Opinion | Fake News Comes to Academia

The three academics call themselves “left-leaning liberals.” Yet they’re dismayed by what they describe as a “grievance studies” takeover of academia, especially its encroachment into the sciences… The trio say they’ve proved that higher ed’s fixation on identity politics enables “absurd and horrific” scholarship. Their submissions were outlandish—but no more so, they insist, than others written in earnest and published by these journals.

Gender, Place & Culture, for instance, published a 2017 paper that wasn’t a hoax analyzing the “feminist posthumanist politics” of what squirrels eat. This year Hypatia, a journal of feminist philosophy, published an analysis of a one-woman show featuring “the onstage cooking of hot chocolate and the presence of a dead rat.” The performance supposedly offers “a synthaesthetic portrait of poverty and its psychological fallout.”

Crash site and Tower of Voices. Well worth the side trip on the way back from a weekend gig. @flight93_nps

Flight 93 crash site and Tower of Voices. Well worth the side trip on the way back from a weekend gig. I had to explain to the girl why the 9/11/2001 newspaper in the exhibit didn’t mention the attacks (it had been printed overnight). She was especially moved by the recorded messages left by some of the passengers. I was moved by the display that showed the contours of the…

Standardized Test Scores Don’t Really Measure Learning

There are ways to raise a child’s test scores that have nothing to with helping that child learn. In the past 10 years I have seen far more students — even the most capable, most brilliant students — paralyzed with fear about grades. In high school, you got good grades if you followed instructions and did exactly what the teacher told you to do. At the college level, I don’t…

The Decline of Humanities Enrollments and the Decline of Pre-Law

It’s a myth that humanities majors don’t care about post-graduation employment. What changed was the safety valve of subsequent law school enrollment.

Law school was long the default post-graduation plan for majors in qualitative fields. As long as you had the prospect of a lucrative legal career after college, you could safely major in English or poli sci. Those students didn’t ignore the vocational imperative; they just postponed it. And for a long time, that worked pretty well.

But the Great Recession, combined with AI and offshoring, did a number on law as a career option.

Headshot of U.S. President Donald J. Trump

How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again

This is an important time to teach people what journalists do and why it matters. “The media” is much larger than “journalists devoted to the objective coverage of the news.”  If you don’t like the slant, or the shallowness, or the opportunism of the media you run across, then check out several different sources, including reputable ones with slants that differ from yours. (If nowhere on the planet can you…