The subtitle for this blog is: Academia. Crime. Politics.
It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the slogan is redundant. I agree.
But there are still a few people in academia who stand up to the gaseous tyrants who make up ever-larger portions of the tenured class. Bob Paquette of Hamilton College is one of them. Dr. Paquette is a much-respected historian of slavery, with decades of accolades for his work. But when he spoke out in defense of teaching Western Civilization and against the unhinged radicalization of academic programs at his college, he found himself on the receiving end of the usual, intellectually incoherent backlash.
How unhinged and intellectually incoherent? The details are the stuff of vaudevillian humor:
So a Weather Underground terrorist, Ward Churchill, and a Raelian sex cult cloning scientist walk into a faculty lounge in upstate New York . . .
Paquette blogs at the website See Thru Edu, which is an essential resource on higher education for conservatives. He takes the Tea Party movement seriously (like few in academia). I want to point readers to two recent blog posts he wrote, one about the treatment of Sarah Palin, and this essay, which I encourage you to read and share with anyone who has or will have children attending college:
[T]he Tea Party … have elicited a torrent of denunciation on elite college campuses and have spurred restless nights for the barons of both the Republican and Democratic parties. [They] have an independent, populist, and anti-elitist bent. No matter who is manning the presidential helm, they have concluded, the country they love remains tossing and turning in waters ever more dangerous to them and to their traditional values, which they once thought were mainstream. They see themselves being squeezed in a vise in which the turning device, attached to the upper clamp, manufactures the energy for the lower clamp to screw from below. In their search for a moral social order, they feel increasingly betrayed by many of the country’s most important institutions: government, churches, unions, and schools.
… [Tea Partiers] represent legions far more diverse than your typical university faculty. They wear blue collars as well as white collars, populate northern and southern climes, and collectively groan under growing burdens of taxes and statist regulation.
The essay offers advice to parents of college-bound students, with more to come in future work:
Take this advice. The brand of elite colleges is overrated and has more to do with the screening process of able admissions officers than the value-added during four years of matriculation. Many of the chaired professors at elite universities have little intensive contact with undergraduates. Few bear the onerous tasks of intensively grading exams and papers. Outstanding teachers exist at every major institution of higher education in the country. The trick is locating them. For that you need an insider. A professor whom you can trust to direct your son or daughter to the best, that is the most knowledgeable, demanding, and nurturing professors in their fields, those willing to spend time with serious students, is worth his weight in Ivy-League tuition dollars.
With its focus on higher education, See Thru Edu does not often discuss Common Core. But Mary Grabar of Dissident Prof has posted there, and she recently introduced me an amazing new book: Terrence Moore’s The Story-Killers. I’m only one chapter into it, but I can’t recommend it highly enough, as both a great read about the importance of literature instruction and a devastating, substantive critique of contemporary education reforms.
Moore is a teacher (and former Marine) — if you’re going to read one book about Common Core, this is it.
And if you’re in Atlanta area, Terrence Moore is coming to Gainesville on January 13 to speak with Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project and State Senator William Ligon in an event sponsored by the Georgia Concerned Women for America.
The fight has only just begun.