As if we needed further proof of the collapse in value of a liberal education, a new surveys of course offerings at the top liberal arts colleges confirms academia’s headlong flight from the real world.
Peter Berkowitz gives the details in this shocking article.
Gathering and synthesizing pertinent data from publicly available sources including academic catalogues, institutional websites, and media accounts, a cogent new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, “Education or Reputation: A Look at America’s Top-Ranked Liberal Arts Colleges,” confirms the dire findings. The report focuses on the “Top 25” small residential liberal arts colleges as determined by U.S. News & World Report (several ties brought the total number of colleges counted in the Top 25 to 29).
Our top-ranked liberal arts colleges have eviscerated the core curriculum. Of the Top 25, ACTA reports, “only two require an economics course. Only three require a survey in U.S. history. Only five require a survey course in literature.” Amherst College, Grinnell College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, and Vassar College have open curricula with no requirements. Bates College, Bowdoin College, Haverford College, Oberlin College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College do not require undergraduates to study literature, American history, the principles of American politics, or economics.
Our top-ranked liberal arts colleges, while aggressively promoting multiculturism, have incongruously demoted language study. The majority of them do not require students to achieve even intermediate-level proficiency—the equivalent of three college semesters of study—in a foreign language.
At the same time, fees have continued to skyrocket — up 538% since 1985, which is more than double the increase in medical costs over the same period and almost five times as high as the percentage increase in the consumer price index. As well, more than half of these colleges saw increases in administrative costs growing at a faster rate than spending on instruction.
What’s to be done?
The report recommends that “liberal arts colleges should also be convinced of the need to reestablish a core curriculum that provides students with a common foundation including math, science, literature, principles of American politics, U.S. history, economics, religion, foreign languages, and world civilizations.”
Well, sure. But will it happen? Not as long as the suckers still show up to buy those worthless degrees.
You can read the whole article here.