In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Communities of Character," David Brooks informs us, "All over the country there are schools and organizations trying to come up with new ways to cultivate character." Brooks illustrates his point by describing the Leaders School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn:
"This is a school with roughly 300 students who speak between them 22 languages. Eighty-five percent are on free and reduced lunch. Last year the graduation rate was an amazing 89 percent and every single graduate went to college."
Every single graduate went to college? How marvelous! Or perhaps not.
On Wednesday, George Will provided a remarkable synopsis of the depths being plumbed by American universities in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "America’s higher education brought low." Examples provided by Will:
"The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, an irony-free campus, declared the phrase 'politically correct' a microaggression. The master of Yale’s Pierson College said his regrettable title reminds distressed students of slavery. Wesleyan University’s student government threatened to cut the school newspaper’s funding because it published a column critical of campus leftists. Wesleyan created a 'safe space,' a.k.a. a house, for LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf---, Polyamorous, Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism).
A Washington State University professor said she would lower the grade of any student who used the term 'illegal immigrants' when referring to immigrants here illegally. Another Washington State professor warned in his syllabus that white students who want 'to do well' in his 'Introduction to Multicultural Literature' should show their 'grasp of history and social relations' by 'deferring to the experiences of people of color.' Another Washington State teacher, in her syllabus for 'Women & Popular Culture,' warned that students risk 'failure for the semester' if they use 'derogatory/oppressive language' such as 'referring to women/men as females or males.'"
Go to college in the US and further build character, grit, leadership and intellectual curiosity? I have my doubts.
As even Roger Cohen seems to suggest, America is sickly and getting weaker. May the Lord have mercy on us!