Debra J. Saunders

At the same time, grades have risen. "Students often report that all they must do to get a good grade is regurgitate what their activist professors believe," quoth the report.

Though she had not read the report, Brown didn't dispute that today's students have trouble writing a "deep, thoughtful essay" about a passage from Thomas Hobbes or Milton Friedman.

"If Shakespeare were required, I would be thrilled," Brown stressed. But: "Don't pick on liberals for this." Universities have cut back on core requirements because students, parents and alumni revolt.

That may be, but in ideologically lopsided academia, there aren't enough voices to stand up for educating students about, say, the U.S. Constitution. Besides -- this is me, not the report -- in pushing protests, faculty members essentially have assured students that they already know enough to occupy Sacramento. Only a third of them can read and explain complex material, but students already know better than lawmakers and voters how best to pay for education. Why study?

The proof is in academia's acceptance of this imbalance. The old, discredited excuse about why women didn't work in management that I heard when I was young -- because they didn't want to -- now somehow works for the left when it comes to conservatives and academia.

As for UC administrators, "A Crisis of Competence" concludes, "far from performing their role as the university's quality control mechanism, (they) now routinely function as the enablers, protectors, and even apologists for the politicized university and its degraded scholarly and educational standards."

Like those in so many other ailing institutions, they don't know how to change to save themselves.

Debra J. Saunders

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