There’s an entire outrage industry built on attacking various university departments that don’t teach ‘anything useful.’ Various state governors have jumped on board, and attempt to defund departments, the ones that they find politically incorrect. That’s how the discourse is framed, anyway (boldface mine):
“In the 1960s, students rebelled at most institutions,” fellow right-winger Robert C. Dickeson wrote in General Education: Too Many Options, “and institutions subsequently caved…. We need a more academically responsible general education program to keep both our students and our institutions centered on what is important.”
What might that be? you ask.
ALEC — a conservative group that writes model legislation and policy briefs for lawmakers — posits that, “American businesses are increasingly worried about the quality of the workforce pool from which they will be hiring.… Too few American students are graduating high school or college with the skills employers need.” The solution? Let business “shape or endorse curriculum, training and certification options that teach the skills they look for in potential employees.”
The reality is somewhat different:
And Canisius and Elmira are not anomalous. A host of other small, private colleges — Hiram, Illinois Wesleyan, Kettering, Keuka, Marian, Medaille, National and Wittenberg, among them — have also eliminated “underperforming departments.” The most frequently nixed specializations are math, biology, philosophy, geology, physics, religion, anthropology, chemistry and foreign languages.
Maybe it says something about American bidness that math, biology, geology, physics, chemistry, and foreign language proficiency are not considered important for business. Mind you, the other subjects are important, but I fail to understand how the subjects I listed aren’t useful for business. What is apparently important?
One manifestation of that opportunity, he continues, is Elmira College’s rollout of new programs in actuarial science, health care management and fashion marketing.
This will not end well. And remember: anytime conservatives start prattling on about values, make sure your wallet is still there. Because that’s what it’s really about.