“Conservatives are cracking open Atlas Shrugged and shouting about socialism, but they seem to have lost the appetite for thinking through the problem of community in an individualistic age—which is, of course, precisely the problem that make socialism so appealing in the first place.” . . . Ross Douthat on The Quest for Community.
A Christian student group trying to form a recognized student organization at University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) recently found out it was not religious. How did it find this out? UNCG officials told it so.
Freshman composition class at many colleges is propaganda time, with textbooks conferring early sainthood on President Obama and lavishing attention on writers of the far left--Howard Zinn, Christopher Hedges, Peter Singer and Barbara Ehrenreich, for instance--but rarely on moderates, let alone anyone right of center. Democrats do very well in these books, but Abraham Lincoln--when included--is generally the most recent Republican featured.
In a recent essay in The Atlantic, Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus lament that most students have to take out college loans. They write: “At colleges lacking rich endowments, budgeting is based on turning a generation of young people into debtors.”
While Hacker and Dreifus blame the universities for encouraging students to take on more debt to pay for lavish facilities and other non-educational amenities, others focus on student debt itself as perhaps the key barrier to college facing millions of students from families with low and modest incomes. Indeed, entire organizations have been founded on that very notion, such as the Project On Student Debt.
Analysts who belong to the debt-is-bad school of financial aid policy are correct in noting that student borrowing increased dramatically in the past decade, ballooning 128 percent to more than $96 billion, according to the College Board’s annual survey of financial aid trends. On the other hand, federal grants and institutional grants mitigated the rising student debt. From 2000 to 2010, federal financial aid shot up 136 percent to more than $146 billion; and institutional grants rose 69 percent to more than $33 billion.
While I respect Robert George as one of America's preeminent Catholic intellectuals, the gentleman nonetheless errs gravely in envisioning America as a "propositional nation."
It has been over a week since the University of Wisconsin at Madison was torn by the debate over affirmative action on September 13. The conflict was precipitated by the presentation of a study conducted by the Center for Equal Opportunity, which alleges reverse discrimination in UW admissions policies.
A lot has been written about what happened at the press conference announcing the event and the debate between CEO’s Roger Clegg and UW law professor Larry Church later that evening. Most publicly presented views have been supportive of the students who protested at these events, and have defended the UW’s admissions policies. But criticisms of how this conflict has been handled have percolated beneath the surface.
Last week, the University of Wisconsin paid almost $500,000 to the Alliance Defense Fund for violating the First Amendment rights of Badger Catholic, the Catholic student organization on campus. ADF has litigated a number of cases against the University of Wisconsin over the years challenging the unconstitutional abuses inflicted on students and student groups by its mandatory student fee system.
I do not want us to shut down economic drive to support false science, and on the other hand, I do not want to leave behind a scorched earth. …. Let's get the science right! A better debate and research is needed by honest and believable scientists who study climate professionally.
Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
By Russell K. Nieli
Is the earth in a global warming phase? If it is, how severe is this trend? Is the warming primarily a product of natural causes or do man-made factors play a dominant role? If man-made factors are important, is the main culprit the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from the burning of fossil fuels or are other factors more salient? What is the evidence for and against the anthropogenic and CO2 theories of global warming? If we really are in a period of sustained global warming, will this trend prove a net benefit or a net loss to human welfare? Who would benefit and who would be harmed by an increase in atmospheric CO2, the greater plant growth this facilitates, and a general increase in global temperatures? If the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to global warming, and if such warming harms many more people than it helps, is the radical curtailment of fossil-fuel dependence a politically and economically feasible response to the problem? Is it feasible not only in the developed world but in developing regions like India, China, Indonesia, and Brazil? If the radical curtailment of CO2 emissions cannot be obtained on a worldwide scale either for political or economic reasons, and if global warming proves to be the serious threat to human welfare that some contend, are there economically and scientifically feasible geo-engineering alternatives that could stop the warming or cool the planet down? What might some of these geo-engineering alternatives be and how could they be implemented?
By Charlotte Allen
Curbing for-profit colleges has been a goal of the Obama administration's department of education. The plan was to erect regulatory hurdles to a very profitable product: online courses. In pursuit of that plan, the department issued a regulation last October requiring institutions offering Internet classes to seek permission from every state in which they enroll so much as a single student. But the department failed to take one crucial fact into account: This is the 21st century, and Web-based courses aren’t just a dodge employed by educational hustlers to lure masses of gullible students into cheap, shoddy programs of the kind that used to be advertised on matchbooks.
From the Ivy League on down, hundreds of respectable non-profit colleges, public and private, offer online classes and even online certificates or degrees. It is the smaller and more budget-pinched of those institutions that are feeling the brunt of the education department's new rule: liberal-arts schools with limited administration personnel and cash-strapped state universities and community colleges. Some of those, citing the high costs of complying with 50 different sets of state licensing criteria plus stiff licensing fees in some states, already have plans to stop accepting online students living in the more expensive jurisdictions, even though the rule isn’t scheduled to be enforced until 2014.
Ah, the law of unintended consequences. Penalizing community colleges and small liberal-arts institutions probably wasn’t what Education Secretary Arne Duncan had in mind when his department issued the state-authorization rule. It was part of a package of regulations issued in the wake of a series of hearings on the for-profit higher-education sector that began soon after President Obama took office. “These new rules will help ensure that students are getting from schools what they pay for: solid preparation for a good job,” Duncan declared.