Yes, Students Still Need Econ 101

In an article published recently in the Atlantic, “The Curse of Econ 101,” University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak argues against what he assumes to be the content, thrust, and effect of the basic principles course, Economics 101. He thinks it’s too simplistic. And he’s sure that in its simplicity, it masks the complexities … Continue reading “Yes, Students Still Need Econ 101”


Dear Secretary DeVos, Please Prioritize Financial Literacy

Congratulations, Secretary DeVos, on your recent appointment to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Now the real work begins. Your position requires you to prioritize competing educational ideas to promote the mission of “student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.” While much attention has been given to your advancement of school choice, I write to … Continue reading “Dear Secretary DeVos, Please Prioritize Financial Literacy”


What the Feds Can Do for Higher Education: Appoint Richard Vedder

Assuming that Betsy DeVos, the new secretary of education, has sufficient commitment and stamina, she will change how her department addresses K-12 education. Her support of school choice through charter schools and voucher programs is well known. DeVos’s department is also deeply involved in higher education, but the issues are different. What roils higher education … Continue reading “What the Feds Can Do for Higher Education: Appoint Richard Vedder”


The Spread of “New Civics” Is Cause for Alarm

One of the ways the college curriculum has changed for the worse in recent decades is the rise of what David Randall terms “the New Civics” in a hefty report published in January by the National Association of Scholars (NAS). This is a development that should alarm Americans who care about the integrity of higher … Continue reading “The Spread of “New Civics” Is Cause for Alarm”


No Lessons Learned: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era

At this year’s Association of American Colleges and Universities meeting, held in late January in San Francisco, a sense of misgiving filled the conference hall. Panelists raised, implicitly, the question whether higher education has become out of touch with Donald Trump’s America. They fretted over their belief that the current social and political climate is … Continue reading “No Lessons Learned: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era”


Academics and the Reproduction of Cultural Hegemony

Much as Martin Center readers may disparage Marxism, there is one author who deserves our attention. Antonio Gramsci was an Italian Marxist who lived and wrote around the turn of the century, and his most important contribution was to a theory of cultural hegemony, one that explains why the academic Left is so up in … Continue reading “Academics and the Reproduction of Cultural Hegemony”


The Accelerating Pace of Change in Higher Education

Judging from recent books, articles, and editorials, higher education is poised for a cataclysmic collapse. There is a considerable body of opinion that systemic problems such as runaway tuition, student debt, low graduation rates and pervasive elitism are so wired into the collective culture of college faculty and administrators that only drastic and disruptive measures … Continue reading “The Accelerating Pace of Change in Higher Education”


Starving the Beast Prompts Choleric Call to Fatten a Sacred Cow

Listening to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Gene Nichol’s radical riff ripping trustees and the UNC system’s Board of Governors as cowards, and Republican lawmakers as oppressive racists, one might get the feeling he is on a career suicide mission. But in an auditorium half filled with fawning university professor compatriots … Continue readingStarving the Beast Prompts Choleric Call to Fatten a Sacred Cow”


The Campus Free Speech Act: A Way to Restore the Marketplace of Ideas

Between the rise of safe spaces, trigger warnings, speaker disinvitations, and the often illiberal conduct of campus demonstrators over the past few years, it’s clear that the core constitutional value of free speech is now under siege at our colleges and universities. The fraying of commitment to freedom of speech on the part of college … Continue reading “The Campus Free Speech Act: A Way to Restore the Marketplace of Ideas”


Bigger’s Better? In Higher Ed’s Amenities Arms Race, Bigger’s Just Bigger!

Testifying before the U.S. Senate in 2013, University of Wisconsin professor Sara Goldrick-Rab described college campuses as “glorified summer camps.” She said administrators were “engaging in an arms race to have the most impressive bells and whistles.” That depiction may at first seem hyperbolic, but even a cursory glance at many of today’s college campuses … Continue reading “Bigger’s Better? In Higher Ed’s Amenities Arms Race, Bigger’s Just Bigger!”