I’m asked just about every year to give a commencement speech somewhere. I couldn’t accept any invitations this year due to being outside the country, so I’ll state here what I want to say to every student who is graduating and their parents. It’s a warning and a call for wisdom.
Former first lady Barbara Bush said a few years ago on Fox News: “We’ve got a real problem in public schools … this is a national crisis. It is as bad as anything in our country.”
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker similarly commented, “The fate of our country won’t be decided on a battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom.”
Do you believe Bush and Walker? I do.
I love teachers. I really do. Truth be known, I’m certain most are overworked and underpaid. No one is certainly getting rich from teaching kids. I applaud the hard-working true teachers across this land.
But what I’m primarily concerned about at this time of year are the state of colleges and universities to which so many high school graduates are going. I’m particularly concerned that they’ve become little more than leftist indoctrination camps where too many professors are simply peddling progressive ideologies packaged under the guise of education, and shutting and keeping out anything that would challenge them.
Dr. Jim Nelson Black, founder and senior policy analyst of Sentinel Research Associates in Washington, D.C., wrote an excellent book several years back titled “Freefall of the American University: How our Colleges are Corrupting the Minds and Morals of the Next Generation.” In it he documents the lopsided left-wing prejudices of our nation’s universities.
Dr. Black notes that the 57 percent of faculty members represented in our most esteemed universities are Democrats (only three percent are Republicans), and 64 percent identify themselves as liberal (only 6 percent say they are conservative). Moreover, 71 percent of them disagree that “news coverage of political and social issues reflects a liberal bias in the news media.” And the No. 1 answer they gave to the question, “Who has been the best president in the past forty years?” was Bill Clinton (only four percent said Ronald Reagan).
The one-sided educational environment of universities, with their restrictive speech codes, bias against conservative students and propagandizing for radical causes and lifestyles, is far from what Thomas Jefferson and other founders intended for the future generations of America. Rather than encourage freethinking, higher education in America – especially in the liberal arts – is a community of indoctrination.
Too many parents blindly assume that any college – or any college with a big or popular name – will do for their sons and daughters. Don’t believe it. Before you send your daughter to the local college or university, take a close look at it, or a second look. You might be appalled at the sort of radicalism you discover. If the school is a taxpayer-supported college or university – and it most likely is – you have every right to voice your concerns to the administration or to your state and federal representatives. If you don’t receive proper responses, then go public and expose university wrongdoing by blogging and posting it to your social media about it.
If our government is not going to hold our taxpayer-supported academic institutions accountable, then we must.
And there’s more you can do. Ask your local college or university leaders to accept the Academic Bill of Rights and the Student’s Bill of Rights. To counter so much progressive indoctrination in American culture, you can also have your graduates consider attending a private, conservative or Christian college or university, such as Liberty University, Biola University, Hillsdale College, Christendom College, Westmont College or Grove City College.
If your son or daughter dreams of becoming a professor, encourage them. The only way we’ll ultimately change academic bias is by ensuring the appointment of conservative teachers into the faculty and administration of our institutions of higher learning.
On Dec. 26, 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Destutt Tracy about his vision for the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819): “This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and expose every subject susceptible of its contemplation.”
One day later he wrote to William Roscoe a similar but expanded thought: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Thomas Jefferson was an enthusiastic advocate for public education and believed it was the key to preserving a republican government and society. Yet he was equally an ardent opponent against “any tyranny over the mind of man.” Whether that dominance is sectarianism or secularism, conservatism or liberalism, Jefferson (and I believe our other founders) would oppose and seek to correct today’s blatantly biased academic bureaucracy at all levels of education. At very least, they would counter educational prejudice by welcoming and providing opposing views and resources.
One further way to do that is to cut federal government overreach into education. Our founders couldn’t ever have imagined the out-of-control growth of today’s federal government, and that it would even concern itself with controlling national education. That is why I believe we should eliminate the federal Department of Education. Education is a state and local (not to mention parental) responsibility. We could also greatly slash the state and local education bureaucracies and budgets, which often only funnel money out of classrooms and into the hands of administrators and managers who come up with politically correct programs to justify their existence. If we want to get back to basics in education, we can start by eliminating educational bureaucrats and giving that money back to parents, or at very least by investing it in the students.
Government needs less of a role in running our children’s education and more of a role in supporting parents’ and students’ educational decisions. Children belong to their parents, not the government. And the parents ought to have the right, and government support, to personalize their graduate’s education as they see fit. And where the Department of Education, teachers’ unions or any other organizations or bureaucrats impede their decisions, they must be stopped.
Is it merely coincidental that citizens’ private choice of schooling was outlawed by the Soviet State in 1919, by Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1938, and by Communist China in 1949?
Is America next?
(For more information on the liberation of American colleges and universities, check out Dr. Black’s book and look up groups like Students for Academic Freedom, Accuracy in Academia, and NoIndoctrination.org)