A Crisis of Competence and the Sin of Omission

The National Association of Scholars report “A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California” is receiving a lot of well-deserved publicity since its release on April 2. This comprehensive, 80-page report provides both qualitative and quantitative data that demonstrate a leftward tilt in the academics of the University of California system, most notably in the humanities and the social sciences.

I urge readers to read through the whole report. While the media reports will focus on the political implications of the findings, there is more to this situation than an abundance of Marxists on campus.

That bigger issue is the sin of omission — what the students are not getting in their education. Students are leaving college without a rich civic education, an ability to read complex texts, or an ability to write at a college-level. 

This connecting of an ideological slant to the previous Academically Adrift report is the big take home.

But solutions to this crisis will not be easy.

If all we did was add a survey of Western Civilization, make U.S. History mandatory, and even out the ratio of Republicans to Democrats on campuses, little will change. Too many students see college as a workplace-credential factory. We need students to understand that real education goes beyond doing what is required to pass a class and get a diploma. 

That is a difficult task, but a battle worth fighting.

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