Friday, February 9, 2007
Personal Asides: Its State Sen. Chris Lauzen and Bill Dock Walls on Political Shootout Seriously Underplayed Education Failings.
Lauzen and Walls.
State Sen. Chris Lauzen, (R-Aurora), a conservative hero of mine who has been fearless in standing up to vested liberal interests in both parties, including Combine Republican ones like George Ryan, will be my guest on Political Shootout Sunday night on WLS-AM (890). He will be joined by Bill Dock Walls, a challenger to Mayor Richard M. Daley for mayor; Walls, who was a top aide to the late Harold Washington, has been running a feisty campaign for mayor and has pulled very few punches. Chris Lauzen has served notice that he is interested in succeeding Dennis Hastert as U. S. Congressman. He would be an outstanding choice; as expected, he is not the choice of the establishment Republicans which is in his favor to my way of thinking.
This will interest Frank Nofsinger, our friend from Connecticut who contributes views and comments to this web-site. The University of Connecticut has just completed a studycalled the largest of its typeon what students learn about American history, government and economics. They picked at random 14,000 freshmen and seniors at fifty colleges and asked them sixty multiple-choice questions. More than half of the seniors failed to identify the century when the first American colony was founded at Jamestown. Fewer than half could name the source of this quotation: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. More than 75% of the seniors never heard of the Monroe Doctrine. But across the board, seniors scored only 1.5% higher on average than freshmen. Moreover at many collegesBrown, Georgetown and Yale among themseniors know less than freshmen about American history.
Which means they being de-educated. The top schools where the study shows history is being excelled at are not the ivy leaguers but Rhodes College, Colorado state university, Calvin college, Grove City college, and the University of Colorado-Boulder. The schools where seniors know less about American history than freshmen include the University of Chciago, Williams, the University of Virginia, Yale, Duke, Cornell and at the bottom of the list Johns Hopkins. I got the story from a very good magazine, First Things, edited by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. The study is entitled The Coming Crisis in Citizenship and is available from the Intrercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware.
This squares with my own experience. My undergraduate education was at a relatively small private college with no particularly classy nameSt. Johns in Minnesota. But we got a superb education in history (as well as other things, notably theology and philosophy). I did grad studies at DePaul and Loyola and was generally impressed with the quality of teaching and the attainments of my colleagues. But, when I went to Harvard as a teaching Fellow many-many years later 27 years later, in fact I was surprised and dumbfounded at the inadequacies of some of the students in my classnot all--(not to mention poor spelling, writing style etc.). My experience with Roosevelt University which is far from elite was quite good. The class was composed of many non-student professionals but the students who did take the course for credit were among some of the finest I have ever taught.