American Thinker’s David Solway has some interesting observations on the state of higher education in the US. Excerpt:
I have just been perusing a towering stack of student essays that my wife, a university prof, has been grading over the last week. The spectacle of ineptitude, ignorance, and tactical evasion of once standard commitment is light-years beyond belief. According to my reckoning, perhaps four fifths of the students registered in both her arts undergraduate courses and graduate seminars exhibit one or several of the following deficiencies. To put it in bullet form, they:
- lack interest in anything apart from their congenial pursuits, a phenomenon demonstrably less evident in precursor generations.
- lack coping ability with real-world events, against which they seek not engagement, but insulation – the infantile or “snowflake” mentality that has grown so prominent.
- have little knowledge of English grammar and concinnity.
- suffer from impoverished vocabularies.
- cannot follow text or topic directions.
- are given to outright plagiarism from online sources, which, extrapolating from the submissions I am examining, is a tactic adopted by approximately one fifth of the cohort in question.
- claim exemptions on grounds of disability where almost anything, from exam anxiety to memory failings to agoraphobia to time management issues, counts as a certified disability in the current permissive and anti-scholarly climate.
- are incapable of reading text with understanding or of discriminating among narrative planes – i.e., cannot tell the differences among the view of the author, the view of the narrator, and the view of the characters in the novel under discussion. The almost complete absence of hermeneutic discernment is pervasive. Reading, as Furedi points out in Power of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter, connotes more than literacy, “involv[ing] interpretation and imagination” in an effort to “gain meaning.” Of course, reading in Furedi’s terms depends upon literacy, so it is not surprising that these mature students tend to function on a grade eight level.
Please go read it all, and some common sense solutions from Animal