As America's oldest and wealthiest university, Harvard University has been a source of national pride, indeed a national treasure, always very high on the list of the world's top schools. Yet recently it committed a blunder of breathtaking proportions, one so egregious that it calls for action not only by Harvard but possibly even beyond.
For many decades, defenders of liberal education — not only conservatives — have been warning the public about colleges’ and universities’ hostility to free speech. If the warnings are unsound, why has controversy persisted? If they are sound, why hasn’t the problem been corrected?
A few years ago I asked a friend and business owner why he put value on a college diploma when talking with entry level talent who had majored in subjects incredibly tangential to his job descriptions. . . .
A program at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, will bring together 25 of the country’s best and brightest students in August in an effort to train the next generation of leaders in the principles of liberal democracy and the ideas that constitute the foundation of the state...
The presidential race has started extremely early this year. That may or may not be a good thing; Americans may get sick of politics before next November...
For several decades, the number of students attending college in the United States has been growing rapidly: Over the last 20 years or so, enrollments have risen by about 50 percent, and over the last 50 years they have more than quadrupled. During this time, especially the last two decades, the polarization of our politics has markedly intensified.
The never-ending controversy over Peyton Manning’s backside has several uncomfortable tensions at work: factual uncertainty, failed accountability and the urge to seek a correction now for something 20 years ago. But all of it amounts to a supercharged distraction from the real question: Why aren’t we talking about current events at Tennessee instead of a murky one 20 years ago?
On May 8, the Duke University student newspaper published a stirring letter addressed to the school community that was co-signed by 101 students and former students. The letter protested the decision of the university’s Sanford School of Public Policy to decline to renew the contract of Evan Charney, associate professor of the practice of public policy and political science, and called on the provost to reverse the decision.
In his “Theses on Feuerbach,” the young Karl Marx proclaimed, “[P]hilosophers have only hitherto interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it” (emphasis in original). Mission statements of several of our preeminent colleges and universities follow suit. The primary purpose of liberal education, according to these formal pronouncements, is not to understand the world but to remake it.
More than 140 years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, his theory of evolution is still generating controversy. Although Darwinism is championed by the majority of the scientific community, some have claimed that Darwin's theory is bad science and have put forward their own, even more controversial theories. What should we make of these arguments? Is one such theory, known as Intelligent Design, merely creationism by another name, or is it a legitimate scientific alternative to Darwinism?
In 2001, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan effort to mandate national education standards and increase federal funding of education. At the time, critics on both sides of the political spectrum were troubled by the expansion of federal power over education that the act represented and by the education standards the act mandated. Now, nearly half a decade later, has No Child Left Behind been a success? If not, how should it be reformed? Peter Robinson speaks with John E. Chubb and Martin Carnoy.
Did life on earth unfold by chance or by design? According to the natural sciences and Darwin's theory of evolution, it was by chance. According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was by divine design. On this crucial question, science and religion appear to be irreconcilable. But are they? Does Darwinism encourage atheism? Must Christians be anti-Darwin?
In the United States, affirmative action policies, first implemented to address the historical grievances of black Americans, have long been controversial. But the debate over affirmative action has generally ignored such action as practiced by other countries around the world. Has affirmative action proven to be more or less effective in other countries? What common patterns do these programs share? How can the study of these programs help our understanding of affirmative action in America?
Does Homer still matter? For more than 2000 years, the ancient Greeks and Romans have had a special place in the canon of western civilization and their writings have been studied by generation after generation of scholars and students. But are the classics still relevant in twenty-first century, multi-cultural America? Or are the ancient Greeks of no more importance to us than other ancient cultures such as the Aztecs, Egyptians, or Chinese?
In an effort to restore the teaching of our nation's founding principles at colleges and universities and produce the next generation of professors prepared to effectively teach America's history and institutions, new academic centers of excellence are now active at the University of Chicago; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Texas, Austin; and Emory University...
Another high-profile act of campus censorship -- amid a coast-to-coast spate of student assaults on free speech the last two years -- occurred in late September at the College of William & Mary. Undergraduates there shut down a lecture on “Students and the First Amendment” by chanting, among other things, “Liberalism is white supremacy.” President Taylor Reveley promptly issued a statement affirming the college’s “powerful commitment to the free play of ideas.” That did little to disturb the eerie silence of most faculty and administrators around the country in the face of free speech’s travails.
More than fifty years after the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, there is still an unacceptable gap between the academic achievements of white and black students in America. In fact, by some standards, black students today perform more poorly than they did fifteen years ago. Why? What role does culture play? Does culture explain the disparate performance of Hispanic and Asian students? And just how should we go about trying to close this gap? Peter Robinson speaks with Bernard Gifford, Abigail Thernststrom, and Stephan Thernstrom.
In October 2004, the school board in the small town of Dover, Pennsylvania, ordered its high school biology teachers to preface classes on evolution with the statement: "Darwin's Theory is a theory not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence." As an alternative to evolution, the school board suggested "intelligent design," a theory holding that life on earth could not have developed at random. Are there gaps in the theory of evolution that undermine its credibility? What should we make of "intelligent design"? And just what should we be teaching our children about the development of life on earth? Peter Robinson speaks with Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Wells.
According to recent polls, instructors at American universities are overwhelmingly liberal: 72 percent of faculty members describe themselves as liberal, whereas only 15 percent call themselves conservative. Some critics charge that this ideological imbalance has created a code of political correctness that inhibits freedom of inquiry and expression in our universities. Is this true? And if so, what should be done, or can be done, about it? Peter Robinson speaks with David Horowitz and Graham Larkin.
Has increased immigration to EU member nations created distrust and delusion, contributing to a continent in the grip of a culture in the midst of its own suicide?