(Tribune Syndicate, Sept. 23) Raise your hand if you believe government has too little involvement in our lives. Put down your hands, members of the Obama administration.
During a previous political uprising in the 1980s, academic institutions managed to fend off conservative attacks on some of the subjects taught on their campuses — from “peace studies” to kinky sexual practices, to bad history — with cries of “academic freedom.” Where are those cries now that the federal government is on the verge of regulating the content of subject matter on college campuses and changing the way these institutions are accredited?
According to a Centennial Institute policy brief, a proposed new rule by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) “would place private colleges and universities under the ultimate control of state governments, rather than independent accrediting agencies. The notice of proposed rulemaking was posted in the Federal Register on June 18 for a public comment period ending Aug. 2. It could take effect as soon as November.”
Former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, now president of Colorado Christian University, wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan on July 30. In it, he warned of an “all-out politicization of American higher education, endangering academic freedom, due process and First Amendment rights.”
The American Council on Education, in a letter of its own, warned of “heavy compliance burdens” and “regulations that appear to overrule state law.”
Armstrong says the attempt by the government to regulate curricula “is part of an unprecedented power grab in which government has already moved to dominate such industries as automobiles, energy, health care, banking, home loans and student loans — and now seeks dominance over the colleges and universities themselves.”
Two Colorado Republican congressmen, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, have also sent letters to DOE in which they noted the proposed ruling would undermine “long-established independent accrediting agencies” (Lamborn) and potentially involve the government “in setting course requirements, quality measures, faculty qualifications and various mandates about how and what to teach.” (Coffman).
Imagine the outcry if someone identified with the tea party movement had made similar demands of a Republican administration concerning what is taught at Harvard or UC Berkeley. There would be protests in the quads and a lawsuit by the ACLU.
Conservatives have long believed that most universities are part of an “iron triangle” (along with big media and government) that keeps liberals and secularists in power. Controlling what is taught in schools, rather than encouraging true academic freedom, has been a successful strategy for shaping — some would say twisting — young minds and directing them in accordance with what statists and “living constitution” advocates believe.
If imposing outside agendas — from textbook content to course selection — is supposedly bad when conservatives do it (mostly in reaction to the liberal assault on any ideas that conflict with theirs), why is it not equally onerous when liberals push for state control and the dictation of course content at private colleges and universities?
It’s going to take more than one college president and two congressmen writing a letter to the secretary of education about this latest attempted government power grab. More members of Congress, other college presidents and newspaper editorialists must express opposition to this attack on the right of educators to teach what they believe to be essential courses that will result in a properly educated student who is fit for the real world.
This should not be confused with the liberal-secularist view of the world, which is what those behind this regulation apparently want to impose on students and their parents who, in many cases, are footing the bill and too often contributing to the destruction of young minds.
(Centennial Fellow) CCU's second annual Washington Week took 13 students and three faculty to Washington, DC, from May 23rd to 29th. It was an intensive “immersion” experience into the workings of our government, public policy think tanks, and current issues facing our nation.
The group spent several hours each day hearing directly from some our nation’s most important experts in policy areas spanning domestic concerns (budgeting, healthcare, the environment) as well as global issues (missile defense, terrorism, genocide). Students from diverse backgrounds and interests all gained remarkable insight into current issues facing our nation. They represented majors ranging from History, Communications, and Business to Music and Youth Ministry.
Ten highlights of this year’s trip included...
1. American Enterprise Institute: Students were briefed by by AEI’s president, Arthur Brooks, as well as Henry Olsen, Charles Murray, Steve Hayward and Kevin Hasset.
2. The Heritage Foundation: Joseph Postell spoke on the American Founding and Tim Goeglein (who lobbies on behalf of Focus on the Family) discussed current culture issues and the role Christians need to play in shaping our society.
3. Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Students learned about the current threat of radical Islamic global terror and the proper U.S. response.
4. Fox News Studio: Students were given a tour led by Mary Katherine Ham, writer for the Weekly Standard and frequent contributor to Fox News.
5. Free Congress Foundation: Honorable Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia, discussed the current economic and budget crisis, as well as the current political landscape.
6. Institute of World Politics: Students listened to lectures by three members from the graduate faculty on the theoretical underpinnings of international relations, the problem of genocide, and the current state of foreign affairs.
7. Center for Competitive Politics: Sean Parnell discussed current campaign finance laws and the work of the Center to challenge finance laws that impinge on 1st Amendment protections.
8. American Council of Trustees and Alumni: Michael Poliakoff spoke on the work ACTA does to promote better quality of higher education and improved general education standards. He also illustrated cases of schools that infringe on students’ rights.
