Saturday, April 02, 2005

Today's Lesson: How to Ignore Allegations of Ideological Bias

Here's a fascinating analysis , comparing the lack of intellectual diversity in nation’s academic humanities and social sciences departments to the current denial in Professional Baseball--and neither look very good. (hat tip: Instapundit) Neither want transparancy or openness and subscribe to a "Don't Know, Don't Tell" philosophy, sprinkled liberally with an aggressive psychological denial that a significant problem even exists. Here is summary of what the professors want:

-Imagined reality, in which leftists and far lefists — despite myriad surveys suggesting their substantial overrepresentation on the nation’s campuses — represent a besieged minority in the academy. In 1999, for instance, District 8 candidate Ellen Schrecker doubted that if “America was to enter another Vietnam War,” junior faculty members would “express themselves as freely as we did in the 1960s.” Though the professoriate’s outspoken hostility to the Bush administration’s Iraq policy belied this prediction, the platform of District 7 nominee Jeffrey Halpern nonetheless continues to assert, “The exercise of free expression among tenured faculty is being radically curtailed in the name of national security.” Radically curtailed?

-Professorial privilege, in which faculty possess an apparently unlimited right to bring their political agendas into the classroom. After a 2001 job action by the California Faculty Association included calls for professors to insert pro-union statements into their course syllabi, District 1 candidate Susan Meisenhelder scoffed that administrators who protested the policy overlooked how “important university traditions such as academic freedom” allowed professors to infuse their courses with political material. In this vision of the academy, undergraduates, like administrators, cannot even publicize their dissent. In early 2005, Schrecker charged that students who criticized the imtimidating behavior of anti-Israel professors of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia University wanted “to impose orthodoxy at this university, often in the name of academic diversity.” Better, evidently, for universities to cover up classroom misconduct, especially if the professors in question are expressing the preferred viewpoint on contemporary foreign policy issues.

-Freedom from oversight, in which faculty members are responsible to no one and the goal of professional organizations is to conceal information that faculty ideologues find inconvenient. District 3 candidate Roxanne Gudeman promises to contest “unacceptable intrusions” that seek “to monitor and censor the political, ideological, and ethnic backgrounds of members of the academy and their teaching and research.” (Gudeman also champions ethnic and racial diversity programs, which, if nothing else, monitor the “ethnic backgrounds of members of the academy.”) District 10 candidate Michael Bérubé has committed himself to fighting “concerted and well-organized attacks on the professoriate,” including calls for an advisory board for Title VI area studies programs — as if professors, alone among recipients of federal appropriations, are entitled to receive public moneys without legislative oversight.
How does this relate to the current crisis in baseball?

But higher education, like baseball, is an institution whose survival depends on public support. Just as Mark McGwire sacrificed the public’s trust when he told congressmen that he would not “talk about the past,” so too will higher education’s public standing be diminished by continued claims that academic freedom allows the professoriate to ignore allegations of ideological bias.

The public will abandon baseball if the players don't clean up their act; and the same public will not be willing to send their children to be taught by university and college professors who arrogantly maintain that they also need no oversight; deserve unlimited priviledges, and live in a reality that proclaims them the "elite". Education, like baseball ultimately depends on the marketplace. For baseball, it is the marketplace of true athletic ability; and for education, the marketplace of ideas.

Who wants to go to unbelievably expensive ballgames to watch steroid-crazed athletes compete against each other? And who wants to spend enormous amounts of money sending their kids to elite colleges if they are just rubber-stamped as "little churchills"?

Read the entire article for some interesting insights.

No comments: