Utahns Get Heavy Dose Of Dishonesty From NEA

Tomorrow, Utah voters will decide whether to launch a school-voucher program to allow parents more choice in educating their children. The NEA has launched a full assault against the program, and in some cases against the truth, as the Wall Street Journal notes:

A new report from the Utah Foundation shows the state’s public education could certainly use a shake-up. The states most similar demographically to Utah, by measures such as student poverty and parental education, are Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Utah finishes last in this group, based on eighth-grade scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Utah youngsters trail the pack across the range of core subjects — last in math, last in reading, last in science.
Still, the unions are banking that fear of the unknown will trump demonstrated incompetence. The opponents have raised a bundle to disseminate their predictions of doom, including more than $3 million from status quo headquarters, the National Education Association. They’re stoking that fear with antivoucher TV ads that aren’t winning high marks for honesty. Salt Lake’s KSL-TV, an NBC affiliate that has editorialized against vouchers, nonetheless felt compelled to label as “false” the central claims in two recent attack ads against vouchers.
One ad featured the “Utah teacher of the year” claiming that vouchers “take resources away from public schools.” In fact, the law provides only up to $3,000 per child toward private school tuition, depending on family income, and the voucher money comes from the state’s general fund, not the education budget. The average voucher will cost $2,000, but the state now spends $7,500 per student. The public schools get to pocket the difference, $5,500, without an obligation to provide any services. So the more parents choose vouchers, the higher per-student spending will rise in the public schools.
Another attack ad claimed that private schools would have “no accountability,” when in fact they are required under the law to report to parents how their children in voucher-supported schools do each year on nationwide achievement tests. Market-based competition will force exactly the kind of accountability that the unions fear in public schools.

Voucher work by issuing a partial rebate on taxes spent on each child for their education. They remove part of the funding but the entire child from the state-run schools, meaning that each voucher represents a profit to the public school in which the child would have enrolled. Even at $3000 per voucher, more than half of the allocated resources for the child would remain in the public school system, which then would be relieved of the costs associated with that child.
As for accountability, the notion that private schools have less is simply absurd. Private schools in a competitive market have the ultimate accountability to parents to produce results. If they don’t, the parents will find another private school that works. Schools that fail to educate will close from lack of customers, just as any other business does when it proves incompetent in a competitive arena. These schools will have to show the responsiveness of any business in the marketplace if it expects to keep its clients satisfied enough to do repeat business.
Compare that to the responsiveness of administrators at public schools. Most of them are well-meaning, but even school boards have their hands tied through federal mandates, union job protections, and other issues outside of local control. Parents have almost no influence over curricula, nor do they get much accountability for actions taken by the schools or the teachers. Those who have tangled with administrators find that the education monopoly inculcates a certain mixture of arrogance and resignation among most of even the best people in the system — and much worse among the less worthy.
The Journal reports that the measure appears headed for defeat, fuelled by the scare tactics of those with the most to lose from the end of the monopoly. Utahns should keep that in mind when they go to the polls tomorrow. Which side wants to give the power to the parents, and which side wants to scare them into keeping the power with the monopoly that has made Utah the worst educational system in the region?

Parents Taking Power Back

Utah voters go to the polls next week to vote on a controversial school-choice measure, opposed by most of the education lobby but supported by many voters in the state. The program would use means testing to grant vouchers for children to use in private schools rather than public schools, and the industry’s leaders see their monopoly slipping away. John Stossel argues that parents can do better with the money than the public schools have done so far:

What a great idea. Finally, parents will have choices that wealthy parents have always had. The resulting competition would create better private schools and even improve the government schools.
But wait. Arrayed against the vouchers are the usual opponents. They call themselves Utahns for Public Schools. They include, predictably, the Utah Education Association (the teachers union), Utah School Boards Association, Utah School Employees Union, Utah School Superintendents Association, the elementary and secondary school principals associations, and the PTA. No to vouchers! they protest. Trust us. We know what’s best for your kids.
They say they’re all for improving education but not by introducing choice. “When it comes to providing every Utah child with a quality education, we believe, as do most Americans, that our greatest hope for success is investing in research-proven reforms. These include the things parents and teachers know will make a difference in the classroom, such as smaller class sizes and investment in teacher development programs. Focusing on this type of reform will bring far greater success than diverting tax dollars to an alternative education system.”
Please. I’ve heard that song for years. Government schools in America fail while spending on average more than $11,000 per student. Utah spends $7,500. Think what an innovative education entrepreneur would do with so much money. It’s more than $150,000 per classroom!
The answer to mediocre public schooling isn’t to give a government monopoly more “teacher development programs.” The answer is competition.

Competition is one part of why these programs will eventually overtake the government monopoly on education policy. It will force public schools into accountability in some manner, as they compete for children and funding. The reduction of enrollees will hit their budgets hard, and they will be forced into improving their offerings to convince parents to keep their children in their schools.
What Stossel misses is why voucher programs have become a burgeoning movement, along with home schooling and the demand for charter schools. It springs from the loss of power from parents and the local communities to the federal government over the last four decades. The shift of control over curricula, standards, and mandates from local school boards to a vast federal bureaucracy — abetted by the NEA — has provoked this reaction. Parents want as much influence over the education of their children as possible, and federal control gives them no influence or say over how their children are taught. Power has shifted into the hands of the lobbyists, like the NEA, who represent teachers and administrators first, and children secondarily if at all, as I noted two years ago.
Vouchers simply provide parents with the power always envisioned by the public school system. It simply replaces the school board with a capitalist lever on quality of delivery. It requires more from the parents in terms of involvement, but at least in this system, their involvement actually gets rewarded. Right now, schools have so many mandates and top-down requirements that parents have little say any more — and when they do attempt to make changes, get treated with dismissive attitudes from the “experts” who assume they know the children better than the parents.
The NEA and the Department of Education drove parents to voucher programs. Utah will likely be the first to pass the program, but in ten years, expect to see it spreading like wildfire. One way or another, parents will take back control over the education of their children, and dinosaurs like the NEA will either adapt or die.
UPDATE: Speaking of which — how about yoga as a requirement for public schools?

Getting It Backwards On Education

Our son and daughter-in-law both attend universities in the area, and they have worked hard for their academic success. Needless to say, both sets of parents think they’re the smartest and most hard-working pair in the state, and of course we’re correct. One of the joys of having them in college is the conversations we have regarding the various aspects of their experiences on campus — including the politics of instruction.
This morning, I got an e-mail from my daughter-in-law, who wanted to challenge something she heard in her education class this week:

I am reading a book by Alfie Kohn [The Schools Our Children Deserve] and ran across some enlightening things I thought I should share with you. He begins to talk about how right wingers oppose standardized tests because they are federal and national and we would prefer them to be locally run. Then, a note, it goes on to explain why these views are motivated by things other than learning.
“Interestingly, the Christian Right has opposed not only national standards and testing but also some dreadful state tests . . . One national leader of the Christian Right regards standardized tests as evidence of government mind control. Those of us who arrive at our oppostition from a very different point of departure may be tempted to make common cause with this constituency. Such an alliance will not last long, however, given that these same people are vociferous supporters of a back-to-basics agenda for classroom instruction. (“To those whose world is bounded and defined by religous faith,” writes one conservative, “it would be sacreligous to oblige their children to become critical thinkers and independent questioners of authority” [Manno, 1995, p. 723].) Moreover, the alternative to federal (or even state) mandates is a kind of control at the local level that aften continues to exclude the active participation of teachers and students. (page 243)”

I thought this was intriguing enough to share with you, and since she wanted my response to take with her, I’ll share that as well (with personal references redacted):

Most conservatives I know don’t mind objective-measurement tests at all. They just object to federal intrusion into what should be a function controlled by parents at the local level. I think the author may be smoking something when he claims that the Christian Right has a problem with children being critical thinkers. He may not realize it, but most of the critical thinkers of the last 1000 years have been supported by the Christian churches, including most of the scientists and a large percentage of the philosophers. I know many Christians, and I’ve never heard it said that they want their children to have no critical thinking. In fact, what we see is a university system that is much more dogmatic than any church — and the campus speech codes and political proselytizing that you see confirm that.
Let me ask you this. Where would you feel more comfortable — being conservative on a school campus, or more libertarian/liberal at church? … Now, who are the freethinkers and who are the dogmatists?
Watch out when someone says “A national Christian leader”. That could mean anyone, including the Rev. Gene Scott, a nutcase out of Orange County who’s hilariously entertaining but represents no one. That’s a common dodge used to smear a lot of normal people (and that’s true in almost any political context — conservatives do it too). Who’s the leader he’s quoting? Who does he represent? If the reference is that non-specific, it’s bullshit, if you’ll pardon my language.
I’m curious about this assertion — “Moreover, the alternative to federal (or even state) mandates is a kind of control at the local level that aften continues to exclude the active participation of teachers and students.” How does federal control *help* the participation of local students and teachers? It’s completely backwards. The farther away control lies, the less effect individuals have on the system. Local control of education allows students and teachers to have a far greater impact on the quality and delivery of education at the specific schools. Federal control means the only people who have influence on the system are lobbyists for the NEA and perhaps the textbook publishers.

I added this afterwards:

None of the conservatives in California objected to the state’s standardized test for children — it was the liberals who had it thrown out for being ethnically biased [in the 1980s]. The replacement test, using essay questions and unclear standards of review, got tossed when its authors refused to show the test to parents before administering it to their children. … Conservatives wanted the standardized, *objective* test that had been used for decades, and administered by the state.

When Dinesh D’Souza talks about anti-religious bias in higher education, this is what he means.
UPDATE: NRA should have been NEA; thanks to commenter MarkD for the correction.

So Much For Diversity

George Will takes a look at the requirements for today’s students of social work — and discovers a political commissariat worthy of the Soviet Union. Universities have required pledges of loyalty to liberal political thought as a requisite for success in their social-work programs, failing students who object to being told what to think (via CapQ reader Sandeep Dath):

In 1997, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) adopted a surreptitious political agenda in the form of a new code of ethics, enjoining social workers to advocate for social justice “from local to global levels.” A widely used textbook — “Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skill” — declares that promoting “social and economic justice” is especially imperative as a response to “the conservative trends of the past three decades.” Clearly, in the social work profession’s catechism, whatever social and economic justice are, they are the opposite of conservatism.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accreditor of social work education programs, encourages — not that encouragement is required — the ideological permeation of the curricula, including mandatory student advocacy. The CSWE says students must demonstrate an ability to “understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.”
At Arizona State University, social work students must “demonstrate compliance with the NASW Code of Ethics.” Berkeley requires compliance as proof of “suitability for the profession.” Students at the University of Central Florida “must comply” with the NASW code. At the University of Houston, students must sign a pledge of adherence. At the University of Michigan, failure to comply with the code may be deemed “academic misconduct.”
Schools’ mission statements, student manuals and course descriptions are clotted with the vocabulary of “progressive” cant — “diversity,” “inclusion,” “classism,” “ethnocentrism,” “racism,” “sexism,” “heterosexism,” “ageism,” “white privilege,” “ableism,” “contextualizes subjects,” “cultural imperialism,” “social identities and positionalities,” “biopsychosocial” problems, “a just share of society’s resources,” and on and on. What goes on under the cover of this miasma of jargon? Just what the American Association of University Professors warned against in its 1915 “Declaration of Principles” — teachers “indoctrinating” students.

In one sense, many will not find this a large hurdle to clear. While nothing about conservatism objects to social work, many of the employment opportunities come from government agencies or government funding. Traditionally, conservatives have tried to keep funding limited for these bureaucracies, which has generated a great deal of enmity among the scholars of these professions.
However, they should keep their lobbying efforts focused on their lawmakers and not their students. This goes beyond the normal in-class diatribes that many college professors use to boost their political agenda. They are now requiring pledges, signed contracts, and other explicit agreement from their students with those agendas, without which they cannot pass their classes. They also assign liberal political action projects to the students as required class projects, threatening failure if they do not comply.
Will descibes two cases from the study. In one, Missouri State required students to sign a letter to the state legislature advocating gay adoptions. When she objected, the university took administrative action against her for violating professional standards, and refused to allow her parents to attend her hearing. Only after the family sued the university did the school drop the charges and pay her financial restitution. In another, a student left the program when the professor made clear that she could not expect to pass unless the student supported abortion.
One has to wonder not at the arrogance behind these indoctrination efforts, but at the panic that drives them. The academics apparently understand that they have a losing argument, and so have stopped allowing debate on these issues. Instead, they abuse their positions of trust and authority to become a thought police, demanding unthinking loyalty to diktats rather than allowing for intellectual diversity.
It’s interesting to see how totalitarianism develops, and from which sources.

Don’t Tell Hillary, But Privatization Works In Education, Too

Remember Hillary Clinton’s declaration that privatization never works? She may want to look at a new study in the Journal of Public Economics, which analyzed the effect of a school voucher system in Milwaukee. Not only did privatization improve the education of childred redirected from the public school system, it also forced the public schools to improve to remain competitive:

As a voucher program in Milwaukee has expanded, taking money and pupils out of public schools, the schools have responded by ramping up their own performance, a forthcoming study in the Journal of Public Economics argues.
The paper offers one of the most positive conclusions yet drawn in the heated debate over the effects of the 17-year-old Milwaukee program, which in 2007 sent more than 17,000 low-income Milwaukee students to private schools via publicly funded scholarships. It is the nation’s largest publicly funded voucher experiment, having grown from seven participating private schools in 1990 to 121 in 2007.
At issue is whether the program has appreciably helped the students who are given places in private schools, as well whether it has hurt the students who stay in public schools.

How did they make those adjustments? One of the voucher program’s critics says that people should be skeptical, because the school districts changed superintendents and curriculum in order to achieve their gains. Well, it looked like it worked! Perhaps that’s what the public schools needed, and it appears that the competition from the private schools forced the school districts to figure out the reasons for poor performance.
The voucher program did not start off as successfully as it has been recently. Two changes created most of the success, according to the study’s author, economist Rajashri Chakrabarti. The second replaced the money for public schools that was lost when a student used the vouchers. The first and primary improvement came when Milwaukee allowed parents to choose parochial schools, greatly expanding the number of choices and creating a more competitive environment.
It appears that privatization works in two directions when dealing with government bureaucracies. First, private enterprise and competition give consumers a wider choice and force suppliers to become more responsive. Second, when public bureaucracies see their funding threatened, they reorganize to meet the threat and become more efficient themselves. The marketplace forces reforms that would not take place without the clarifying effect of competition.
Someone might want to tip Hillary to the news that privatization works.

Churchill Hits The Road

Ward Churchill, who made headlines when he called the victims of 9/11 “little Eichmanns” who deserved their deaths, has been fired by the University of Colorado tonight. The action comes from a lengthy review of his past representations of his experience and his background rather than the political stances he took, but Churchill promises to sue for wrongful termination:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to terminate controversial professor Ward Churchill on Tuesday evening.
The Board of Regents passed a motion to accept the recommendation from CU President Hank Brown to fire Churchill from his position in the Ethnic Studies department. …
“This case was an example not of mistakes, but an effort to falsify history and fabricate history and in the final analysis, this individual did not express regret or apologize,” said Brown. “This is a faculty that has an outstanding reputation and this move today protects that reputation.”
“At the end of the day we had to look at what these three committees had presented to us and what 25 tenured faculty had said and that was really important to all the board members,” said Hayes.

Quite frankly, I find this all a bore. Churchill inflated his resume and claimed a Native American heritage that turned out to be adopted. I don’t see those as particularly heinous violations in Academia these days. I find speech codes much more offensive than a literary phony with tenure at one campus.
However, I don’t feel particularly sorry for Churchill, either. He has misrepresented himself and sought to inflate his public profile on the backs of dead victims of terrorism. His firing has little to do with this, and so it has little to do with issues of academic freedom. The only connection comes from his own efforts to draw attention to his hateful diatribes, which launched a thousand research projects into his background. Churchill is a ridiculous and petty figure.
His termination will probably allow him another 15 minutes of inexplicable fame. I’m not sure the trade is worth it.
UPDATE and BUMP, 7-25 8:14 am CT: I wasn’t being terribly clear when I wrote this post. I don’t disagree with UC’s decision to fire Churchill. It’s just that I hardly see this as a national crusade. Ward Churchill is not the only professor to exaggerate his CV or make anti-American statements. Hang around long enough in Academia and you’ll probably find plenty of both. For that matter, you’ll find the same in the private sector, too.
Churchill is just one man at a public university, and the attention he gets is all out of proportion to the influence he wields. The national campaign to get him fired has given him more credibility than ever, and his termination will give him a patina of martyrdom, too. Was all of the effort worth it?

The Follow-Up Survey

When I live-blogged the progress of the First Mate’s kidney transplant, we had a strange and interesting coincidence. One of the friends supporting the donor’s family turned out to be the mother of a graduate student at Stony Brook University who had recently requested a link to a survey. Neither of us realized it until we started talking about our sons in college, and when she told me her son’s name, I recognized it and looked up the e-mail.
After I told that story and linked to it, many CQ readers graciously took the survey. Now they have a follow-up survey, and I hope you take the time to take it as well. Chris writes:

Immigration Attitudes Survey
Increasingly, Americans are turning to the web for news about politics. This is a survey about online news coverage of the immigration issue. We are interested in your thoughts on this important political controversy. If you decide to participate in our survey, you will start off by answering a few questions about yourself and your political attitudes. Then you will watch a short news clip of an immigration story. After the clip, we will ask you some questions about your position on immigration policy. In total, the survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is completely anonymous and you can skip any questions you do not wish to answer.
Click here to take the survey.

Stony Brook has asked me to disable comments on this thread so that each participant does not encounter any bias from comments made by others. Let’s help Chris get plenty of feedback. Thanks in advance, and I hope you enjoy it.

Maybe They Should Protest Their Education

Dallas-area high school seniors took to the picket lines today, protesting a decision that will keep them from participating in graduation ceremonies for failing a standardized test. Trimble Tech High School seniors who did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam will have to wait for July to retake the test, and in the meantime cannot graduate:

Students who had been planning to walk across the stage at graduation ceremonies this weekend were instead walking a picket line Thursday morning.
The Trimble Tech High School seniors marched in front of Fort Worth Independent School District headquarters to protest Wednesday’s decision by trustees to bar students who failed the TAKS test from commencement exercises. …
Crystal Martinez complained that while she finished at the top of her class with a 3.5 grade point average, she is now blocked from graduation by failing the TAKS test.
“We know we’re not going to get our diplomas, but we just want to walk across the stage,” Martinez said. “That’s all we ask for right now.”
Classmate Chloe Walker agreed. “I believe that I have at least the right to walk the stage with all my friends,” she said. “I made it this far, and I have all my credits I need. I deserve to get my certificate of completion.”

I’d have some sympathy for this point, if I hadn’t seen this picture of the protest:
If these high-school seniors on the picket line can’t tell the difference between “are” and “our”, then perhaps they’re not ready to graduate at all. These students have inadvertently made a much more profound statement about the nature of education at Trimble Tech, and underscored the need for standardized testing before graduation. (via Best of the Web)

Another Great Argument For School Vouchers

CQ reader Mr. Michael, a Seattle resident, noticed that the city’s school district has expanded its curriculum to include a particular seminar for the first time. Knute Berger reports at Crosscut Seattle that the district will send students to a “White Privilege” conference at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs next week, first noted by our old friend Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics. What would a conference on “white privilege” teach those Seattle students fortunate enough to attend? Let’s see:

The annual White Privilege Conference (WPC) serves as a yearly opportunity to examine and explore difficult issues related to white privilege, white supremacy and oppression. WPC provides a forum for critical discussions about diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, religion and other systems of privilege/oppression. WPC is recognized as a challenging, empowering and educational experience. The workshops, keynotes and institutes not only inform participants, but engage and challenge them, while providing practical tips and strategies for combating inequality.

I’m not ignorant of this nation’s history and its impact on society today. Culturally and in general, whites have held a privileged position in the US for almost all of its history; that is undeniable. White culture enslaved Africans for generations and oppressed them for a century after the Civil War freed them. White culture also conquered the native peoples of the continent and oppressed them for generations afterwards. Those dynamics deserve serious study and the ill effects require rational efforts to reverse.
This, however, hardly looks to fit the bill. First, take a look at the laundry list of the topics. I understand the inclusion of diversity and racism, which fits the topic of white privilege. But what about religion? Does a public school system that probably doesn’t allow Christmas celebrations or Easter decorations now want to start teaching about the oppression of religious groups on Americans? Is sexual orientation an issue only among whites? This isn’t a workshop about the specific effects of white privilege in American history and current events; it’s a conference on political correctness.
It also appears to have serious competence issues. For an educational program given by a university for the eighth year in a row, the material is poorly edited:

