(NaturalNews) The 2015–16 edition of What Will They Learn? – a review of 1,100 colleges and universities – has just been published by the The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). The study shows that most institutions of higher learning are allowing students to graduate without a basic grasp of many key subjects.From an ACTA press release:
“What Will They Learn? finds that the majority of college-educated students graduate without exposure to fundamental courses like American history, basic economics or literature. At many institutions, it is possible for students to graduate with little more knowledge of these basic courses than a high school student, often after paying $200,000 or more for their degree.”
The various institutions were given “report cards” on their performance in terms of providing students with adequate knowledge of seven fundamental subjects considered essential for a classic liberal arts degree: “literature, composition, economics, math, intermediate-level foreign language, science and American government/history.”
Out of the 1,100 colleges and universities involved, only 24 (two percent) were given an “A” grade for requiring six of the seven essential subjects.
Only three percent of both private and public institutions require Economics. Of public institutions, only 27 percent require US History/Government courses and only 10 percent of private institutions require the same.
A mere 13 percent require intermediate-level fluency in a foreign language.
In a letter published on the What Will They Learn? website, former Harvard Dean Harry Lewis wrote:
“At its best, general education is about the unity of knowledge, not about distributed knowledge. Not about spreading courses around, but about making connections between different ideas. Not about the freedom to combine random ingredients, but about joining an ancient lineage of the learned and wise. And it has a goal, too: producing an enlightened, self-reliant citizenry, pluralistic and diverse but united by democratic values.”
Education is now a ‘game’Lewis decries the trend of colleges and universities reducing “general education” to what he terms a “game.”
“Students have to work their way through a vast menu of general education requirements,” he wrote, “and do their best to find courses that fit the various categories as well as their schedules.”
The result is that many students graduate with major gaps in the type of knowledge required to give them a sense of “democratic principles” and “nationhood.”
When the majority of institutions make government and history courses optional, the nation suffers.
“Many studies have shown that our college graduates are ignorant of the basic principles on which our government runs. For starters, most cannot identify the purpose of the First Amendment, what Reconstruction was, or the historical context of the Voting Rights Act. …
“This is especially dangerous in America, where nothing holds us together except our democratic principles. If universities don’t pass them down, our children will not inherit our nationhood genetically.”
The classic concept of a university education has been tossed in favor of a mixed bag of course requirements that often have little relation to one another. In the past, a liberal arts degree was designed to instill a balanced worldview – to provide students with a grasp of the essentials along with the knowledge required to master their specific fields of study.
The modern educational approach has seemingly lost its rudder. We are no longer turning out graduates who have a well-rounded education and who are ready to lead the next generation of Americans.
Rather, we are creating career-oriented specialists who haven’t a clue about our nation’s past, don’t speak foreign languages, have no knowledge of economic theory and very little about literature.
The word “university” comes from the Latin “universitas,” meaning whole or total. We seem to have forgotten the roots of the term, somehow. …