by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef of the Martin Center focuses on one scholar’s assessment of the “breakdown” of American higher education.
Professor John Ellis has served on college faculties since 1963 and is now an emeritus professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz. He has witnessed enormous changes in higher education over his years and he finds those changes to be deplorable.
In his new book The Breakdown of Higher Education, Ellis explains how our system was subverted, why it matters, and what it will take to put it back on the proper track.
Americans, Ellis observes, used to have almost unlimited confidence in our colleges and universities. They were expected to provide advanced learning for serious students and a forum for the discussion of important national issues, which they did. Higher education simply wasn’t controversial; few books were written about it and hardly anyone offered harsh criticism.
Today, however, many people are deeply distressed at the state of higher education, mainly because it has become terribly politicized. Ellis writes that “advocacy has now replaced analysis as the central concern of the campuses” and says that “this rot has been growing for decades and appears to have reached a point of no repair.” He provides plenty of evidence to back up his charge that radical politics has become the dominant force at many schools.