I’ve been exploring the idea on this blog recently that the evolution of a mono-culture of left-of-center thinking on American college campuses is alienating a large swath of the electorate. On the one hand, public colleges and universities lobby for more public dollars; on the other, their actions vitiate the values of much of the tax-paying public. No wonder political support for public higher education is waning.
In an article entitled, “Elitists, crybabies, and junk degrees,” the Washington Post highlights the views of Frank Antenori, a former Green Beret who serves in the Arizona state legislature — a legislature that has cut state support for higher education by 54% since 2008. Writes the Post:
There is a growing partisan divide over how much to spend on higher education. Education advocates worry that conservative disdain threatens to undermine universities. …
In July, a Pew Research Center study found that 58 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents think that colleges and universities have a negative effect “on the way things are going in the country,” up from 37 percent two years ago. Among Democrats, by contrast, 72 percent said they have a positive impact.
A Gallup poll in August found that only about a third of Republicans had confidence in universities, which they viewed as too liberal or political. Other studies show that overwhelming numbers of white working-class men do not believe a college degree is worth the cost.
Antenori, who got most of his higher education by working through night school, thinks universities are becoming increasingly elitist and politically correct, that more kids should pursue vocational educations, and that taxpayers shouldn’t pay students to pursue “junky” degrees in “diversity studies and culture studies.”
Bacon’s bottom line: The backlash against higher education is just beginning. In a world in which every aspect of society and culture is becoming politicized — with the most heated rhetoric emanating from leftist echo chambers of the academy — don’t be surprised if taxpayers and tuition-paying parents begin evaluating higher-ed institutions through a politically polarized lens. If presidents of public universities in Virginia want to blunt that backlash — which seems to be gaining momentum — they might consider devoting at least a fraction of their efforts to attaining political/philosophical diversity as they do to racial and socio-economic diversity.There are currently no comments highlighted.