Gary Becker Wrong to Say College Is Still a Good Investment

University of Chicago economics professor Gary Becker,  recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize, maintains a consistently interesting blog with the prolific law professor Richard Posner. Recently, Becker responded to a Posner post (on reasons to change our system of legal education) with an argument that “higher education is still a very good investment.” I submit … Continue reading Gary Becker Wrong to Say College Is Still a Good Investment →

The Case for Taxing College Endowments

Republicans inserted many provisions in their House and Senate tax reform bills that have inflamed the higher education establishment, including a proposed excise tax on endowments exceeding $250,000 per student at private schools. Although only about 70 schools are affected that collectively enroll under 10 percent of the students attending four-year American universities, from some … Continue reading The Case for Taxing College Endowments →

Why Is a College of Criminal Justice Celebrating Art By Guantanamo Jihadists?

In the sunken lobby of John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Tenth Avenue in New York City, a somber Memorial Hall is dedicated to the “Bravery and Sacrifice” of “NYPD Heroes 9-11 and Beyond.”  Surrounded by photographs of the attack and the recovery, a twisted metal chunk of one of the Twin Towers rests … Continue reading Why Is a College of Criminal Justice Celebrating Art By Guantanamo Jihadists? →

When Students Kill Important College Courses

The Abolition of Man is the best refutation of moral relativism that has ever seen print (aside from the Bible, of course). In this short and cogent book, C.S. Lewis ponders what happens when human beings abrogate transcendent moral law and objective truth and begin to fashion their own guidelines for living. One argument thatContinue reading When Students Kill Important College Courses →

Brooklyn College Stifles Pro-Israel Voices

A few weeks ago, the David Horowitz Freedom Center caused a stir at Brooklyn College by placing posters on campus labeling two of the college’s professors “terrorist supporters.” The college’s president, Michelle Anderson, issued a statement condemning the posters astargeted intimidation” designed to “defame and silence specific individuals,” claiming those targeted were “at riskContinue reading Brooklyn College Stifles Pro-Israel Voices →

Our Colleges Are Getting Worse—Three Proposals to Help Save Them

American colleges have been celebrated as the best in the world. But in fact, they have been getting worse – and something must be done about it. The greatest value of a college education is in enhancing a student’s command of critical thinking and analytical reasoning. The educated person can think. Among other things, she … Continue reading Our Colleges Are Getting Worse—Three Proposals to Help Save Them →

Same Old College RankingsWhat Did You Expect?

Shocking news: the new Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings say that Harvard is the best school in the United States. So does Forbes in its rankings, while US News ranks it second. Some eight schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Penn, Duke and Cal Tech) are in the top 10 in all three … Continue reading Same Old College RankingsWhat Did You Expect? →

Here’s Why Public Colleges Could Face Defunding

Is America about to embark on the “mass defunding of public higher education”? Fredrik deBoer thinks it’s a real, horrifying possibility. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed and on his blog, he argues that the political basis for this defunding now exists. The problem, according to the Pew Research Center, is that the list of … Continue reading Here’s Why Public Colleges Could Face Defunding →

Colleges Are Drawing the Contempt They So Richly Deserve

I am heartened by the news (from Pew that 58% of GOP voters disrespect our colleges). It has taken a lot to break through the complacency of these voters. Of course, the real credit for this turnaround goes to those students at Middlebury and their counterparts at dozens of other colleges and universities. It goes … Continue reading Colleges Are Drawing the Contempt They So Richly Deserve →

A Bi-Polar Report on ‘Laggard’ Public Colleges

Right now, the biggest news in higher education is a controversial paper from Dimitrios Halikias and Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution, arguing that “the upper middle class is substantially over-represented” in America’s universities, that “public investment…too often fails to produce either social mobility or socially beneficial research,” and that “the significant public subsidies spent … Continue reading A Bi-Polar Report on ‘Laggard’ Public Colleges →

How Colleges Promote Censorship and Undermine Free Speech

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley writes: “There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant.”  In his sanitized future, general happiness and social stability are achieved not via threats of legal action but rather through perfect genetic and behavioral engineering, endless indoctrination, anodyne feel-good phrases and drugs, and organizedContinue reading How Colleges Promote Censorship and Undermine Free Speech →

More Bad News about College

What was the most noteworthy finding of the recent Gallup survey of people who have attended college? Half of the 90,000 respondents regretted one significant decision made as an undergrad, such as picking the wrong major. In journalistic terms, this is known as burying the lede — downplaying the major point of a story while … Continue reading More Bad News about College →

