The Corner


An Educational Plague Spreads across the Land

America’s colleges and universities are the perfect petri dishes for cultivating destructive ideas and movements. The people in charge are usually leftists who hate to say “no” to anything proposed by fellow members of the tribe of progressivism. They have lots of money to throw around. They assume that they won’t suffer any adverse consequences from actions that politicize their institutions, so long as it’s the kind of politicization acceptable to the Left. That explains the rise of the New Civics at a great many colleges.

What is the New Civics? That is the term coined by David Randall of the National Association of Scholars for programs meant to turn college students into left-wing activists. Randall explains it in great detail in a recent NAS report entitled “Making Citizens” and I write about his work in this Martin Center article.

At many colleges, it’s difficult for a student to find courses that cover the old civics — factual teaching about our governmental institutions. But it’s hard to avoid New Civics courses that implant leftist notions about the evils of capitalism, America’s supposedly intractable racism, white privilege, and the like, and combine them with activism outside the classroom. The goal is to turn out brigades of young Social Justice Warriors. Taxpayers foot the bill, of course.

Randall’s report covers the rise of New Civics, its Alinskyite tactics, its support system. Then he dives into several case studies: University of Colorado — Boulder, Colorado State, Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming. (Only at the last has New Civics failed to spread very far.) In great detail, we learn about the people and programs, such as the International and National Voluntary Service Training program at UC-Boulder. That program amounts to, as Randall puts it, “a major in progressive activism” that pumps out around 200 graduates per year. Those miseducated kids will become foot soldiers in the army dedicated to transforming America into a collectivistic paradise.

Randall has many recommendations, but I’ll sum them up this way: New Civics must be pulled out by the roots. You should read his report and share it widely.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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