A group of scholars (of which I’m one) have begun a new effort to correct troubles of American universities. We call this “The Path to Prosperity”.
We’re working on a separate website for the statements and documents. Meanwhile, the National Association of Scholars kindly hosts a copy — with the important ability for colleagues to add their name to the list of signatories. (The process is not automated: after submitting the names are manually entered at the back end.)
The effort is tied to certain proposed and ongoing legislative proposals, which are linked in the document. The idea is to make this as concrete a possible.
Why Is This Needed?
Universities are increasingly forgetting their fundamental purpose: too many see their mission as political, to redress historic grievances, real, exaggerated and imagined. The watery principles of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity are more honored than the pursuit of Truth.
Faculty and student bodies are populated by tribal affiliation, where both the constituents of the tribes and their precise numerical representation are subjected to nice and fluctuating calculation. New faculty are required to take ideology oaths, and are overseen by zampolit who consume huge resources and contribute nothing to knowledge.
Universities overestimate their own importance, and never see the harms they cause. Cardinal Richelieu observed in 1625, “If learning were profaned by being made available to all and sundry, it would be found that there were more people capable of creating doubts than of resolving them, and many would show themselves more apt in opposing truth than in defending it.”
This warning has been well proved, but the lesson has not been learned. The nation’s employers largely side with universities and require “degrees” for even simple employment. They would be better served by hiring by ability.
Universities ought to increase the rigor of the teaching and admit that their services are not for all. Departments devoted to ideology ought to be quietly retired. The professoriate ought to wrest control from their bureaucracies and to winnow them to sober levels.
Universities ought to recall that success is not measured by the amount of money collected, but by the greatness of the minds trained by them.
None of this will happen. But we can rebuild, from within and without.
Here is a copy of the official statement: for the original, please go to the NAS site. When the document’s home site is up and running, I’ll place a link here.
The Path to Prosperity
Higher education was once a bulwark of American freedom. Today it is a demoralizing force in society. Universities have lost their way. They have become bloated and unresponsive, because of excessive government support, exploitive student loans, and foreign money. They claim to be the best way to prepare students for success in America, yet in much of what they do, they undermine America and her institutions. Nowhere do they present an accurate, coherent, or honest assessment of America’s role in world affairs.
Young men and women enroll in colleges and universities enticed by the promise that their degree certificates will open the door to well-paying, interesting, and attractive work. Instead, many of them struggle with unrepayable debt, cannot find gratifying jobs, and succumb to despair. Parents hope that through higher education their children will fulfill the American dream and be prepared for difficult challenges abroad; instead, they increasingly conclude that their sons and daughters have wasted half a decade on a degree certificate that does nothing to help them become competent, successful, citizens.
We must educate for prosperity and security, at both the personal and national level. Colleges and universities should prioritize the teaching of practical and intellectual skills, with a view to developing citizen competence. Citizen competence is the precondition for national prosperity in a challenging global economy.
Toward these ends we support:
- Fiscal Accountability
- Career Education
- National Interest
- Fiscal Accountability
- Net Price Calculator Improvement Act: Make technical improvements to the Net Price Calculator system so that prospective students may have a more accurate understanding of the true cost of college. Senate Bill 1448: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Understanding the Truce Cost of College Act of 2021: To require a standard financial aid offer form. Senate Bill 1452: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Ivory Tower Tax Act of 2021: Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to apply a 1 percent excise tax on large endowments of certain private colleges and universities, to require that such institutions distribute at least 5 percent of large endowments in each taxable year. Senate Bill 1547: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Require a reduction of the size of higher education administration and non-academic support staff. Freedom to Learn: Recommendation 1.1: Title IV Eligibility to Administrative Reduction (National Association of Scholars, 2020).
- university eligibility to receive federal student loans to prohibiting material benefits to foreign citizens, including illegal aliens and permanent residents. Freedom to Learn: Recommendation 8.6: Forbid Sanctuary Campuses (National Association of Scholars, 2020).
- Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act of 2019: To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for accreditation reform, to require institutions of higher education to publish information regarding student success, to provide for fiscal accountability, and to provide for school accountability for student loans. Senate Bill 2339: 116th Congress (2019-2020).
- Career Education
- Supporting the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month: Supporting the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month. House Resolution 99: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- American Workforce Investment in Next Generation of Students Act: To establish a pilot program to promote public-private partnerships among apprenticeships or other job training programs, local education agencies or area career and technical education schools, and community colleges, and for other purposes. House Bill 4655: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- For the Parents Act: To ban the teaching of critical race theory in public education. House Bill 6262: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Campus Free Speech Restoration Act: To ensure that public institutions of higher education eschew policies that improperly constrain the expressive rights of students, and to ensure that private institutions of higher education are transparent about, and responsible for, their chosen speech policies. House Bill 4007: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Federal Student Loan Eligibility to Due Process Protection. Freedom to Learn: Recommendation 4.1: Federal Student Loan Eligibility to Due Process Protection (National Association of Scholars, 2020).
- National Interest
- Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States Act; or, CONFUCIUS Act: to establish limitations regarding Confucius Institutes. Senate Bill 590: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
- Zero Foreign Influence in Education Act of 2021: To Amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to strengthen the disclosure requirements for institutions of higher education related to foreign gifts and contracts. House Bill 3136: 117th Congress (2021-2022).
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.