Another Law School Shrinks
The University of Iowa law school has an entering class of just 94 students, down from 150 last year. Inside Higher Ed has the story on Iowa, as well as other law schools that are shrinking.
It has taken the customer base for law schools a few years to figure out that the J.D. is an overpriced credential that for many will prove to be of scant value. Now that the market is reacting, however, I think we should expect to see some law schools closing, while many others search desperately for ways to cut costs. The professors most at risk are those who teach the kinds of peripheral, ideologically slanted courses that Charles Rounds calls
“bad sociology, not law.”
Black Republican Professor Speaks Out
Marvin Scott, a sociology professor at Butler University and a two-time candidate for Congress from Indiana, has lived a double life — quiet about his political beliefs on campus and outspoken about them elsewhere.
“I live a chameleon life. I live one here and I live one for the outside world,” Scott said. “That’s the only way you can survive here.”
But now, Scott is speaking out about his career as a black conservative entrenched behind the lines of liberal academia at Butler.
“I have never run up against such a militant liberal group in all the days of my life,” Scott told student reporter Ryan Lovelace in our feature story today at The College Fix.
Will Anything Ever Be Done About College Athletics?
Scandals involving big-time college athletics pop up with the frequency of mushrooms after heavy rains, and almost as predictably, people who are outraged convene panels to discuss solutions. Sometimes those efforts lead to some tweaking of rules, which are then evaded by schools intent on winning no matter what. In today’s Pope Center piece, Jesse Saffron takes a look at the latest repetition in this cycle and concludes that it will probably have just as much impact as earlier ones.
Boot Camp for Future Entrepreneurs
It’s a perennial question: is college about the fundamentals of Western civilization or is it about getting a job? Isaac Morehouse has come up with an alternative to college that addresses both needs. As Anders Edwardsson and Jay Schalin write, Praxis is a “boot camp” that places young people in paid positions with entrepreneurial firms, but also requires them to spend about 40 hours a month studying subjects such as philosophy, history, and culture.
Morehouse, who was most recently a fundraiser for the Institute for Humane Studies, says that after 10 months, the student/apprentices will be ready for steady employment, having the endorsement of a respected employer and a portfolio of real-world projects. And they’ll have some book learning, too.
Prager U: A Black South African, Israel, and Apartheid
Is Israel is an apartheid state?
In the newest Prager University course, hear how South African Parliament member Kenneth Meshoe, a brave gentlemen who lived through apartheid South Africa and travels regularly to Israel, answers that accusation.
Trayvon Martin Case Proved It’s ‘Legal to Hunt’ Children, Univ. Official Says
A University of Maryland official sent an email to students, telling them that the Trayvon Martin case proved that it is “it is legal to hunt down and kill American children.”
He also said that gun owners and gun manufacturers are “challenging the very fabric of the nation.” The purpose of the email was to encourage students to attend a lecture by former NAACP chairman Julian Bond.
Mr. Bond has a long history of inflammatory and vicious statements. For instance, Bond once said of the Republican party: “Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side-by-side.”
The University of Maryland official behind the e-mail, William Dorlan, did not comment specifically on whether race-baiting impressionable young students was also “challenging the very fabric of the nation.”
Roger Clegg Reviews ‘For Discrimination’ by Randall Kennedy
Back on September 7, Roger Clegg wrote this review of Professor Randall Kennedy’s new book For Discrimination. Kennedy tries to make the case that, despite some costs and inefficiencies (such as determining whether someone is “really” in a preferred group or not), we must maintain “affirmative action” because it brings about “racial justice.”
Roger (to whom Kennedy briefly adverts, but mistakenly calling him “Gregg” after first getting his name right) knocks many holes in the book and I plan to write a full review myself before long. I will only note here what I think is the book’s crucial failing, namely Kennedy’s insistence that “affirmative action” is good because it creates a “vanguard” for black advancement. He never tries to prove that assertion and I think that is because it is impossible to defend. Yes, racial preferences redound to the benefit for a few people (like Kennedy himself, who would probably have had to attend a less prestigious law school than Harvard) but that does not mean “uplift” for the black community in general. In fact, those like Kennedy happily settle into a high-income life with the left/progressive elite whose social and economic policies are so detrimental to the prospects for uplift of the poor of all races.
