Phi Beta Cons

Passing at Princeton

Princeton’s very salutary step toward reducing grade inflation was the subject of a recent report in the Newark Star-Ledger. The school mandated that A’s constitute no greater than 35 percent of grades awarded in given classes. Princeton instituted the policy at a point when A’s constituted 46 percent of grades awarded. If this wasn’t a surfeit I don’t know what is. It seems an excellent step towards restoring some meaning to an A, sadly devalued in decades of, as the article elegantly puts it, “upward meandering of grades.” Many commentators have written on the problem of grade inflation, yet individual professors were hobbled in their responses for fear of harming their students. Harvey Mansfield, for one, spoke of his policy of awarding a “genuine” grade and then another aligned with inflated reality. University-wide institution of policies frees professors from such a need – and also provides a clear model to grad schools and employers that their A’s really mean something. If only this trend could prove so infectious as the end of Early Admissions.

Most Popular

PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.” How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World Keeps Not Ending

We were not supposed to have made it this far. George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Beatification of Beto

The media’s treatment of Texas Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke wasn’t the most egregiously unfair coverage of the past year -- that would be the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh -- but it ranks among 2018’s most annoying. The endless glowing profiles of O’Rourke in every publication from Vanity Fair to ... Read More

A Free People Must Be Virtuous

Dear Reader (Even those of you who didn’t seem to notice or care that I failed to file this “news”letter on Friday), So I’m sitting here at Gate C6 at O’Hare waiting for my flight home. I am weary, pressed for time, in desperate need of a shower, and filled with a great sense of dread for the work ... Read More