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Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Worry About Apathy First, Not Indoctrination



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I’m a big fan of Dennis Prager’s radio show. I subscribe to his podcasts. I assign his happiness book to my graduate students as part of a seminar on leadership. I’ve also watched all of his five-minute Prager University videos. 

Mr. Prager’s wisdom has greatly influenced me. Yet, I have to take issue with his latest column posted on National Review Online — “What Kids Now Learn in College.” In this article, Mr. Prager lists 27 left-wing positions (e.g. “Women are victims of men” and “Big government is the only humane way to govern a country”) and asserts that parents should not send their kids to college because those points are what those kids will learn.

There is some truth to that thesis, but it’s too simple. What Mr. Prager lists in his column is what lefty college professors believe, not what a majority of students learn. There is a big difference.

College is not a four-year MoveOn.org convention. Indoctrination is happening on campus, but apathy is more prevalent. The greater crisis is that too many students forget what happened in their classes — regardless of whether they read Nickel and Dimed or Democracy in America. If we replace every left-wing college text in with a right-wing equivalent, we’d still be talking about how little students know.

A better generalization of the knowledge that parents’ $50,000 buys is nothing. That money is wasted when students leave either empty or with a questionable work-force-readiness certificate. 



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