American higher education hasn’t changed much over the last century, and the main reason why it hasn’t is that federal subsidies (student aid) could only be used at accredited institutions. The accreditors had a model, and you weren’t allowed much leeway to depart from it. So, we have been locked in on an old framework for a long time.

But there has been some change, of course.  That change has been the infiltration of leftist concepts into higher education. At many schools, it’s hard for students to escape the ever-present DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) barrage.

In today’s Martin Center article, David Dufendach argues that higher education needs an entrepreneurial approach that will restore merit and increase value.

Referring to Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 short story “Harrison Bergeron,” he writes, “Halfway to 2081, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies (especially the equity component) are resulting in a gradual ‘handicapping’ of degrees, programs, and courses. Examples include dilution of the mathematics curriculum, and adulteration of history and literature. This trend is accompanied by increasing indoctrination—what to think, not how to think—and the curtailment of speech on campus.”

While Dufendach doesn’t rule out the revitalization of existing colleges and universities, he thinks that more progress will be made in creating new ones that will offer students more educational value for less money. He shows how that can be accomplished.

I particularly like his idea of arming students against the DEI nonsense they’re apt to encounter in society: “However, any modern college would be remiss if it ignored DEI entirely. It would be like sending an uninformed hiker into a forest filled with carnivores. This could be remedied with a short, non-credit course supplying students with important defensive DEI concepts. Currently, many students likely graduate from mainstream colleges and universities with little, if any, defense against the ‘language’ of DEI—only further underscoring the need for alternative institutions.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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