9. Greek Embassy: Students listened to a policy briefing by Mr. Panayotis Stournaras, First Counselor for Political Affairs, and Mrs. Ioanna Annita Mavromichalis, Minister-Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs. Both discussed the current economic crisis in Greece, as well as steps being taken to improve the Greek economy through increased trade and foreign investment.
10.United States Capitol: Students were given a tour of the Capitol led by the Honorable Hank Brown, who took students onto the Senate floor and into several areas restricted to general public. Senator Brown shared considerable knowledge of the workings of Congress,as well as Capitol history, architecture and art. The students also enjoyed breakfast in the Senate dining room and lunch in the House dining room.
(CCU Student) This past semester, I had the privilege of interning at the Colorado House of Representatives under Representative Steven King from Grand Junction Colorado. I hope someday to serve in public office myself, and when the opportunity arrived it seemed like a great chance for me to learn more about what is happening politically at the state level. I learned a lot about the political process when interning at the state capitol about procedure and how hectic even a local politicians schedule could be. The greatest asset for me was not necessarily learning about the ins and outs of the political system however. As a follower of Christ I had a difficult time reconciling how seemingly self-serving a profession in politics is with my faith. Yet having spent time at the State Capitol, I have personally witnessed how much of an impact a solid Christian politician can potentially have on his/her constituency. A great benefit of working in the state house during the session is you have an acute awareness of what your states major issues are and how our elected Representatives intend to fix these problems. I had the chance to help my representative research issues ranging from motorcycles, land rights, pay day loans, medical marijuana, and much more. The internship really showed me how interested this job could be with this wide variety of issues. The job was rewarding in the way that I genuinely felt I was learning about something new every day. I also came to respect the time our honest legislatures put in for us. Representative Steven King for example woke up at 4AM to get to the statehouse at 8:30AM from his home in Grand Junction. He sacrifices time with his family to stay from Monday morning until Friday afternoon in Grand Junction while occasionally running back and forth from his hometown just for a dinner, caucus, or family event. Seeing someone like Representative King helped me get past my greatest apprehension in getting involved in the political arena. Ever since I was twelve years old, I have felt an internal longing to serve in public office. At this point in my life I feel like that’s the path God wants me to be walking right now. Despite this, I have always had an apprehension to how self serving the profession seems. You cannot go an extended period of time without hearing about some politician using their power in a corrupt fashion to obtain personal gains. It can also seem like the political system is a giant deadlock where a Christian would be able to serve God best elsewhere. These politicians however have the power to get things moving in our system. I have seen some representative respond to constituents who are desperate because the government keeps stone walling them on their healthcare, licensing, education, ect. and these people who have nowhere else to go end up calling their elected representatives. These representatives can help things get moving with just a simple phone call or can have their office research the best methods of obtaining say an expensive surgery when they cannot afford health insurance make to much to be put on Medicaid. Even if a public servant gets nothing done at the legislative level, they can do some much for their community in their position if they put their minds to it. My desire to serve in public office has actually been enhanced because of what our Representatives have the potential to do behind closed doors. Like many professions, it is what you make of it. You can easily use the position for personal gain and privilege if that is the desire of your heart. However, if you truly have the desire to expand the kingdom of God from this position of power, the possibilities can be limitless. The bottom line is that I learned that you can do so much for God’s kingdom from these positions. However power corrupts and that is why politicians need to have a God centered approach when engaging in political activities otherwise it will become self serving. It satisfying to see that serving in public office can be one of the greatest ways to serve a community by using their office to flat our serve people’s needs. I can honestly now enter this profession with a clear conscience which is something that I could not have necessarily said before this internship. That to me is invaluable.
CCU students gathered in the school library after a week of final exams- turned off the lights, played music, and carried forward in dance to celebrate the best year in CCU history. I sat and watched, but by no means was I disturbed; it created a lasting memory for me as I leave this wonderful place… I’m sad to leave, but glad that only graduation and a two-month estate planning project stand between me and a year-long law internship in China. I’m moving on.
On August 1, 2010, Neil Armstrong’s historic words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” will be summoned as I step on Asian soil for the first time in my life: Beijing, the capital and center of the twenty-first century’s prevailing conversation. This will be a small step on my journey, yet, a continued giant leap for Chinese citizens. Deng Xiaoping opened China’s borders in the late 1970’s, and Mao’s communism morphed into what most call “market socialism.” Despite thirty years of economic growth, China is a communist nation, the longest standing in the world, and the government’s authoritative, if not totalitarian, control still limits freedom and possible growth for China’s 1.4 billion people. Stability, economic growth, and maintaining control are the Party’s major concerns, in which rule of law and freedom (concerns America has historically focused on) are essentially left out.
