10 Replies to “Newspapers and Universities”

  1. “Tony liberal-arts colleges and other selective private institutions will do fine, as will public universities that garner a lot of external research support and offer the classic residential experience to the children of the upper middle class.

    Less-selective private colleges and regional public universities, by contrast — the higher-education equivalents of the city newspaper — are in real danger.”

    That pretty much says it all, which means we’ll be heading to post-secondary education on the English model by mid 21st century. Has a big impact on debates about “college-readiness,” as we’ll clearly have a two-tiered system for which students must be “ready.”

    As for “liberal bias,” hey, they don’t call it the “liberal arts” for nothing! There are other institutions in society to teach conservatism (i.e., the Church). The core of Western society is an institutional give and take between tradition and progress. As the line goes, “don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church.”

  2. This is just my gut feeling here, but I think people note a “liberal bias” within education, especially higher education, because people there are more intelligent and well-read generally. And seriously, teachers as liberals, or socialists, or whatever? Where the hell are you getting that crap? Teachers overall happen to be a fairly conservative bunch that hold onto traditional values in order to protect the children. I work at the university level in the Midwest and every time I go into a school to observe student teachers, there’s a big honking Christmas tree in the foyer. One nearby district even conducts Bible study in the schools, really, Bible study, really? Never mind that I have several undergraduates who are Jewish, they have to put up with this in order to get their experience.

    Finally, we can do our best not to show our biases, but the myth of total objectivity really is a myth. We are all biased in some way, whether it is social, political, or whatever. We can do our best to mask or hide the bias, but it usually comes out in some way or another. We should spare the outrage when it does because we are all of course human.

    Oh, and if there is anyone that is convinced that so-called “liberals” have control over the debate in education is seriously and unmistakably incorrect. If you take the time to actually study the nature and trajectory of reforms over, say the last few decades or more (go ahead, actually read something that isn’t on the Inter-tubes), you will find a conservative leaning hue to the debates and reforms in education. What we do need is more liberal bias, I suppose, not less. Conservatives are just dumb, really, just dumb. I can’t hold it anymore.

  3. Interesting that you should bring this up. University Professors are liberal and tenured (usually) and don’t have to worry so much about being correct as being consistent. They don’t have to actually produce anything of value.

    Newspapers on the other hand are equally liberal, but actually do rely on market acceptance to pay their salaries. That is why they are failing.

    Universities would do well to look down the road 20 years. As tuition costs rise, their customers (families and student) are going to be more careful about what kind of political environment they are sending their kids into. This was one of the real reasons Ward Churchill is such an embarrassment to the University of Colorado. He brought to light the lunacy of political thought on campus.

  4. Oh boy, here’s when all the nuts come out of the woodwork! MAS1916 and all you other, to quote your demigod Bill O’Reilly, “pinheads” can walk your phony liberal accusations back to the toilet where they should be flushed down and drowned out.

    Talk about political environment and how parents should be careful, are you frigging insane? From all the binge drinking, partying, and lack of studying I see from many students at a big state university, although not all, political ideologies are the least of their problems. Taking shots of Red Death or some other kind of chemical concoction until blacking out knows no political boundaries, trust me.

    The other problem is the consumerist mentality that drives many universities. In some cases, I think the educational environment would improve if we stopped constantly viewing students as customers. I have told many a student that if they don’t want to be in class, not feeling up to it, not being consistent, they can just leave. I am not forcing them to be there. If they want to the credentials, then they’ll pay a price for it, within certain limits.

    Finally, it is obvious some of these right wing nutbags have no idea how the faculty hiring, firing, and tenure system works. Produce anything of value, not worrying about being correct, where do they get this crap, honestly? I really am angry about this. These are hallmarks of ignorant, blind stupidly, blanket statements with not a single iota of value whatsoever. Man!

  5. Let me just say that I am a first year teacher and a recent college grad in December. Now, as a male, I was promised work as a teacher once I had my degree. Now, the best I can hope for is substitute work, and 30k in debt for student loans. If I get lucky, and get hired at an inner-city school, I can have my loans paid off by the state, if i work 3 years. Now I have full accreditation, 5-year tenure, and since the state is in debt I can’t get hired, better yet, my mom may get fired; she’s also a teacher. Now we as teachers don’t want more money, the simple fact of the matter is that I am sick and tired of these pundits and so-called political activists for both parties. The fact of the matter is, known of you know education policy, you are simply preaching what you have personally experienced. A student should have the opportunity to experience the thirst for knowledge, and shouldn’t be subject to the partisan bigamy that exists in this nation. It’s time that we take our educational system out of the 50’s and realize that we are lagging behind. Americans need to stop feeling entitled to the world, and remember what you were taught in school, that we need to work together and be stewards of the world. Teachers and programs are being cut completely in my county, due to the gambling made in back rooms in the financial sector. So cut us some slack for once.

  6. Shawn,

    I understand your frustrations. Now, did you for some reason feel entitled to work, say, in an elementary school BECAUSE you were a male, given that only roughly 10% of all elementary teachers are male? There is some documentation that men who go into teaching feel the same way, but it does not necessarily pan out in hiring decisions. There is better evidence for men being more readily considered for promotion opportunities and some men report pressures to leave the classroom quickly to become an administrator. This is called the “glass escalator” (Williams, 1992).

    Our education system certainly dates back to far before the 50s and most reform today continues to be a result of resurgences every so often of flagging American competitiveness. This came after Sputnik, also in the 50s, and more recently after publication of a Nation at Risk in the 80’s.

    Ultimately, as a former elementary teacher myself and a male, all I have to go on is my personal experience and the vast amount of other materials I have read since. And what all that tells me is that the education system is based on very old ideas and is highly resistant to change.

  7. Jeff,
    I have to disagree with you about conservatives. Before the presidential election, several of the news networks had samplings of “man on the street interviews” about who people were going to vote for. Just about everyone who was voting for Obama (an extreme liberal) said they were voting for Obama because he was “a great man,” or “He seems nice,” or “Because he is going to pay my mortgage,” or other such nonsense, whereas, the people who planned to vote for McCain had specific reasons and were obviously more informed about the issues.

    I teach middle school and got the same reaction from my students. My students asked me who I was going to vote for. I did not tell them, but did engage in a discussion about how important it is to vote and to pick a candidate based on his/her position on important issues. They were more than happy to share that they would vote for Obama if they were old enough to vote. I assume this is a reflection of their parents views. I asked them why they would vote for Obama, and not a single one had any real idea.

    I think it is our job as teachers to promote knowledge about the issues, and present fair and balanced information. Then let students decide how they feel about the issues based on their personal values. Because of the power teachers have, I think it is irresponsible of teachers to promote one specific view point regardless of if it is liberal, or conservative.

  8. Bonfire,

    Obama is by no means an “extreme liberal.” Take a detailed look at his record. Do you know any extreme liberals because, I have to tell you, there’s no way in hell the ones I know could ever hold an elected office? I would say that Kucinich is farther to the left than Obama, and we all know how that turned our for him.

    As a former teacher, I agree that we are ethically bound to hold onto our personal political views because we are perceived to be in a position of authority. That territory is a bit murkier at the college level because students are technically adults, but the position of authority I think should mitigate the temper of our political discussions, especially if political beliefs are not relevant to what is being taught.

    I do, however, want to emphasize that political conservatives for some time have dominated the discussion on educational issues, particularly regarding standardized testing, over-emphasis on student achievement measures, privatization, vouchers, and administrative control. It is time more progressive ideas make it into the mainstream debate on educational reform.

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