A Sad Goodbye to a Great Friend

Peter Augustine Lawler of Berry College, one of our best writers, has passed away at age 65. His last article for us appeared here last Thursday, “The  Withering Away of the College Professor,” an excerpt from his last book, American Heresies and Higher Education.  We extend our deepest sympathies to his family. He will be … Continue reading A Sad Goodbye to a Great Friend →

The Withering Away of the College Professor

An excerpt from the book American Heresies and Higher Education Some conservatives say that the main cost-control issue in American higher education today is tenured faculty who don’t teach enough. It would be better if their lazy self-indulgence could be better controlled by more accountable administrators. Tenure, from this view, is a kind of union, … Continue reading The Withering Away of the College Professor →

Colleges Still Lack Integrity on Canceled Speeches

At Middlebury, where Charles Murray was prevented from speaking about the disintegrating white working class, college president Laurie Patton made some appropriate comments on the need for free speech. But her remarks seemed slightly out of focus, as if the crisis revolved around discord between two groups of students, not basic freedom of expression, andContinue reading Colleges Still Lack Integrity on Canceled Speeches →

A Catholic Professor’s Problems at a Catholic College

Anthony Esolen is an embattled professor at Providence (R.I.) College, an aggressively Catholic believer at an institution run by Dominican priests but less forthrightly Catholic than he is. Esolen teaches Renaissance literature and the development of Western culture. Among his books is a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy regarded as one of the best. He … Continue reading A Catholic Professor’s Problems at a Catholic College →

How to Make College as Bad as High School

While ersatz “credit recovery” and grade inflation devalue the high school diploma by boosting graduation rates even as NAEP, PISA, PARCC, SAT, and sundry other measures show that no true gains are being made in student achievement, forces are at work to do essentially the same thing to the college diploma. Observe the new move by CalStateContinue reading How to Make College as Bad as High School →

Another Speaker Shut Down by College Students

Add Jordan Peterson to the list of professors shut down as visiting speakers by angry university students. Since last fall, Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has enraged many people by refusing to use the growing vocabulary of pronouns preferred by transgender people. On Friday night at McMaster University in Hamilton, … Continue reading Another Speaker Shut Down by College Students →

Punishing College Sports Teams

NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues we are witnessing an internal war over what in fact is a university’s core sacred value: is it truth?  Or social justice? If it is the search for truth, free speech is essential. If it’s social justice, then the rising campus yen for censorship and silencing one’s opponents canContinue reading Punishing College Sports Teams →

Enough of the College-for-Everyone Agenda

Every so often, someone in the higher ed establishment does a bit of cheerleading for the teamproclaim that college degrees are so beneficial that the country should try to put far more young people through college. The most venerable such effort is a report that the College Board puts out every three years entitled … Continue reading Enough of the College-for-Everyone Agenda →

The Flaws of New York’s Free-College Plan

Lots of applause greeted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s January 3rd announcement, with Senator Bernie Sanders at his side, that New York’s City and State Universities would be “free” for all New Yorkers from families earning $125,000 a year or less. The Excelsior program, as it is known, billed as the first in the nation, has been … Continue reading The Flaws of New York’s Free-College Plan →

How ‘Soft Censorship’ Works at College

These days, administrators at public universities must be very jealous of their counterparts at private institutions. As non-governmental actors, private college administrators can suppress any speech they don’t like – or, probably more to the point, that displeases their dissent-intolerant student constituents. There is no better illustration of the extremes to which a university will … Continue reading How ‘Soft Censorship’ Works at College →

Harmless College Jokes Punished at Mandatory Civility Seminar

At a Virginia college, inspirational slogans were recently posted in a residence hall to buoy the spirits of students cramming for exams. Resisting the inspiration, some students posted satirical  responses. “You are what you think you are, aim high!” drew the reply “You appear to be suffering from delusions of adequacy.” Another encouraging slogan, “You … Continue reading Harmless College Jokes Punished at Mandatory Civility Seminar →

How Colleges and Universities Foster “Hate Culture”

Many of my colleagues and students are responding to the results of the 2016 presidential election with fear, disappointment, and disbelief. For some, Trump’s victory and the social unrest that followed dramatically changed their perceptions of Americans, democracy, and human nature. They are mourning the loss of a progressive dream. Although I share my colleagues’ … Continue reading How Colleges and Universities Foster “Hate Culture” →

College Students Lose It over the Election

University heads are very concerned with their students’ feelings and fears about the presidential election.  A Chronicle of Higher Education article collected 45 university president statements on the election. The statements reveal how many presidents advocated acceptance of the election results and/or congratulations of the winner—approximately zero–as opposed to offering comfort and therapy of sorts … Continue reading College Students Lose It over the Election →