Q. Is this about proving how bad white folks are?
A. Our attempts to dismantle dominance and oppression must follow a path other than that of either vilifying or obliterating Whiteness… Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of ‘Whiteness’ and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equality and social change. Our goal is neither to defy or denigrate Whiteness, but to difuse [sic] its destructive power.
To teach my white students and my own children that they are ‘not White’ is to do them a disservice. To teach them that there a [sic] different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions fo [sic] justice and social healing, is to provide them a positive direction for growth and to grant them the dignity of their own being.
Gary Howard
We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools

Gary Howard apparently can’t teach spelling and proofreading, and neither can the University of Colorado. Perhaps spending more time on English would produce students better able to challenge white privilege in American society. Besides, how can one “difuse” the destructive power of Whiteness but not denigrate it? Does one normally oppose something that isn’t subject to vilification or obliteration?
And while I agree that white privilege exists, racism and all the other ills described and decried in this program do not spring from the color of one’s skin, but the nature of the heart and soul. Other cultures in other nations have problems with racism, sexism, religious oppression, and the entire panoply of human afflictions. We see this playing out across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa today. Darfur has managed to become a killing field of racism and hatred without the assistance of white people to make it so. Focusing on the pale seems a bit beyond the pale for those who want to truly learn about racism, sexism, sexual orientation, and diversity.
As Mr. Michael says, this seems like a great argument for school vouchers. Seattle parents may want to closely monitor the curricula offered by their school district even outside of the White Privilege Conference next week.

Mob Rule At Columbia

When Democracy for America invited me to participate in a panel debate about the war in Iraq on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 at Macalester College, I wondered whether the staunchly liberal setting would result in some sort of donnybrook due to my defense of the war. I needn’t have worried; Macalester proved itself polite, classy, and welcoming, if predictably unenthusiastic about my point of view. No one chased me from the dais, and no one interrupted our debate.
Unfortunately, Columbia University didn’t demonstrate the same class and etiquette when Jim Gilchrist tried to speak about his Minutemen organization last night. Eliana Johnson reports in the New York Sun that a mob of students assaulted Gilchrist, shut down the event, and then cheered their version of free speech:

Students stormed the stage at Columbia University’s Roone auditorium yesterday, knocking over chairs and tables and attacking Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen, a group that patrols the border between America and Mexico.
Mr. Gilchrist and Marvin Stewart, another member of his group, were in the process of giving a speech at the invitation of the Columbia College Republicans. They were escorted off the stage unharmed and exited the auditorium by a back door.
Having wreaked havoc onstage, the students unrolled a banner that read, in both Arabic and English, “No one is ever illegal.” As security guards closed the curtains and began escorting people from the auditorium, the students jumped from the stage, pumping their fists, chanting victoriously, “Si se pudo, si se pudo,” Spanish for “Yes we could!”

“Yes they could” — what? Prove that a violent mob could silence someone who wants nothing more than to speak their mind on politics? That they proved all too well, but then again, that point has hardly ever been in contention. The Nazis proved it in the period between the two World Wars, and the same spirit is alive at Columbia University.
And what was the purpose behind the use of Arabic in their banner? The Chicano Caucus, the university’s African-American student association, and the International Socialists who all sponsored this event apparently want to argue that we should allow all Arabs into the country unfettered. They’re making this argument just a few minutes from Ground Zero, which tells us quite a bit about the level of critical thinking taught at Columbia these days. They’re the first group I know to argue on behalf of migrant Arabs. Perhaps they’ve got their own version of Aztlan.
It takes very little courage to form a mob, and even less brains, as we see from this example. Gilchrist may be all wet, or he may be a genius, but the students at Columbia didn’t bother to find out either. The mobsters apparently have no ability to respond to Gilchrist with reasoned arguments and contrary data, and so they did what any bully does — use violence to silence their intellectual superiors.
The epitome of Columbia’s intellectual nadir came from Ryan Fukumori, a junior at the university who told Johnson that Gilchrist and others who spoke at the event “had no right to be able to speak here.” Apparently Columbia doesn’t teach students about the Constitution, especially the First Amendment, any more. The College Republicans have a right to invite anyone they want to speak at their events, and the speakers have the right to speak without being physically attacked. Bear in mind that this university houses the most prestigious school of journalism in the nation, which should indicate a particular interest in supporting free speech.
Macalester College should congratulate itself on its tolerance of opposing points of view. Columbia University should send letters home to every parent apologizing for its failure to teach their students critical thinking, civics, and any sense of class.