Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The GOP Must Compete in K-16 Education and Ideology by Akindele AKinyemi

Oftentimes I hear how conservatives complain about how liberals control K-16 education in our communities. The excuse I hear is how we cannot compete. That is a complete myth and here is why.

Most people who lean liberal have a fundamental belief that government should take care of the people. They instill this natural belief from the home to the school to the church. Does this put urban conservatives in a bind?

Absolutely not.

The purpose of free market education is to produce a new educational market in K-16 instruction. One of the major reasons why I push for additional quality charter schools in areas such as Detroit and Flint because we do have an obligation to change the current educational system. While charter schools have to follow the same state mandates as traditional public schools there is some flexibility in terms of designing the curriculum and educational leadership of the institution.

Education is both a civil right and silver right issue. Methodically, both political parties have acknowledged the fact that there is a greater need for charter schools in urban areas,however, the two differ on how charters should play a role in increasing academic achievement.

Democrats who are pro-choice (in the sense of charter schools) feel that there is a need for more options but those options should be limited so the traditional school district will not go bankrupt. Republicans who are pro-choice (in the sense of educational choice) feel that failing school districts such as Detroit should be dissolved and replaced with charter or educational management companies maintaining the institutions.

Neither approaches will work unless there are stakeholders at the table. Stakeholders include community groups, police, parents and get this, young educators who can relate to the students better than someone who has been in the system for 35 years.

But in terms of balancing out the equation when it comes to "liberals" running the schools and indoctrinating our children with foolishness it will take dedication from urban conservatives to get involved in the educational process to uplift our children from poverty.

Education must have a balance approach to solving the social ills in our community. I know for a fact at the university level the liberal way of educating our children has gotten way out of hand. I mean when students are paying for courses that foster social thought and not critical thought then we are breeding a new generation of liberal thought.

We do know that 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, according to March, 2005 Washington Post article I was recently researching. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

The biggest issue is how there are few conservatives in K-16. It's worse in higher education. Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent.

A bigger concern is the fact how a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. On college campuses across America most professors and instructors are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection "even if it raises prices or costs jobs" (88 percent). Furthermore, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

The most liberal faculties are those devoted to the humanities (81 percent) and social sciences (75 percent), according to the study. But liberals outnumbered conservatives even among engineering faculty (51 percent to 19 percent) and business faculty (49 percent to 39 percent).

The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative.

If conservatives just saw what happened across America with Barack Obama becoming President and we have just witnessed 1 out of 3 young people voting for Obama where MOST come from the colleges and universities we have a serious problem. The same way the GOP has ignored minorities for years now we have ignored the realm of academia. Now it is coming back to haunt us with the advent of the first Black President. A warning to my colleagues in the GOP. If we do not reach out to the youth, Blacks, poor people, Hispanics and other minorities this party will be OVER.

When I am talking about educational reform I am not just talking about policy. I am also talking about conducting an ideological war on these colleges and universities. So this is not just some literature drop you do on campuses or engage in a debate between College Democrats and Republicans. This is about actually getting into the community colleges, the universities and actually TEACHING the coursework that you see fit. So you cannot think about this short-term. It must be long term and it will not be easy.

Young America Foundation put out a list called the Dirty Dozen back in 2006. These are just a few examples on how the liberal left is controlling the minds of our young people.

  1. Occidental College’s The Phallus covers a broad study on the relation “between the phallus and the , the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and ism.”
  1. Queer Musicology at the University of California-Los Angeles explores how “sexual difference and complex gender identities in music and among musicians have incited productive consternation” during the 1990s. Music under consideration includes works by Schubert and Holly Near, Britten and Cole Porter, and Tourette.

  1. Amherst College in Massachusetts offers Taking Marx Seriously: “Should Marx be given another chance?” Students in this class are asked to question if Marxism still has “credibility,” while also inquiring if societies can gain new insights by “returning to [Marx’s] texts.” Coming to Marx’s rescue, this course also states that Lenin, Stalin, and Pol Pot misapplied the concepts of Marxism.

  1. Students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Adultery Novel read a series of 19th and 20th century works about “adultery” and watch “several ery films.” Students apply “various critical approaches in order to place ery into its aesthetic, social and cultural context, including: sociological descriptions of modernity, Marxist examinations of family as a social and economic institution” and “feminist work on the construction of gender.”

  1. Occidental College—making the list twice for the second year in a row—offers Blackness, which elaborates on a “new blackness,” “critical blackness,” “post-blackness,” and an “unforgivable blackness,” which all combine to create a “feminist New Black Man.”

  1. Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration is University of Washington’s way of exploring the immigration debate. The class allegedly unearths what is “highlighted and concealed in contemporary public debates about U.S. immigration” policy.

