Hi 81 / Lo 73
|Volume 70, Issue 122,
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Tony Hernandez Jim Parsons
Pushing ideologies holds education back
A recent study by political science journal The Forum has found what many have been saying about academia for years: Liberals and males advance faster than the rest of their peers.
The study of 183 four-year institutions revealed that ideology may have a big impact on promotions for professors. Though the liberal bent of most of the academic world is fairly obvious to most, it will come as news to many that political leanings would have an affect on professors already working for an institution.
If the study is valid, the information is somewhat disheartening. College should be about students being exposed to a variety of ideas, not universities pushing particular agendas.
At the same time, the findings shouldn't be a call for professors to water down their lectures to avoid association with a certain camp. Instructors should always strive to maintain a degree of objectivity, but no one wins when certain topics aren't discussed in classrooms for the sake of avoiding controversy.
Private institutions should be allowed to do whatever they wish, in respect to which end of the spectrum they choose to lean toward. Public schools are in a different boat, though -- in an ideal situation, professors from varying political ideologies would be able to present lessons freely. Students would be able to make up their own minds about issues. The learning environment shouldn't be politically sterile, but it certainly shouldn't be suffocating to those who find themselves in disagreement with a professor.
This happy medium is harder to reach, though, when colleges and universities seem to be advancing certain demographics.
And that's not even considering the fact that the study found women climb the ladder more slowly than men -- you'd be hard pressed to find someone outside of Bob Jones University who sees that as acceptable.
Universities are only doing students a disservice by not exposing them to as many interpretations of the world as possible.
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