In a conversation with one of Beijing’s leading attorneys, he told me, “In China, it’s not ‘Do you know the law,’ it’s ‘Do you know the judge?’” Corruption, along with a multitude of other problems – lack of ethics, for example – is at the forefront of blockades preventing a healthy rule of law in China. Will the absence of enforcement and the lack of freedom lead to China’s demise, or can market socialism prevail?
Coming next fall, “CHEEK FROM CHINA” will be a series of articles focused on a study concerning the rule of law in China, or lack thereof, the Chinese judicial system, or corruption therein, and their American counterparts. Though moving on, I’ll be staying on board with the key principles and core values CCU has taught me to live by…faith, family, and freedom.
Lawson Cheek, Tennessee's contribution to the CCU Class of 2010, is the outgoing Student Chief Justice and a member of the Centennial Institute Program Board.
"Best Practices in Teaching Western Civilization" was the topic for an all-day workshop hosted at Colorado Christian University by the Centennial Institute on April 16. Over 30 educators from across the state, representing five colleges and three high schools, took part. President Bill Armstrong summoned the gathering to build on CCU's new curriculum requirement for every freshman to take Western Civ as a cornerstone for subsequent courses in whatever major the student eventually chooses. In keynoting the day, Armstrong challenged participants to work against the "intellectual Alzheimer's" that threatens our heritage of liberty. Someone remarked that the militant multicultural assault on traditional curriculum in the 1980s, led by Jesse Jackson at Stanford and other prestige universities, needs to have its slogan turned around so as to demand, "Ho ho, hey hey, Western Civ has got to stay."
Program materials for the April 16 workshop are here... western civ colloquium 041610.doc (55.50 kb) Some photos are below.
From afar: Centennial's John Andrews welcomes Mohd Rozi Ismail (L), a Malaysian graduate student at Colorado State University, and Florian Hild (R), an American citizen born in Germany who is now headmaster of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins
"Making It Work in the 21st Century" was the topic for Prof. Timothy Fuller, a political scientist from Colorado College.
Prof. Vincent McGuire of the Center for Western Civilization at CU-Boulder led a discussion on collaboration at the college level and with high schools.
Dr. Philip Mitchell of the CCU History Department chaired a student focus group on experiences in last fall's Western Civ course.
(CCU Faculty) The Colorado Christian University chapter of the College Republicans sponsored a trip to the Colorado State Capitol for the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party. Twelve students attended the rally on the Capitol steps, joining thousands of other protesters.
Many news reports suggest various demographic biases (too white, too rich, too educated, too…). Tut as best we could see, the gathered group at the state capitol was a cross section of Colorado, with great ethnic, age and socio-economic diversity.
Another charge lodged against the Tea Parties has been that of radical extremism. While there were indeed a few signs that were off-color and a few outlandish claims made; these were a very small minority. And none were any worse than what was being promoted by the small gathering of “anti-Tea Party" protesters who were staged across the street. One sign actually called for the lynching of Sarah Palin! We will wait patiently for the media to cover that!
Most of the crowd was simply demanding greater protection of liberty; and less government, less entitlement spending, and less taxation.
Following the rally, the group headed into the Capitol building where they were led onto the Senate floor by State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), who shared some of the history as well as the day to day workings of the Colorado Senate.
The group then toured State House where the House Sgt of Arms escorted the group onto the floor while discussing the history of the House Chamber. Finally, the group visited the office of State Representative Amy Stephens (R-Colorado Springs) who shared some of her experiences.
The day marked an excellent experience of both citizen education and activism.
('76 Editor) Student conservative leaders from three colleges told a Centennial Institute forum last night that they sense growing receptivity among their generation for a right-trending political mood of self-reliance and limited government.
Issue Monday, our regular monthly series resuming in 2010, packed a CCU Business School classroom with an audience ranging from teens to senior citizens. Also present were two congressional candidates and a recent CCU graduate who is running for State House.
I served as moderator for the 90-minute session (linked here as a podcast) where Sean Doherty, Jimmy Sengenberger, and Megan Brophy related their political experiences, quizzed each other about lessons learned, and took questions from the audience.
Brophy, the daughter of Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy, said her College Republicans chapter wants to tap CCU's potential to "become the Hillsdale of the West." Sengenberger, a regular contributor on this blog, told how his weekly Internet radio show helps him warn fellow students that "politics affects everything you hope to do or be." Doherty, who started a constitutional-themed newspaper on his campus -- which administrators tagged "extremist" -- drew on his marketing studies to recommend a "listen to the customer" approach for political outreach.
Click for the "Seng Center" online talk show hosted by Jimmy Sengenberger. Click for the Constitutional Reporter paper edited by Sean Doherty.
From right: Sean Doherty of Metropolitan State College, Jimmy Sengenberger of Regis College, Megan Brophy of Colorado Christian University.
