Keeping Up with the Times

As a university professor, I’m naturally interested in keeping up with the times. As I survey the climate of campuses throughout our nation, I’m beginning to realize I’m truly out of step. Perhaps I need to change some things to fit better into that current climate.

As a start, maybe I can alter my courses so they won’t be so focused on learning actual facts from history and evaluating the various interpretations of those facts in light of a Biblical worldview. And I probably should make my courses more fun, right? What could possibly go wrong with that innovative approach?

Neither should I be so adamant about correcting students’ writing or be so concerned about their grasp of fundamentals. This is a new age, after all:

Yes, I have a long way to go before I will fit into this new culture.

Higher Education Sometimes Isn’t

Let’s compare the myth with what is all too often the reality about what occurs in a college education.

The myth is that the four years spent in the arena of higher education is a time when the student will be able, under wise direction from professors, to sift through a variety of worldviews and learn how to become discerning in a quest for what is genuine and what is not.

That has been somewhat fictional all along, simply because the culture will be a strong determinant in what is taught at colleges and universities. The idea that all sides will be fairly presented is not the usual fare. We need to remember that value-neutral education is a myth; everyone teaches from a distinctive worldview.

The reality is that parents who go into debt in the hope that college will round out their child’s educational experience may instead find an entirely different child when the experience has been completed:

What Did You Learn

Now that the radicals of the 1960s and 1970s are filling most of the professorial posts in the liberal arts programs of the universities, what else should we expect? They are now attempting to clone themselves through this new generation. They haven’t done this alone, of course; they’ve had the help of the public school system nationwide and the larger entertainment culture.

Everything now offends some students (and I use that term loosely).

Trigger Words

Well, perhaps we should provide a trigger warning for those who are now embarking on their new path in life:

Trigger Warning

There’s always this possibility, though:

Grad School

All of this is quite disturbing to me, since I teach at a university. I’m not at your typical university, fortunately. Although Christian colleges and universities are not immune to these forces, there remains more sanity when you are at an institution that continues to hold up God’s Word as the standard for learning.

Sadly, though, what we see spreading across the nation is the epitome of what I have called Snyderian Truism #11: “Higher education sometimes isn’t.”

A Toxic Campus Environment

This new outbreak of campus unrest is more than slightly reminiscent of the turbulent period between 1964-1973, which coincided with the Vietnam War. Along with the war protests, however, we also experienced a major shift in culture. Traditional morality based on Christian faith was largely jettisoned on campuses, and in the intervening years, hostility to Biblical faith and morality has only increased.

While the ostensible rationale for the current unrest is racial, what we are seeing is a bandwagon effect as the old stale tirade against the establishment raises its ugly head once again.

What’s ironic, of course, is that the establishment in the universities is predominantly allied with the leftist agenda. Apparently, they are not being leftist enough.

The demand for free speech that supposedly was the basis for the earlier protests has been turned on its head. Now it’s free speech for me, not for thee.

Free Speech

Some fragile students are offended by almost anything with which they disagree. Everyone must come around to their point of view . . . or else. And if you deny this is happening . . .

Denier

College is also supposed to be a place where one receives a “higher” education. In some departments that has become laughable, and for certain students, it’s not even a goal:

Shocking Sports Story

And where education presumably is occurring, one has to be aware of what that education is comprised:

Imperialist Religious Fanatics

Many have commented that this generation of college students is perhaps the most coddled, immature, and crybabyish (new word?) in our history. For me, it’s always comforting to resort to one of my favorite sources of wisdom:

Perspective

Proper perspective is essential. The current generation, adrift in a sea of moral relativism, quasi-Marxism, and a sense of entitlement, is oblivious to real history, to any foundational understanding of how government under our Constitution is supposed to operate, and to the Source of all our liberties and social responsibilities.

Is Education Firing Blanks?

Have you ever watched any of these “man on the street” interviews where the interviewer asks people basic knowledge questions? One of the best at this is Jesse Watters, who shows up regularly on The O’Reilly Factor. Last night, he was asking people some really hard questions, like “Who was the first president of the United States?” Blank faces. “Who bombed Pearl Harbor”? More blanks. “Who was president during WWII”? Guesses included Abraham Lincoln and George Bush.

I trust none of those questions stumped you.

I was reminded of a Mallard Fillmore cartoon I saw recently:

Good Presentation

A little far-fetched? Perhaps. But if you’ve seen and heard the things I’ve seen and heard as a university professor, you wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of possibility in some cases.

We have a generation that generally doesn’t like to read—sometimes that’s because they’ve never been taught how to read, apparently. And I’m talking about those who are in college. Having to read a history book and be quizzed over what you have read is becoming “unfair.” A professor who requires that has “unrealistic expectations.” That professor “enjoys” failing students.

Yes, I’ve heard all of those.

Of course, this starts earlier in life:

Preachy

Just try to straighten someone out with facts and see what can happen.

I only raise this issue today because I’m concerned with the state of education. When we have a society that says feelings trump logical thinking, we are in danger. When we push “inventive spelling” or move students along to the next level when they’re not ready—because we don’t wish to damage their self-esteem—we are creating a self-absorbed citizenry.

When we then tell all of these poorly educated students that they should go to college, we’re dumbing down what college is supposed to be.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m fully dedicated to teaching anyone who is in any class I teach. My goal is to help them be what God has called them to be. But we also need to recognize the problem and do what we can to change course.

By the way, Mr. President, two years of community college provided “free”—i.e., at taxpayer expense—is no solution. That only contributes to the problem.