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More about bias in higher ed

Today I read this response to this op-ed on the ideological skew of elite research universities, which I already noted here.

Wow! It’s as if we weren’t reading the same essay! "Maranto’s piece," we’re told, "is part of a national propaganda endeavor to establish an ultra-rightist orthodoxy over thought in America." This despite the fact that, as Maranto points out, he worked at the Brookings Institution and in the Clinton Administration, which can only look "ultra-rightist" to someone in the academy. This is all part and parcel of an effort to saddle Maranto with the Academic Bill of Rights, which he explicitly denies supporting. Maranto is interested in the quality of debate and research on campus (and its relationship to the larger world of policy). His Atlanta-based critic, who is General Secretary (where have I seen that title before?) of the Georgia chapter of the AAUP, writes as if Maranto were simply channeling David Horowitz.

All in all, I’d call this AJC op-ed a case study in what Maranto says is wrong with higher education, recognizing, of course, that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. But oh what an anecdote!

Discussions - 5 Comments

But do universities truly teach critical thinking to all or most of its students?

I've never understood the appellation of "critical" to "thinking" as an object of education - what, precisely, is that all about?

In the Op-Ed's opinion, I suppose, anyone to the right of Che Guevera is an avatar of the "rightist orthodoxy"...

Michael, great point. "Critical thinking" has become the latest buzzword in all secondary education (with some people pushing the idea to elementary and kindergarten teaching as if a five-year-old can do anything of the sort!), but no one has defined it and most are certainly not doing it with their state-mandated curriculum and boring textbooks.

Critical thinking seems to be what's left of the university curriculum when its emptied of all its purposive content; philosophy and theology have been replaced by critical thinking and all that is left is Locke's version of calculating reason, our "only star and compass" that points in no particular direction. Moreover, the critical thinking crowd refuses (or are incapable of) making pronouncements on what subjects deserve rational scrutiny in the first place, trivializing the high (Aristotle, for eg) by dumping it in with the low ( a course on Keanu Reeves). Of course, this leveling brand of educational relativism is not so committment free: they obviously prefer to teach multicultural studies than Shakespeare; even when they do teach Shakespeare they tend to judge him before the tribunal of their postmodern heroes.

Hence my question in the first place.

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