Are Colleges Committing Consumer Fraud?

Colleges are all about teaching “critical thinking,” though in most places that is a mere euphemism for teaching “critical theory,” which is not the same thing. Quite the opposite: “critical theory” is the highly ideologized core of the academic left. And it shows.

News item:

Exclusive Test Data: Many Colleges Fail to Improve Critical-Thinking Skills

By Douglas Belkin

Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.

At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)

At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years. . .

For prospective students and their parents looking to pick a college, it is almost impossible to figure out which schools help students learn critical thinking, because full results of the standardized test, called the College Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+, are seldom disclosed to the public. This is true, too, of similar tests.

In any other industry, this deliberate opacity and failure to deliver the promised service would attract the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and other government “consumer protection” agencies. But the higher education cartel is too well wired politically for this to happen.

Then there’s this little gem in the story:

Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.

This would be places like Hillsdale, St. Johns, Ashland, Thomas Aquinas, etc. Let’s pile on:

Flagship institutions such as the University of Kentucky and the University of Texas at Austin attract some of the brightest students in the country. Their students showed little improvement in CLA+ performance. Their value-added score put their ranking in the bottom third of all schools that gave the test in the same year.

So how did these universities respond?

Kentucky and UT Austin officials criticized the test and said they no longer use it.

Accountability is for little people.

Now let’s shift focus to another aspect of this problem:

The Kids Aren’t Alright: More young voters are rejecting capitalism and democracy—from the United States to France. It doesn’t bode well for our own political future.

By Josh Kraushaar

Thursday’s shock­ing elec­tion res­ult from across the pond could carry big­ger long-term polit­ic­al im­plic­a­tions in the U.S. than the im­pact of James Comey’s seis­mic testi­mony against Pres­id­ent Trump on Cap­it­ol Hill. Against all ex­pect­a­tions, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May saw her gov­ern­ing ma­jor­ity dis­sip­ate, des­pite run­ning against a far-left La­bour nom­in­ee (Jeremy Corbyn) whose plat­form was more Marx­ist than so­cial demo­crat­ic. Corbyn’s sur­pris­ingly com­pet­it­ive show­ing was fueled by young voters, who ral­lied be­hind Labuor by a whop­ping 34-point mar­gin (63-29 per­cent), ac­cord­ing to Brit­ish exit polling.

For all the fears of creep­ing na­tion­al­ism, it’s the grow­ing dis­con­tent of the mil­len­ni­al vote that’s been a con­sist­ent theme in re­cent West­ern elec­tions. Young voters are more will­ing to cast bal­lots for can­did­ates on the fringes, op­pos­ing the neo­lib­er­al­ism of the Clin­ton/Blair vari­ety and the na­tion­al­ist, anti-European Uni­on/pro-Brexit sen­ti­ment in­creas­ingly dom­in­ant on the Right. Many young voters are re­ject­ing cap­it­al­ism en­tirely, at­trac­ted to rhet­or­ic prom­ising free tu­ition and a gen­er­ous so­cial safety net at a time when many are strug­gling to make ends meet. Nu­mer­ous stud­ies also show young­er voters are much more skep­tic­al to­wards the value of demo­cracy than their eld­ers. . .

Gee—I wonder if there’s any connection between this and the “critical thinking” students receive in college these days?