Sociology Can be Saved
In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, Penn State-Harrisburg sociology professor J. Scott Lewis writes about the state of his discipline, which has fallen almost entirely under the sway of blinkered leftist shibboleths. Debate is foreclosed and good students are scared off. Lewis is optimistic, however, that sociology can be saved by returning to Max Weber’s original ideas.
Re: Inclusion is Exclusion
Hamilton’s Director for Diversity and Inclusion has decided that holding separate but equal sessions to discuss race wasn’t a good idea after all, as we read in the memo below (emphasis added by Tom Lindsay):
Dear Hamilton Community Members:
Over the weekend, I have had a range of reactions to my invitation to the Real Talk Dialogue series — an idea that emerged from discussions with students. The goal was to facilitate dialogue across and within racial groups through a three-part series of incremental conversations. My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise. I think it is a good idea now to pause and reflect on how we structure conversations about race. As a result, I invite all interested members of the community to come to a re-envisioned dialogue this Thursday at 4:15 p.m. to address two central questions: What does a meaningful dialogue about race look like? How can we best structure such a dialogue? Together we can figure out how to proceed in ways that make clear the inclusiveness of our community and our collective commitment to equity, understanding and mutual respect.
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
This illustrates the trouble that people who hold these kinds of jobs face — trying to look busy and important. What is to be gained at all by a “conversation about race” much less “reflecting” on how to “structure” that conversation? What sort of reception would a student or faculty member receive if he or she were to attend the meeting to “re-envision” the dialogue and say, “Not one of us regards anyone else in the Hamilton community who happens to come from a different race, religion, or culture as any less of a human being on that account. Instead of babbling away about race, we ought to stop obsessing about it.”
How Obamacare is Harming Students
How is Obamacare harming students? Just ask Mary Porter of East Central Community College:
When Mary Porter enrolled last year at East Central Community College in Rolla, Mo., she landed a job at a fast-food restaurant and worked full-time for minimum wage to pay the bills. Things were looking up for the budding college student, who had grown up a ward of the state’s foster care system.
But earlier this year, Porter’s hours were cut. Her employer cited the Affordable Care Act as the reason, she told The College Fix.
“Then they told us that they couldn’t afford to pay us health insurance,” said Porter, 22, who is no longer allowed to work more than 25 hours a week.
“Everybody was upset, and they still are upset. All the students I know are talking about it. I am working so hard in my job, but I have to go to the government, although I don’t want to. I got on food stamps because I couldn’t afford to eat.”
A “hiring” sign still hangs in front of the sandwich shop where Porter works, though she begs every week for extra hours.
This is what happens when you make laws with perverse incentives.
In a feature story today for The College Fix, entitled, “Full Time to Food Stamps: Obamacare Hits the College Student,” Sarah Greek interviews Mary Porter and other students from around the country to discover how Obamacare is wrecking lives.
If you don’t already think this law is idiotic, you will after you finish reading this article.
Catch the full story here.
British Rhetoric About Higher Ed Sounds the Same as Ours
Here is a piece in the Guardian telling entering college students that they are “the latest batch of guinea pigs in an experiment that has already largely failed.”
In Britain, higher ed has been pushed by both parties as a great national tonic. Just as in the U.S., the thinking was that the country could lift itself up by the bootstraps simply by processing more young people through college, that more grads would catalyze more creation of good jobs. That did not happen. The writer informs us that “British universities are producing more graduates than ever before. There’s just one snag: there aren’t the jobs for them to take up. And that’s not only down to the economic slump, terrible though that is, but because of a political gamble by governments of right and left — one which will leave large numbers of young people indebted and underemployed.”
