Category: Failing Grades

Dr. William Bennett and David Wilezol’s new book, Is College Worth It? (Thomas Nelson, 2013), has a nice blurb about New Saint Andrews College on page 181. Bennett, former Secretary of Education (1985-1988), conservative commentator, radio program host (“Morning in America“), and author of a dozen books, mostly related to education, has this to say,

“For those who are more adventurous, New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, is a tiny Reformed evangelical school that has modeled its course offerings on the curriculum that Harvard employed in 1643. This includes incorporating the ancient approach to learning of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music). While new student enrollment is limited to fifty students each year, the academics are rigorous, and the small size of the college ensures that the faculty and staff of the college bond in uncommonly deep ways with the students, including spiritual ones. Additionally, NSA’s tuition is only $16,000 [correction: it’s actually cheaper!! $11,200 for this year] per year, about one-third the cost of the average private college.”

Here’s the publisher’s video promo:

And here are an interview with Bennett in the New York Times about the book and several reviews:

New York Times book review by Andrew Delbanco, author of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, and director of American Studies at Columbia University

Washington Times book review David DesRosiers, president of Revere Advisors


California lawmakers, who are the mirror image of our dysfunctional Congress at the state level,  are hoping to fix the financial and institutional meltdown of its bloated higher ed system by taking advantage of the new free online courses (MOOCs). In other words, the state university system is about to be shaken to its core because it is moving in a self-destructive, friction-producing direction. For higher education to survive, California must start moving in the same direction as private higher ed.

The moral of this story, about to be repeated nationally, is that government education (call it what it is) is fundamentally unsustainable, especially under the current behemoth residential campus and “research” university models. It’s been propped up for sometime now by the federal financial aid system, but with most states broke and federal funds exhausted, state-run, tax-funded higher education is in deep crisis. The “Big One” is coming to California higher ed sooner than later, and the foundations of the state system are so weak they won’t survive even the mildest quake.

The fault line is clear. The CA state system is headed south and draining the state budgets as it goes. Private colleges and universities (both non-profit and for-profit) understand there’s no free lunch and they have responded successfully to ever-changing market forces. The proposed solution being pushed by CA lawmakers is, at its root, an admission–even a confession–that their state-run, tax-funded system is a failure. They must now stop the friction, change direction and start moving in the same direction as the private sector. And that means stop being the socially and economically destructive force government education has become.

See the Chronicle’s report on the California legislative proposal:  California Shifts the Ground Under Higher Education.

In case you didn’t see this week’s Time magazine (yes, that old medium) or’s “cover” story, “Reinventing Higher Education,” you may want to check it out.

It contains little that’s new or news breaking, but it’s Time’s admission that our current higher education system is broken and must be reinvented. Sadly, it is a bit like reading about the collapse of the Soviet Empire and Time calling for the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall. Continue reading

This “interesting” article confuses functionalism with education, the arts necessary for freedom with the arts useful to the slave, and so misunderstands the history and purpose of the liberal arts. Its call for more “practical” arts explains in part why today’s secular university is increasingly irrelevant and shallow and confused and a major contributor to our cultural malaise.

PNAS | Mobile

A new report shows that withdrawal of articles from scientific journals due to fraud and other unethical conduct is up 10-fold since the 1970s. The pressure to publish or perish and to show impressive “results”to keep the (usually federal) research funding flowing is encouraging researchers to cook the books. Welcome to secular science without a foundation for ethics. See more at:

The liberal tilt of higher ed faculty exceeds 70 percent by most accounts. With federal encroachment at almost every level of higher ed-from student “aid” to accreditation-this is a condition that won’t be corrected by conservative academics or relinquished anytime soon by the liberal power mongers in either the academy or the Beltway. See this recent post in the chronicle.

Noted scholar Niall Ferguson discusses the the “limits of public monopoly” in education and why UK higher ed is in trouble. See:

Until men recover a sense of honor, loyalty, and duty, they won’t be able to lead well or with integrity. Our nanny state and growing culture of (government) dependency are the result of a lack of honor, loyalty, and duty to the King of Kings. The failure of parents (and teachers) to nurture their children (especially the boys) deeply in the paideia of the Lord is the quickest way to reduce men to whiners and victims.

David Brooks addresses some of these issues directly and indirectly in a fine piece in today’s New York Times:

“Some colleges are lowering the admissions requirements just so they can admit a decent number of men. Even so, men make up just over 40 percent of college students. Two million fewer men graduated from college over the past decade than women. The performance gap in graduate school is even higher.

“Some of the decline in male performance may be genetic. The information age rewards people who mature early, who are verbally and socially sophisticated, who can control their impulses. Girls may, on average, do better at these things. After all, boys are falling behind not just in the U.S., but in all 35 member-nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“But the big story here is cultural and moral. “

 For the rest of David Brooks’ article, see “Honor Code.”

HT:  Nick Lantinga

We learn as much (if not more) from our mistakes as from our successes. Some students need to fail to learn their lessons well. Many failed students have earned their failures well.

Some college students deserve failing grades (essay) | Inside Higher Ed.