24.2.05

HOW OTHERS SEE US. George Neumayr writes an essay for American Spectator that is unsparing in its criticism of the academy.

Time and again, the post-1960s university has chosen politics over truth, "equality" (which, let's face it, means hiring incompetents to teach illiterates) over academic excellence, and petulant professors over students seeking a real education.

Students always come last in these controversies. Whether they get a good education is irrelevant to tussling academics. In fact, faculty ideologues would prefer students not receive any deep, comprehensive knowledge from the curriculum as that makes them more difficult to manipulate.

To see how fundamentally uninterested they are in the academic welfare of students, look at the endless energy faculty ideologues spend on "diversity" demands, a blatantly political, not academic, goal.

Well, sometimes they spend energy on assessment of the obvious, or on wrangles over how to divide the niggardly sum the administration consents to make available for merit pay. Or they redefine curricula so as to keep more credit hours in-house and away from more demanding departments.

Methinks Mr Neumayr does not quite grasp the difficulty of finding good teachers who are also original thinkers.
If every female teaching candidate Harvard interviewed were like Marie Curie, Harvard could hire them all and have 100% female representation. Would that be "diverse"? No, but it would guarantee that Harvard students received brilliant instruction. Similarly, if every candidate were like Albert Einstein, Harvard could hire all male mathematicians and serve its students.
We don't know that. Are there excellent teachers and researchers who were advised by excellent teachers and researchers who were advised by Professor Einstein, or by Professor Curie? If memory serves, Professor Einstein once estimated that perhaps six people could grasp his general theory of relativity. (Correct me if I've misstated this.) Does that say something about his ability to teach, which involves rendering the unfamiliar familiar, and the familiar strange (any thought experiment involving a train getting shorter as it goes faster would do that.)

No comments: