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Republican views of higher ed impact on society turn sharply negative

Republican views of higher ed impact on society turn sharply negative

There is only so long higher ed can continue biting the hand that feeds it.

At Legal Insurrection we have focused on higher education as much, if not more (I’m not taking the time to count 8 years of posts), than any other subject.

We even had a website for several years, College Insurrection, focused on higher ed. Now we have consolidated our higher ed coverage at Legal Insurrection.

You can click on the College Insurrection Tag to see some (not all) of our posts. Try also our Free Speech and Academic Freedom tags, as well as specific tags for colleges and universities like Bowdoin CollegeBrown UniversityColumbia UniversityCornellCUNYEvergreen State CollegeHamilton CollegeHarvardHarvard LawOberlinUC-DavisUCLA, and Vassar College. If you are in a mood to throw up in your mouth a little, also scroll through our BDS tag, much of which concerns higher ed.

You get the point. Our dashboard tells me that we have published 24,288 posts. I’m going to guesstimate that 2-3,000 of them concern higher ed in some manner.

To put it bluntly, higher ed is profoundly broken both at the educational and political level. Even if most of the parts are not broken, there are enough broken parts to create a hostile campus environment for non-liberal students, and for just about anyone who varies from the progressive party line. Freedom of speech on campus is under severe attack from “microaggression” and “safe space” theory, as well as more traditional forms of political correctness.

At the same time, the Obama administration dictated a legal environment in which higher ed institutions were forced to create the equivalents of kangaroo courts to prosecute and persecute young men accused of some form of sexual misconduct.

When we started College Insurrection in 2012, there weren’t many websites covering these issues and exposing what was happening. Over time the coverage grew, and social media has allowed the absurdity of what is happening to gain widespread exposure.

So, the Pew Research findings below don’t surprise me. Those findings show a steep drop in how Republicans view the positive impact that higher education has on society.

Here is Pew’s summary:

… While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years….

The survey finds that Republicans’ attitudes about the effect of colleges and universities have changed dramatically over a relatively short period of time.

As recently as two years ago, most Republicans and Republican leaners held a positive view of the role of colleges and universities. In September 2015, 54% of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going in the country; 37% rated their impact negatively.

By 2016, Republicans’ ratings of colleges and universities were mixed (43% positive, 45% negative). Today, for the first time on a question asked since 2010, a majority (58%) of Republicans say colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 36% say they have a positive effect.

Among Republicans, there is an ideological gap in views of the impact of colleges and universities and other institutions: Nearly two-thirds of conservative Republicans (65%) say colleges are having a negative impact, compared with just 43% of moderate and liberal Republicans.

Liberal professors and administrators should be worried, particularly at public colleges and universities that depend on state legislature funding. Because Republicans control much of the nation’s state legislatures and Governorships:

Already there are many anecdotal reports of cuts and proposed cuts, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where much of the craziness is bred. There is only so long higher ed can continue biting the hand that feeds it.

[Featured image: Riots at UC-Berkeley over appearance of Milo Yiannopolous]


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If you act like a Red Guard, you won’t find any support from those RED legislatures, and you WILL find plenty of angry push-back from the “folks at home”. You know…the ones with money…

Much as I like/love Texas A&M, that has very definite limits, and the Association Of Former Students will hear if any of them are crossed.

Rag your an Aggie ?

    Ragspierre in reply to Aggie95. | July 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Whoooooop, dude.

    Not JUST an Aggie. An Animal Science Aggie. You don’t get more Aggie than that…!!!

My homeschooled granddaughter who finished her “high school” education in the UK and is currently attending Cambridge part time while she works was dumbfounded this morning after watching a YouTube video where a YALE student asks what the difference is between syntax and grammar. And the Yalie seriously did not know.

Why on earth would any parent in their right mind pony up for thousands of dollars for a university education only to have their child disrespected because they are white or subjected to the ridiculous progressive agenda that has become the norm on US college campuses?

Morning Sunshine | July 11, 2017 at 11:18 pm

call me crazy, but I am not preparing my children for a college education.

I loved my college experience (at Wells College, at the time, all-women), both academically and life-skills. I would love for my children to have that experience.
But. I do not think they will get a good education at the colleges today. Not academically, not socially, not spiritually, not financially. I am trying to homeschool them in a way that they love to acquire knowledge and learning for its own sake and WANT to be continually educating themselves throughout their lives.
That being said, I do have a son who wants to be a veterinarian. If that does not change, I will wholeheartedly support his going to college: he has a plan and an end-goal. And a career at the end that will pay for his schooling. Without those three things, I believe it would be a disservice to my children to encourage traditional college.

