creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion General Opinion
Michael Barone
Michael Barone
19 Sep 2014
Which Is the Weaker Party? Your Call

Which of our two great political parties is the stronger? Maybe it makes more sense to ask which of the two … Read More.

16 Sep 2014
Obama Forced by Events to Reverse Course --- and Disillusion Base

Iraq, immigration, inversion. On all three of the issues referred to, President Obama finds himself forced by … Read More.

12 Sep 2014
Large Government Out of Place in a Society Based on Small Technology

"Twentieth-century technology," writes economic historian Joel Mokyr in the Manhattan Institute's excellent … Read More.

Colleges Skimp on Science, Spend Big on Diversity

Comment

How many times have you heard Barack Obama talk about "investing" in education? Quite a few, if you've been listening to the president at all.

In fact, Americans have been investing more and more in education over the years, led by presidents Democratic and Republican. But it's become glaringly clear that we're getting pretty lousy return on these investments.

That's been evident at the K-12 level for a long time. Teacher unions and education-school types have had custody of most of our public schools for more than three decades, during which test results and high school graduation rates have been mostly stagnant.

It has come to the point that Democratic politicians like former New York City Superintendent Joel Klein, past and current Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Newark Mayor Cory Booker have taken on the teacher unions.

Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan, deserves credit for doing a bit of this, as well. All this, despite the fact that teacher unions funnel millions of taxpayer-funded dollars into Democratic campaigns.

On higher education, Democrats and many Republicans as well have followed the same course as on public schools: Shovel in more money, in this case in the form of Pell grants and subsidized student loans.

College and university administrators have been happy to scoop up all the money by rapidly raising tuitions and fees. Higher-ed expenses have been rising much more rapidly than inflation for three decades.

And what has the money been spent on? Some of it presumably goes to professors in the hard sciences and the great scholars who have made American universities the best in the world. Well and good.

But many university administrators have other priorities. The University of California system has been raising tuitions and cutting departments. But, reports John Leo in the invaluable Minding the Campus blog, its San Diego campus found the money to create a new post of "vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion."

That's in addition to what the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald calls its "already massive diversity apparatus." It takes Mac Donald 103 words just to list the titles of UCSD's diversitycrats.

The money for the new vice chancellorship could have supported two of the three cancer researchers that the campus lost to Rice University in Houston, a private school that apparently takes the strange view that hard science is more important than diversity facilitators.

This doesn't just happen on the Left Coast.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington saved some money by lumping together two science departments and raised spending on its five diversity-multicultural offices.

But, to quote George W. Bush, is our students learning? Not very much, concludes the California Association of Scholars in its 87-page study of the University of California system.

Students aren't required to study American history or Western civilization. But they're subjected to a lot of political indoctrination by leftist activists. "Far too many" have not learned to write effectively to read "a reasonably complex book."

"In recent years, study after study has found that a college education no longer does what it once did and should do," the report concludes. "Students are being asked to pay considerably more and get considerably less."

That's the sort of thing that happens when you pump money into an insular system and don't hold its leaders accountable for results.

Many politicians' instinctive response is to pump in more money. But if you're stuck in a hole, it's a good idea to quit digging.

Millions of young Americans are living with the results. In a time of economic stagnation, the degrees they've earned haven't equipped them with basic work skills, much less expert knowledge that can command a premium even in a sluggish market.

And they're saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, which — darn it! — turns out not to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. They can get by on partial payments for a while, but interest keeps accumulating, to the point that Social Security checks may get dunned to pay for college.

Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of instapundit.com and a law professor at the University of Tennessee, says we're watching a higher education bubble that's just about to pop. That's what happens when you throw a lot of money at college and university administrators who don't have much common sense.

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM



Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
If colleges are actually interested in "diversity," they might try hiring a few conservatives.

Like that will ever happen...
Comment: #1
Posted by: Jeff Gunn
Wed Apr 4, 2012 11:14 PM
I have written a book called EDUCATION REFORM which addresses the problem of Liberal Arts education that does not teach enough job skills for the technological world that we are living in. It offers step by step solutions to the sad state of public school education and basically provides a way to transition into audio visual interactive computer software education which is the inevitable wave of the future and must replace the current bankrupt teaching system.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Uldis Sprogis
Thu Apr 5, 2012 3:28 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Michael Barone
Sep. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 21 Sep 2014
Lawrence Kudlow
Lawrence KudlowUpdated 20 Sep 2014
Brent Bozell

24 Jan 2009 The Obama-Kennedy Connection

26 May 2011 Obama Skirts Rule of Law to Reward Pals, Punish Enemies

25 Feb 2010 Obama's Nanny Care Insults the American Spirit