The Corner

Education

Numerous Strategies for Countering the Leftism of Higher Ed

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

At only a few American colleges and universities will students not encounter some degree of leftist indoctrination from faculty and administrators who think it their mission to breed new “change agents.” Of course, it doesn’t always “work” — many students tune out the politics and concentrate on their studies (or just on college fun). But at the margin, the drumbeat of leftist propaganda has an impact. Some students who were previously middle-of-the-road are drawn into the orbit of statism and some who were already in that orbit are turned into ferocious Social Justice Warriors.

Still, this state of affairs is deplorable. What can be done?

In today’s Martin Center article, Anthony Hennen surveys the landscape of ideas for saving American higher education, or at least saving students from it.

We could create new colleges and universities, and attempt to protect them against hostile incursions by leftists who can never leave anything alone. We could provide more funding and moral support for promising grad students who might eventually enter the teaching ranks. We could support non-leftist programs on our campuses and start new ones. Alumni who are unhappy about the leftward drift of their schools can complain and, more significantly, stop giving money. We can pressure state legislatures to use the power of the purse to cut funding for schools that allow politics to dominate. We could encourage students to forego college in favor of getting on with their lives.

Hennen sums up: “For all the college reform ideas (aside from the moonshot of abolition), there’s a guiding light: Change happens locally. It starts with making connections with young people, like-minded reformers, and community leaders. Higher ed is too sprawling, decentralized, and diverse for one approach alone to renew the academy. What will be key is building public support and taking initiative to right the current wrongs.”

There is no one answer, but people who care about the politicization of higher education have a lot of options in battling it.

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

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