It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s loading up the sleigh. For the record, the Pope Center staff would like to officially state that we’ve been very, very good this year. Well, except for Jay that time he…, and George when he actually…Then of course, Jane had that little incident where she…and let’s not talk about Jenna when she…!
Okay, okay. We’re on the “Naughty” list. And yes, we belong there—it’s not easy to make the “Nice” list when your job is to reform the entire world of higher education. Delivering a few sharp elbows and cutting remarks comes with the territory, but we always have the best intentions. So Santa should cut us some slack and grant us the following wishes:
- I wish that colleges and universities across the nation would drop their slogan that teaching students “critical thinking” is a top priority, since it’s a smokescreen for instilling certain anti-Western and anti-liberty attitudes. Instead, they should require courses in logic to enable students to identify fallacious reasoning.
- I wish that higher education officials would admit that there is no educational benefit to having student bodies with certain quotas or “critical masses” of students with particular characteristics. It would be enlightening for officials to drop the “educational benefits” fig leaf and say that it just makes them feel good to give admission preferences to members of some minority groups.
- I wish that colleges and universities would require that all graduating students take an exam to evaluate their competence in the English language (reading and writing proficiency) and basic math and their knowledge of American history and civics. This would demonstrate useful learning rather than simply accumulated credits.
- I wish that every college and university would host a guest speaker who would address the topic “What’s Gone Wrong with the Economy?” and explain that our current troubles (and many other long-standing ones) are due to political interference with the spontaneous order of the free society.
- I wish that colleges and universities across the nation would restore the core curriculum, with a focus on the classics, English literature, and Western civilization. It would be a bonus if all English departments started requiring Shakespeare for their majors again.
- I wish that students would take their studies more seriously instead of treating college degrees like hurdles that must be cleared before entering the work force. Students should seek out only those courses that are challenging, interesting, and that foster open inquiry.
- I wish all universities would end their “free speech zones” and restore free speech across the entire campus—especially in the classroom.
- I wish students and parents would take more personal responsibility for understanding the costs of a college degree. Before they sign on the dotted line to get a college loan, I would like to see students carefully consider their needs, college costs, and the potential effects of student loans.
- I wish one person in the higher levels of the University of North Carolina system would acknowledge that an ideological imbalance exists on campuses and is a serious problem. It would count as two gifts if he or she would point out how the leftward drift of the education schools is harming the state.
- I wish some of the state’s less-heralded private colleges would position themselves as conservative, traditional, or free-market alternatives to the mainstream. The economy’s bad, demographic trends point to declining enrollments, and the state seems intent on subsidizing the public universities until the private schools disappear. Just hanging onto the status quo might not be enough for all private schools to survive, while schools that have repositioned themselves in this manner are thriving.
- I wish the state legislature would stop funding many of the frivolous and/or indoctrinating centers, institutes, and initiatives in the UNC system that have global, multicultural, diversity, international in their names, or that serve as pressure groups for identity organizations.
- I wish somebody in the UNC system or state government would start to question the myth that spending money on universities always results in economic growth.
Jane S. Shaw
- I wish that the UNC system administrators would take the Pope Center’s advice and require professors to publish their syllabi (or similar kinds of information) in time for students to read them before they register for classes. I’d like the public to have access to those syllabi, too.
- I wish that one college in this country would reject federal funds, adding to the tiny handful that already do and perhaps setting a trend.
- I wish that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) would stop moaning about the poor oppressed adjuncts and start promoting the idea of well-paid teaching specialists who work on renewable contracts.
- I wish that education schools would teach their students how to teach math and reading. The benefits would ripple through society.