We also find that British officials use the same bogus argument about the supposed earnings boost that college graduates get that we hear in the U.S. The author shows how misleading it is. Many British graduates “bob from crap position to crap position: from selling tickets, to being an HR assistant to redundancy. And on and on for years.”
What About Legacy Preferences?
On Minding the Campus, Russell Nieli (author of an excellent book on the damage that racial preferences have done, Wounds That Will Not Heal) has an essay on the related subject of legacy preferences. He addresses the arguments of those who claim that such preferences are unconstitutional, as well as the counter-arguments of those who think that it’s a good thing to prefer students who have family ties to the school.
I think the legal arguments are pure bunk. I also think that the case in favor of legacy preferences is just as feeble as the case for racial preferences. Colleges ought to drop both.
Loads of Money, Badly Spent
In today’s Pope Center piece, Jay Schalin scrutinizes the educational philanthropy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Sadly, most of the money that the foundation has strewn around so liberally supports the status quo and makes it harder for market-centered changes to get traction.
This reminds me of another prodigious educational waste of accumulated wealth — the Annenberg Foundation’s gift of money (half a billion as I recall, back in the 90s) to improve public education. The money was soon gone and no improvement was detectable.
Inclusion Is Exclusion: The New Segregation
Hamilton College’s “dean for diversity and inclusion” has decided to hold an event limited to “people of color” only. (Although there will be a separate but equal event for whites in the spring semester):
Real Talk: A Dialogue about Internalized Racism
Thursday, September 26
4:15 p.m. | Dwight Lounge
Conversations about race in the U.S. mostly focus on race relations between white communities & people of color. However, people of color are also prone to internalize racist messages about their own community, and & other races/ethnicities/people of color. This conversation allows people of color to come together & examine how we may have accepted racist attitudes towards other racial groups & our own racial/ethnic communities, & move towards healing & mutual respect.
In order to create a safe space, this program is open to people of color only.
A similar conversation for white students, faculty & staff is planned for the spring semester, followed by a third conversation that will be open to all campus.
(Hat tip: Bob Paquette)
IBR: Good or Bad?
Is it a wonderful development that some students who borrow loads of money will have their debt reduced through Income Based Repayment? Or is it a foolish special-interest boondoggle that sticks taxpayers with the cost for a lot of college expenses?
The New York Times takes the former position, but Edububble disagrees.
Scholar Says Republicans ‘Want Kids to Die’
Ben Smith, a student at the Unviersity of North Carolina, reports that scholars told students that Republicans are eager to harm black women and also “want kids to die.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
Makes one wonder — do Republicans also want to drown puppies and knock down old ladies as they cross the street? Hmmm. To find out, read the full story at The College Fix.
Governing Boards Shouldn’t Be Potted Plants
Last Friday, Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder gave an address to the UNC Board of Governors. The Pope Center publishes his talk here.
Vedder’s big point is that college and university governing boards should not merely be rubber stamps for the administration. Left on their own, administrators are apt to make terrible blunders. Oversight from boards is essential, but most presidents don’t want any and they try to minimize the opportunity for serious discussion of their plans. Often, they keep board members in the dark and then demand quick votes to approve whatever they’ve decided on. After the meeting, a few members of the UNC board stayed around to discuss that problem in detail.
More Evidence That We’ve Oversold Higher Ed
We read in this Bloomberg piece about young women who have their college degrees, but have low-skill, low-pay jobs.
A Hijacking in the Lone Star State
What has been hijacked is the core curriculum at the University of Texas, as “Audax” informs us in this SeeThruEdu post.
Caution: Do Not Inflate Past 4.0
In today’s Clarion Call, George Leef tackles an amazing claim about grade inflation: that it’s a good thing. Joshua Silverstein, a professor of law at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, says in his new book entitled A Case for Grade Inflation in Legal Education that, among other reasons, bad grades are psychologically damaging for students. Indeed, they could lose confidence and, filled with shame and doubt, drop out of law school.
And dropping out, according to George, would truly be a good thing “if a law student goes to pieces over a C.”