  1. Whiteness: The Other Side of is Mount Holyoke College’s attempt to analyze race. The class seeks to spark thought on: “What is whiteness?” “How is it related to ?” “What are the legal frameworks of whiteness?” “How is whiteness enacted in everyday practice?” And how does whiteness impact the “lives of whites and people of color?

  1. Native American Feminisms at the University of Michigan looks at the development of “Native feminist thought” and its “relationship both to Native land-based struggles and non-Native feminist movements.”
  1. Johns Hopkins University offers Mail Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context, which is a supposedly deep look into Filipino kinship and gender.

  1. Cornell University’s Cyberfeminism investigates “the emergence of cyberfeminism in theory and art in the context of feminism/post feminism and the accelerated technological developments of the last thirty years of the twentieth century.”
  1. Duke University’s American Dreams/American Realities course seeks to unearth “such myths as ‘rags to riches,’ ‘beacon to the world,’ and the ‘frontier,’ in defining the American character.”

  1. Swarthmore College’s Nonviolent Responses to ism “deconstruct's ism” and “builds on promising nonviolent procedures to combat today’s ism.” The “non-violent” struggle Blacks pursued in the 1960s is outlined as a mode for tackling today’s ism.

Also these....
  • UC-Berkeley’s Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco explores “implications of U.S. imperialism and colonization for the construction of gender in 19th-century San Francisco’s multicultural, multiracial, and multi-ethnic” community. The course also covers “contemporary transgender, queer, genderqueer, and post-queer cultural production and politics” and “the regulation of gender-variant practices in public space by San Francisco’s Anglo-European elites.”

  • Cornell University’s Sex, Rugs, Salt, & Coal asks students to ponder the questions: Why are “oriental” rugs collector’s items? How did we come to keep salt shakers on our dinner tables? When did coal start replacing wood as a fuel source?

  • Swarthmore College’s Peace Study in Action partners students with a local “peace” organization “to study its mode of action and develop a document or brief that brings useful peace research to the service of the organization.”

  • Swarthmore College’s Renaissance ualities explores the homoerotic, chastity and friendship, marriage, ery, and incest.
Hollins University’s Pulp Fiction examines “a literary genre that critics once deemed ‘trash’ and moralists commonly found ‘scandalous,’ but that formed a crucial part in the burgeoning canon of queer literature.”

There are some colleges in Michigan that are not liberal but lean conservative. Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan engages students who mostly possess fairly conservative and libertarian values. According to the Hillsdale student body, the largest organizations on campus are College Republicans and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, followed closely by Praxis (an economics club) and Fairfield Society (a Christian organization).

Other schools in higher education that follow Hillsdale's trend are Albion College, Calvin College, Hope College and Kalamazoo College. The issue with these schools is that they are ALL PRIVATE. Most people cannot afford to send their children to these schools which already makes them exclusive. Which means we need to develop a strategy to control the public universities. One such measure is the public universities Board of Regents/Governors. However, we must proceed with caution because even though these Boards set the policies they oftentimes do not set the course work. Once again, you need a strategic grassroots approach to transforming the minds of the students in higher education.

Education is the MOST important and critical issue of 2010 in the State of Michigan. Poll after poll have shown that there is a greater need for educational quality in our community. If we sleep on this issue we will continue to lose big.


Scott said...

I read your essay with great interest, as I work (in a staff position) in one of those educational institutions you are speaking of. (I call it an indoctrination camp, having observed it from the inside for nearly 20 years). You are spot-on in your description of the modern public university. I have often said that the leftward slide of this nation is the natural consequence of a century of compulsory public education.

This comment you made got my attention the most, however: "The same way the GOP has ignored minorities for years now we have ignored the realm of academia. Now it is coming back to haunt us with the advent of the first Black President. A warning to my colleagues in the GOP. If we do not reach out to the youth, Blacks, poor people, Hispanics and other minorities this party will be OVER."

How would you define "reach out"? It's fine to criticize, but how would you, as a black man, advise white conservatives to approach these youth who have a steady dose of the Jeremiah Wrights and Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of this world (not to mention the public education system which they are forced to attend) telling them that you can't trust white folks, that conservatives want to kill you, and if you (as a minority) go along with conservatives you are an Uncle Tom? All a white person can do is say "that isn't true", but those words are not believed because you know you can't trust the white man.

Please understand, this is an honest question - I would love to see the barriers brought down! I would love to have conservatives and conservative principles viewed as viable alternatives to the moral and cultural rot of the left. But it's kind of hard with the hand holding the olive branch gets bitten!

Akindele F. Akinyemi said...

Hi Scott. If you can leave me an e-mail address I can shoot you over the answers to your questions. You will LOVE it.