by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
According to the News & Observer, a group of college professors have planned a get-together on March 28 to discuss how much they dislike conservatives. I do not know why this is news. Professors talk about how much they loathe conservatives every day. I suppose the difference is that this particular group therapy session includes professors from different institutions of higher learning.
The discussion will be held in the comfortable confines of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. That’s hilarious. Apparently, they want to criticize those in Raleigh but not meet too close to Raleigh. Mingling with us mere mortals is dangerous business.
Anyway, what are their concerns? According to their press release,
Laws already passed and in the works will impede economic recovery, restrict democracy, stifle critical thought and undercut a century of reforms to promote opportunity, widely shared prosperity, and the common good. This radical u-turn in policy demands public scrutiny and discussion, which the forum aims to encourage.
I should point out that forced sterilization (eugenics) was sold to the public on the basis that it served the common good to sterilize mentally ill and indigent folks. I know. That is a sore subject for progressives and their intellectual allies. But, hey, their press release mentions a “century of reforms” and North Carolina’s eugenics program occurred in the last century. Regardless, forced sterilization will not be on their agenda.
That is not to say eugenics is irrelevant. You see, professors often lament that our world (or state) does not correspond to their vision of our world (or state). When the distance between their vision and reality widens, you get “public scrutiny and discussion” on March 28 at Duke University. When the distance between their vision and reality narrows, you get social engineering.
When the distance between their vision and reality widens, you also get op-eds like the one recently published in the News & Observer. Two professors, Samuel Odom or UNC-Chapel Hill and Kenneth Dodge of Duke University, complain that “NC lawmakers should enlist expert aid about how to invest in early education.” They offer two recommendations,
First, they [Governor McCrory and state legislators] should include the early childhood experts who created and now lead our nationally recognized programs because they know the science of child development. Second, they should include third-party scientific researchers, like those at our universities, because they can provide objective evidence about the effectiveness and economic returns on investment in early care and education for poor children.
The truth is that neither Odom nor Dodge know if our elected officials consult with experts in child development or early childhood education. They assume that “experts” have not been included because the state’s preschool programs do not reflect the prekindergarten Shangri-La envisioned by their experts.
I am not an expert in the field, but I can save the state a great deal of time and money spent on consulting fees by summarizing what every one of their experts will say – SPEND A LOT MORE TAXPAYER MONEY ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. You’re welcome.
Overall, I appreciate the fact that college professors are taking an interest in policy and politics. I welcome their contribution to a discussion and debate that has existed long before their arrival.