If you are like me, you are wondering what is happening on college campuses. The easy answer is education. But, that is no longer the sole purpose of the university experience.
Parents recognize that today, activism has become not only a force for change on college campuses, but actually, a subject to be graded. Instead of higher education being held in reverence, as a privilege, it is promoted as a consumer-based product, where students are viewed as clients. As a result, universities and colleges compete for tuition and student loans, offering them unlimited dollars. Thus, college tuition keeps rising to draw from this vast ocean of funding.
Grades no longer mirror student academic achievement, and recent standardized testing indicates that there is a direct correlation between higher grades and lower test results (source: Mansharamani, 2016; Toppo, 2017; Nichols, 2017). Universities, including the Ivy Leagues, are competing for higher GPA scores so that they can better advertise and sell their universities to the student consumer. Professors are buying into this approach because their course reviews and student evaluations directly reflect this escalation in their students’ grades (source: Mansharamani, 2016).
Schools such as Berkley, Columbia, Evergreen, Oberlin, the University of Missouri, and Yale, have all surrendered to student demands – often, under the boot of student intolerance and anarchy. Most recently, for example, the Berkley riots – promoted as student protests, caused untold damage to private property; while asking the public and parents to not only accept this unacceptable violence, but also… to pay for it.
Furthermore, several of these universities are giving grading concessions, considering the “protest experience” as an important educational value, equal to the acquisition of knowledge through coursework. One university, is even paying a per-hour allowance for students who organize activism (source: The Editorial Board, 2017). Yet, in the 1960s, a different approach was taken, and when students protested at the University of Chicago, the President expelled them. As a result, protests ended there on the spot.
Here, you can see, why it is so important to recognize that there is a cost for advertising higher education as an experience, rather than a rite of passage – leading to an immature and dominate student culture, with permission to disrespect professors, while looking towards the internet for their education. This has the effect of infantilizing students, creating an education experience, rather than curricula focused on preparing adolescents for the real world.
In fact, a common millennial platitude “I can’t adult today” keenly echoes this modern immaturity. Moreover, before the millennial experiment, universities and colleges gave students the opportunity to test themselves against their environment, to stretch and learn – moving beyond the concrete thinking of childhood, into the abstract thinking of adulthood.
When I went to college back in the 1960s, the most common grade was a C. When I returned to college in the 1980s, the most common grade was a B. But today, believe it or not, the most common grade is an A. And, the idea of a four-year college education has now extended out to five years, six years, and even seven years – often leading to a student body with an inflated sense of self-knowledge and a low threshold for constructive criticism.
Childhood has been extended, maturity delayed, and critical thinking, which was the job of a university education, has now been relegated to a curriculum of feelings. Challenging the ideas of others, higher-order thinking, dialogue, and debate – all the imperatives of a college education, are now expelled, for the illusion of inflated grades. And, instead of being a bastion of higher learning, preparing your child for life and work, universities are now promoting the warm and fuzzy environment of home.
Needless to say, many colleges and universities are no longer equipping your children for the future. Instead, your children are caught in the web of their feelings, unable to cope with stress, or the conflicting opinions of others.
When your child receives constant praise from you or their professors, grades they do not earn, and power they do not deserve, they feel guilty. That guilt leads them to project out onto others, their feelings of doubt, fear, self-loathing, and anger. In a sense, standards and rules no longer apply, and thus, your college-age children can lose themselves in the miasma of ignorance, born from rejecting scholarly facts and governing truths.
When my children were little, I used to tell them that they had to respect – not love – me. Because if they respected me, they would respect themselves, and the outer world.
To know the rules is essential to growing up. A culture that loses its story, its rules, its structure, and its myth, cannot survive. A good reality check is a book, “The Lord of the Flies,” written by William Golding, where children are marooned on an island without adult supervision, and soon, revert to savages.
There is a thin veneer of civilization coating the hides of man, and unless we teach our children to individuate and become adults, we will slip back into the shadow of our own dark age.
Board, T. E. (2017, July 14). An A for Activism on Campus. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from The Wall Street Journal
Mansharamani, V. (2016, June 22). Column: How an epidemic of grade inflation made A’s average. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from PBS News Hour.
Nichols, T. (2017, January 15). The Chronicle Reveiw: Our Graduates Are Rubes. Retrieved from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Toppo, G. (2017, July 17). A’s are on the rise in report cards, but SAT scores struggle. Retrieved from USA Today