and creation science from schools.
Begun by a poster identified as "A.J." of Vienna, Va., the petition demands that the Obama administration "ban the teachings of these conjectures that contradict Evolution."
"Since Darwin's groundbreaking theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, scientists all around the world have found monumental amounts of evidence in favor of the theory, now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists," reads the petition in part. more >>
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order that the Department of Justice must respond to a rehearing request regarding the legal status of a German homeschooling family.
Issued last Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit's order was done on behalf of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which is presenting the Romeike family.
James R. Mason III, senior counsel with the HSLDA, told The Christian Post that the court's order was "a step in the right direction." more >>
An online petition that has garnered more than 35,000 signatures says a Christian university should forgive the debt of a former student who was expelled for being gay, though school officials say the university's sexual misconduct and financial policies were made clear in its student handbook.
The petition states that Danielle Powell was expelled from Grace University in Omaha, Neb., in 2011 just one semester short of graduating after school officials discovered she was in a same-sex relationship. The school also revoked her scholarships, the petition states, and asked her to pay $6,000 in tuition for her final semester, which she didn't complete.
Michelle Rogers, who created the petition, is Powell's wife. She is asking the school, and specifically Grace University Executive Vice President Michael James, to stop trying to collect the money Powell owes. more >>
The current Supreme Court debate over whether to continue over 50 years of affirmative action policies in their current form has brought to light arguments over whether admissions policies have another bias – rich students. Though most top colleges admit students blind to need, some experts argue that the cost and limits of financial aid produces a student body that is more affluent than the national average.
There is a growing body of evidence that America's colleges and universities have a class bias that contributes to increasing income inequality. Rather than recruiting the best and brightest high school graduates, the top universities are recruiting those who are best able to pay, research suggests. Plus, the institutions that do the most to help low income students – community colleges – get fewer resources than the colleges and universities that educate middle to upper income students.
Just last month, The Century Foundation, a left-of-center think tank, released a report, "Bridging the Higher Education Divide: Strengthening Community Colleges and Restoring the American Dream," showing that 70 percent of the students enrolled at the most competitive universities are from the wealthiest families, or those in the top 25 percent in income. Only five percent of their students are from the bottom 25 percent in income, despite the fact that, as Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic points out, 39 percent of America's best students are from families in the bottom half in terms of income. more >>