"The Dumbing Down of College Curriculums"

This is the same old, same old, but it is still quite discouraging.

Most seniors were unable to identify the Magna Carta, Reconstruction, or the Missouri Compromise; they were “clearly unfamiliar” with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

These concerns now seem almost—quaint. The fact that college students had huge gaps in their knowledge was old news by the early 1990s. But today the question is no longer whether students have learned specific bodies of knowledge; it is whether they are learning anything at all.

Two fine pieces on the state of the humanities in higher education

"Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature". (Link goes to a couple of brief excerpts because the piece now seems to be behind a paywall.)

"Exercises in Unreality: The Decline in Teaching Western Civilization".

Now, it should seem a matter of course to say that if you do not know who Michael Faraday and William Harvey are you have no business setting yourself up as a judge of a course in the history of science. It is fascinating that that same ignorance does not prevent people from judging, with loud effusions of righteousness, a course in the development of Western civilization. The reason is not that they believe our course is wrongly taught. They believe it is wrong to teach it at all.

"The NAACP’s ill-conceived opposition to charter schools"

My, oh my, read this from the Washington Post(!) editorial board:

But rather than impose artificial limits, the response should be to fix such problems as lax authorization standards or unfair discipline practices while replicating the successes. Schools that fail to educate students — be they charter or traditional — should be shuttered. We urge NAACP leadership to put the interests of African American children ahead of the interests of political allies who help finance the group’s activities — and veto this ill-conceived resolution.

"Are Professors Going Too Fast?"

George Leef has great fun reviewing a new book claiming "college professors [are] harried and overburdened to the point where they’re putting their very health at risk".

Oddly, Berg and Seeber present data showing that actual corporate chief executive officers feel less stress and more ability to get their work done than do college professors working in their non-profit environment from which people are rarely fired. According to an MIT study they cite, 62 percent of college faculty reported that they feel “physically or emotionally drained at the end of the day,” while only 55 percent of the CEOs said that they felt that way.