OPINION: Reversing the trend of liberal indoctrination
Editor's note: The views in this opinion editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Campus Reform or of its parent organization, the Leadership Institute.
As we inch toward the start of another semester, there is much uncertainty that exists on college campuses throughout the country. However, one thing will remain a constant, and it is how ill-equipped incoming students are with their lack of knowledge in American history, government, and politics. In the name of cultural awareness and diversity, American history and government has been deemphasized. The focus tends to be on America’s failures with no context given to students and without simultaneously pointing out America’s accomplishments and the tremendous good our nation has bestowed upon human civilization.
Liberal indoctrination has been going on for decades, and when you factor this in with the failures of the education system as a whole, it is little wonder why we are witnessing a hatred of America today. The results are clear. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, only 23 percent of graduating seniors are proficient in Government and Civics, and 11 percent are proficient in American History. This is the “largest ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do.” These numbers have remained stagnant for quite some time, and they are a national embarrassment, but it’s something I have witnessed first-hand each and every semester.
I have been teaching for nearly 15 years. I begin each semester with the same two assignments. On the first day, students are given a citizenship quiz. This quiz tests basic knowledge about government, such as identifying the Speaker of the House, naming the authors of the Federalist Papers, specifying the branch of government that has the power to declare war, and knowing what the first 10 Amendments are also known as. Out of approximately 210 students, each semester, only 12-18 students are able to pass the exam. A more troubling trend is that in recent semesters, out of 6 classes, there are usually 2-3 classes where a single student cannot pass the exam.
If you find this lack of knowledge disconcerting, it gets worse. For the second assignment, students are required to read the U.S. Constitution; however, I provide them the Russian Constitution instead. Within the document, I swap out the "Russian Federation" with the "United States" and "Duma" with "Congress." They are required to read the constitution and write a short essay giving their opinion of the document. The responses would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad. The reality is the essay should be one sentence, “This is not the U.S. Constitution.” Instead, I get long-winded essays about how visionary and smart the founding fathers were. In fact, only 6-8 students per semester are able to identify that they are not reading the U.S. Constitution.
If college students cannot pass a basic citizenship exam and are completely unfamiliar with our Constitution, it is clear they know little about our government and our history. It is also clear they lack the knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of our institutions. Because of this lack of knowledge, many students lack any real appreciation for what the United States stands for and what we have accomplished in our short history. It is this lack of knowledge that allows college students to be easily manipulated and indoctrinated into the liberal socialist mentalities that plague college campuses throughout the country.
If you want to understand why we are witnessing so many young Americans destroying statues and monuments with impunity and believing the United States is a racist nation, look no further than the bias against American values they are routinely presented with throughout their academic career. As a result of this, the youth call for the destruction of American principles and institutions.
Conservatives like myself are rare in academia. We do exist, but we are outnumbered on college campuses. In some cases, the ratios are as disparate as 11:1, depending on the college or university. As a Conservative professor, it is not my job to impose my beliefs or to indoctrinate the students. Rather, it is my duty to get my students to open their minds, think critically, and challenge their preconceived biases. If a student brings up a liberal argument, I will challenge them from a conservative point-of-view and likewise, if a student takes a conservative argument, I will challenge them from a liberal point-of-view.
Regardless of the ideological makeup of my students, I consistently hear the same message that I am the first professor to actually offer perspectives from all sides which allows every student to think critically and independently. Students leave my classroom with an appreciation of the founding of this country, and the accomplishments we have made throughout our history irrespective of ideology. My students understand that they can stand against racism and discrimination, and still appreciate the United States. They can fight and protest for equality under the law, and still celebrate the greatness of America. Young Americans will open their minds if we allow them to, but only if they have educators encouraging and supporting their ability to think critically. Reversing the 50-60-year trend of liberal indoctrination is challenging, but it can be done.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @PASReport