A national emergency, and the crying boehners of DC cant be trusted to help.

Good thing we have the state GOPs.And the states need to fire their corrupt, cowardly fed reps and emasculate the.GOPe.

I consider college an IQ test as well as a test as to how in touch with reality one is. In fact I used to use it as an evaluation criterion when I interviewed people for hire. Here’s how it works:
Did you go to college with no plan other than “college grads get better jobs”? A “yes” answer is a failing answer.
Did you go to college with a plan for a long term and realistic use of your degree? A passing answer for this question is difficult if you majored in many of the humanities for there are few long term goals/plans that can be accomplished with a degree in art history, English, lesbian dance theory, women’s studies. and so forth. If you approached college pragmatically by majoring is something eminently useful such as physics, chemistry, math, engineering, nursing, and so forth, then you pass. (Biology does not count since the field is so overrun with biology graduates that a biology degree confers little employment advantage.)
Did you work in college or just accumulate heaps of debt? Those who work while in college show responsibility, ownership over their education, and being practical in that they did not want to graduate deeply in debt. These are the people who understand the value of money and hard work and they are not afraid of hard work. This is a passing behavior. A failing behavior is going to college and accumulating more and more debt with the attitude of paying off the debt once they graduate and get that great paying job. This shows a lack of practical thinking and a fantasy-like approach to life which will fail them in a real job.
Lastly, when in college were you an activist who protested everything in the world, was outspoken, felt to be the victim, and so forth? If so, then you are the exact person we would not want working for us because those personalities only serve to create problems in the long term.
Given this approach, I have found interviewing college grads far, far easier than interviewing anyone else. It should be obvious that college has become a real life testing grounds that shows the person;s ability to think and plan. It also shows whether they are a worker that overcomes obstacles or if they are the perpetual victim always using excuses for a poor job performance. Once these questions are successfully passed, then you can move on to other questions such as are you smart enough to work here.

    rdmdawg in reply to Cleetus. | July 12, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I don’t know, it sounds like you’re conflating college with a tech school. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the point of college, it’s suppose to create well-rounded, educated people. In a perfect world, you would come away from a good school with a basic understanding of the natural sciences, history, English, logic, and Greek or Latin, all to help us understand our place in the world better. College is supposed to create well-rounded leaders. Expecting colleges to be a place to prepare young adults for a career diminishes it.

    I do understand that for the last 50 or so years, probably since the beginning of the Space Race, high schools have been heavily promoting the notion that if you don’t go to college then you won’t ever amount to much, to students and parents. I’m not going to hold it against students if they don’t have a career path already picked out before they go to a university because the university is supposed to provide them with exposure to new things that they might not have considered before.

    Perhaps we need to agree on the purpose of colleges and universities first before we can address their problems and provide sensible fixes. Oh, right, also privatize student loans, and end all government funding of colleges and universities, and remove their tax exempt status. Make them compete as any other business has to.

      Cleetus in reply to rdmdawg. | July 13, 2017 at 6:43 am

      Perhaps my views on college are colored by my experiences.
      One experience was when I was told by the department chair that I could not fail a student in my Toxicology class no matter how poorly they performed (and scoring a 28% at the end of the semester as compared to the next lowest score of 68% is my definition of failing). I did as demanded and then tendered my resignation. The next time the course was offered, the student they forced me to pass was the instructor.
      In my freshman year of college I discovered wine, women and song resulting in a grade point plunge rendering me incapable of ever attending Veterinary school. I switched majors to Chemistry which put my on the five year track due to the math requirement. I minored in English Lit, History, Biology, Math, and came close in Philosophy. Thirty years later I thought I would “finish my education” by completing a double major in English Lit and Philosophy at the nearby state university. I gave up because the English courses were so easy that I aced every one with no studying and the reading assignments were nothing more than a few pages every week. The philosophy courses did nothing to challenge any of the students because every answer was correct. What made these courses even more absurd was that they all ended with more students that what they started. I vividly remember one student complaining about how they received a “B” on a paper they wrote and asked to to read it and tell them how it really deserved an “A”. I kid you not – the paper started with “I’m like kind of thinking that maybe perhaps the antagonist was like going after the other dude because he didn’t like him”. How could I ever forget such a piece of literary genius? After reading this I left the class mid-semester and never returned.
      Do I see a degree in any of the humanities having the rigor or value it did 40 years ago when I originally attended school? I’m like kind of thinking that maybe the value of this like education thing is like sort of not like a good deal like you know what I mean?