('76 Editor) What's the practical meaning of Centennial Institute's goals about teaching citizenship, renewing the spirit of 1776, advocating for faith, family, and freedom? The Centennial Program Board, a new group that held its second monthly meeting on Jan. 19, helps me tackle those questions.
The board is made up of CCU students from all four classes -- including Lawson Cheek and Natasha Starceski ('10), Joni Mitchell ('11), JT Weinroth ('12), and Drew Goorabian ('13) -- plus faculty members Bill Saxby, Chuck King, and Greg Schaller along with retired pastor Jerry Nelson and businessman Kevin Miller and Wil Armstrong. Several of the latter are also Centennial Institute Fellows.
Got a suggestion for the Centennial Program Board in their advisory role with me, Director John Andrews? Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Christian University is committed to developing the next generation of leaders. One of the Strategic Objectives of the school is "To impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization."
As a means of furthering this objective, from January 4-8, eight students participated in a winter session class devoted to learning more about state and local government. A major portion of the class was dedicated to guest speakers, some of whom came to the Lakewood campus. The class also spent two days at the Colorado State Capitol. The guest speakers afforded the students a unique opportunity to hear from and question leading state officials. Listed below are the speakers who addressed the class, as well as the topics discussed.
Attorney General John SuthersTopic: Role of the Attorney General, current issues facing the state including the potential suit against the federal healthcare initiative
State Representative Glenn VaadTopic: Discussion on theories of representation, discussion on legislation being proposed in the current session concerning privatization of state maximum security prisons
State Senator Mike KoppTopic: Legislative procedures. Mock legislative session: how senate committees work on bills
State Supreme Court Justice Allison EidTopic: Role of the court, court administration, judicial philosophy, rules of Colorado courts: appointment and retention elections
State Representative Amy StephensTopic: Running for office, work of state legislators, role of faith in legislative duties
Colorado Appellate Court Judge Dennis GrahamTopic: History of Colorado’s judiciary, discussion of court procedures
John Andrews, Centennial Institute Director; former President of the Colorado SenateTopic: running for office, importance of serving, significance of state government, importance of states reasserting their Constitutional authority.
Mark Barrington: Candidate for Colorado State Representative, 26th DistrictTopic: Process of running for state office
Matt Arnold: Director of Clear the Bench ColoradoTopic: problem of judicial activism, process of removing state judges through retention elections,
Jeff Crank: Director of Americans for Prosperity: Colorado & talk radio hostTopic: becoming active in the political process & the work of Americans for Prosperity
(Another in our series by CCU students on big lessons of college) We learn more by seeking the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from finding the answer itself. There are many people in our society, young adults especially, that are seeking their true purpose; living off the energy of grand ambitions and the thirsty desire to succeed. I know I am one of many individuals traveling somewhat blindly through life, wondering where my destination lies. It was not until inspired by this blog topic, ‘what are the most important things I have learned in college’, did I put the brakes on life and stop to think, what have I learned from my experiences as a college student? I have always been traveling on a rocky road at full speed ahead, but through this short journey through college, I have found the rearview mirror to be an indispensable means to feel both progress from the miles passed, and enthusiasm for the mileage still ahead.
(1) The first thing I have learned from my experience(s) from college life is the irrefutable value of a well-rounded education. Though tuition for the university system is at an all-time high, no such value could ever be placed on how important it is for me personally to receive not only a quality education, but one that is also furnished with the teachings and challenges that affect my everyday life. College (CCU) has provided me with so much more than facts, theories, and strategies; and those teachings that I have obtained range from and beyond the realms of my spirituality, my day-to-day attitude and behavior, and my unwavering commitment to follow the will of God and my biggest dreams.
(2) In addition to the value of education, I have also learned the true value and necessity for quality relationships. In life there is hardly anything as difficult as going it alone; having someone to lean on can make even the bitterest of life’s blows tolerable. Positive and uplifting relationships have inspired my growth both as a student and Christian during my undergraduate studies and will continue to do so as I weave and wander through life.
(3) Thirdly, I have realized the advantages of being more open-minded and open-hearted toward different opinions, ideas, and people. The vast arenas of learning and various relationships are immeasurable and should never be hindered by differences or judgment. I think being open-minded has often been viewed as being indecisive. But even the appearance of being relatively close-minded shuts down discussion, limits the number of concepts that are generated and considered and almost always results in a less than optimal decisions or results. As counter-cultural as being more open-minded may be perceived, this is one area where I will choose to swim against the current every time.
(4) And last but not least of my biggest college revelations, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! The sovereign God that has blessed me with the gift of life has also endowed me with the gift of love; a passionate love of learning and unconditional love for Him who so created us to view our world with wonder. May all the praise and glory be to Him!