American education has strayed drastically from its original goals, ambitions, and purpose. At least that is according to a panel of Education experts at the Western Conservative Summit. Bill Armstrong, the President of Colorado Christian University, highlighted several of the problems in modern Higher Education, and his concerns were echoed by many of the others on the panel.
“Text books cost too much,” Armstrong said, “that’s a problem. But that’s not a crises.” According to Armstrong, the most serious crises in higher education is that most American colleges and universities are “so far to the left, you can’t see the middle of the road with a telescope.” The problem is deeper than purely political, he added. Many universities, as Armstrong sees it, are actively subverting the moral values that helped to make America Great.
“Prosperity without virtue is decadence,” according to another panelist, Peter Wood with the National Association of Scholars. Wood was making the point that our nation can only be saved if conservatives “take a hold of our Higher Education.” In his remarks, which mirrored Armstrong’s, he felt that the greatest void in the American education system is the installation of virtues.
University of Colorado regent James Geddes, who was also on the panel, expanded on some of Armstrong’s comments, but he also touched on a ground breaking move CU recently took. Recently CU took an in depth look at the intellectual diversity on their campus, and staff. Astoundingly all nine CU regents voted for the intellectual diversity survey to be conducted. Geddes added that in education, “we should show the same protections for intellectual diversity” that we show for gender, sex, and sexual preference.
In addition to discussions regarding morality in higher education, and diversity on college campuses, the topic of government control became a main point of conversation. Brittany Corona, from the Heritage Foundation, weighed in on the government control inherent in American education. “[In education] we are no longer a self-government. We are a serfdom,” according to Corona. She outlined the growth of federal control in education, of all levels, in great detail. Beginning with education reform in 1965, congress has been steadily increasing its grasp on local education decision, according to Corona.
As a result, Corona believes a “Washington Leviathan” is usurping the original intent of educating the public. In her remarks, she made note that our Founders believed an educated public was necessary to preserving our republic. “But it was more than an education for a vocation,” she concluded. According to Corona, American values, civil processes, and honest debate are all missing in today’s educational climate.
Chris Leland, with Colorado Christian University, may have summarized the panel’s over-all concerns when he began talking about School choice. “We want choice. We want to put the power of education back where it belongs: In the Home. But that means we must get parents involved from the very beginning.”
Consensus on the panel seemed to revolve around concerns of moral decay, and growing government control. But Leland seemed to really drive the consensus view home, when he spoke about the evolution of education in the past several decades. When Leland wrapped up his opening comments, he said “New and improved” is rarely either of those. I think we should go back to “tried and true.”