    Ragspierre in reply to Cleetus. | July 12, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I take a much different approach.

    I HATE “core curricular” with a deep, dark passion. IF one wants to attend college or a university to gain a punched ticket that allows them into a career field or grad school, let them. NOBODY has any business “rounding them” by dint of compulsion.

    This notion has led to the reality that many undergrads suffer under a five year program, when a focused three years would do very nicely. It’s a scam, and it is elitist at its very core.

    On the other hand, the “test” Cleetus suggests is just draconian, and never admits to any reality concerning young people.

    Many of us…most of us…are not “fully cooked” when we enter the realm of higher education. We have no flucking idea of what we want to study, who we are, what we really believe, etc.

    I actually STRONGLY recommend to my grandchillins that they go to a community college and take a “general studies” curriculum for their first two years. This is for two excellent reasons; one, they get good grades (because first-year university courses are INTENDED to weed out weaker students, and are brutal), and, two, they very likely will learn what they want to study and have a passion for in the process. Because at that age, they are largely clueless.

Do you want your child to have a successful career? Hint: A LOT of skilled Tradespeople are going to be needed to rebuild the campuses torched and razed by the snowflakes.

I don’t see my alma mater, Swarthmore College, on the list. Swarthmore, home of the first Open Hillel and tenured Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Saed Atshan, national leader of SJP and the BDS movement, denied entry to Israel as a Security Threat

Higher education is a scam. Colleges charge you as much as they can get out of you in loans and grants. This higher education shell game is what the snowflakes should be pissed off at. They graduate with no marketable skills, buried in debt, no chance of digging themselves out unless living on a ramen diet and are constantly told it’s the top 1%’s fault for not paying enough taxes. They should be taking their anger out on dept of education that shut down vocational high schools and pushes everyone to go to college. I’ve already laid the groundwork with my boys, they see that learning a trade is the way to go. Find something that you love doing and learn how to do it well.

    herm2416 in reply to scaulen. | July 12, 2017 at 10:09 am

    “Higher education is a scam..”
    “Find something that you love doing and learn how to do it well.”
    Those are two diametrically opposed statements. What if your dream is to be a physician, a physicist, a lawyer, a pharmacist…..?
    One must have higher education for those fields.

Universities perform three basic functions:
1. They create new knowledge (research)
2. They transmit existing knowledge (teaching)
3. They award credentials (degrees)

Obvious questions are, how well are they doing these things and, could any or all of these be done better or more cost-effectively elsewhere?

1. The quality of research seems to vary by department; there’s certainly high quality research still being done in universities (although most of it is done at just a few schools) along with questionable quality from others (think “replication crisis” in psychology and sociology) and absolute dreck from gender studies and similar politicized disciplines. In any case, the Internet makes it far easier for geographically separated or isolated scholars to collaborate and, there’s no particular reason (other than inertia) why research must be done in universities.

2. The quality of teaching has probably declined with the rise of contingent faculty and auditorium-size “classrooms,” and in any case teaching productivity (cost/output) has been declining for decades. Does anyone doubt that much of most undergrad curricula couldn’t be taught online, at minimal marginal cost per student?

3. Credentials are where higher ed retains a monopoly, mostly due to owning the accreditation process. An obvious alternative to using seat-time (aka credit-hours) to award degrees would be credentials earned via comprehensive exams. Of course, it would be no small job to get these exams widely accepted, and they would have to be well proctored to avoid cheating and other fraud.

Massive, disruptive change will come to higher ed. if for no other reason than because the current spiral of lower quality for more money can’t continue forever. But, I’d not be surprised to see real reform implemented last in those countries that have the highest investment in the current, increasingly dysfunctional system.

    bobtuba in reply to Albigensian. | July 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Good summary, thanks. My youngest two just graduated last year, and all three went to 4-year programs (with division 1 football!), because that was the experience I had, and I wished that wonderful experience I had for them as well. But I soon realized that it wasn’t possible, it’s not the 70’s anymore, and at the same time, I told them that theirs is likely the last generation to attend college this way. The times, they are a-changing.

healthguyfsu | July 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Phrasing and the perceived ask of the poll respondents is key here…

Without a doubt, higher education (absent politics) still has a positive effect on the country overall. Some benefit more than others based on performance and personal choices, but this is a verifiable boon to the society and country by any objective data measure.

However, if you ask me about the general culture of higher education, I will state the opposite of my previous paragraph.