Politically-based faculty discrimination, a test case

Featured image Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the case of Wagner v. Jones. Our friend Peter Berkowitz discussed the case in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (it’s behind a pay wall). Teresa Wagner accuses the University of Iowa College of Law of violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by refusing to hire her for its legal analysis, writing, and research program due to her strong »

Dartmouth doubles down on unserious leftist academics

Featured image Dartmouth College has a new provost, Carolyn Dever. The provost is a key, perhaps the key, player at an academic institution. She creates and maintains academic standards and sets the academic direction of the college. She determines which departments and areas of studies will be winners and which will be losers. In my day at Dartmouth, the provost was Leonard Reiser, a physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project. He »

Universal pre-K remains a dubious idea

Featured image In last year’s State of the Union address, President Obama called for federal funding of a “Preschool for All” initiative. He’s likely to renew that call this week. Unfortunately, as I discussed here, there’s no reason to believe that a universal pre-school program would improve educational or life outcomes. Indeed, a recent article in National Affairs by David Armor and Sonia Sousa strongly suggests that such a program is unlikely »

Quotations from Co-Chairman Keith

Featured image Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s Fifth District in Congress. He proudly identifies himself first and foremost as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. With a little help from Karen Hunter (as he notes in the Acknowledgements), he has now written the memoir cum manifesto My Country, ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future. Ellison writes in chapter 9 (“The Politics of Generosity and Inclusion”): When I graduated from »

Inequality — a necessary ingredient of New York’s greatness

Featured image At his inauguration, New York’s new mayor Bill DeBlasio denounced the city’s economic inequality. He seemed to argue that to remain truly great, New York must remedy income inequality. I submit, however, that New York is great in part because of income inequality. The wealth at the top end of the economic spectrum clearly has played a major role in the city’s greatness. For one thing, the very rich have »

The Power Line 100: Francis J. Beckwith

Featured image In a lecture a few months back I observed that you generally find very few conservatives in philosophy departments at American colleges and universities (as opposed to political philosophy in political science departments, where you tend to find conservatives much better represented).  There are, however, two notable and interesting exceptions to this general rule: when you do find a conservative academic philosopher, he or she (but much more often a »

Common Sense on Common Core

Featured image I have totally ignored the controversy about “Common Core” standards for K-12 public schools emanating from the bureaucratic penumbras of the Obama Administration.  For one thing, I’m still mastering the core requirements of higher education, which tend to be either non-serious or so diffuse that they are neither “common” nor a “core.”  Why should the watery “guidelines” for Common Core be much different than the higher ed slop? In general »

Education, immigration, and diversity

Featured image According to a just-released study, eighth-grade students in more than half of the U.S. states performed better than the international average on a test in science. In math, eighth-graders in 36 states outperformed the international average. On the other hand, even students in top performing states were significantly outperformed by their counterparts in South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. I imagine that the results of this study will provide fuel for »

Washington Post calls out Obama/Holder for suing to block school choice

Featured image The Washington Post’s editors have ripped the Obama administration for petitioning a federal court to bar Louisiana from awarding vouchers for the 2014-15 school year to students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders, unless the vouchers are first approved by a federal judge. John wrote about this disgraceful suit here. The Post notes that “9 of 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools »

Macalester College, then and now

Featured image I grew up in St. Paul a few miles down the street from Macalester College. I have a vivid memory of seeing students stream in to hear Richard Nixon speak at the college fieldhouse on Snelling Avenue in September 1960. I recall seeing the young men dressed in coats and ties and the young women in equally formal attire. Nixon’s appearance came of course in the run-up to the presidential »

Eric Holder Sues to Block Louisiana School Choice

Featured image In a sane world, this would be a scandal: Obama’s Department of Justice has sued to block poor African-Americans (and others) from escaping failing schools in Louisiana and trying, at least, to get a decent education: The Justice Department is trying to stop a school vouchers program in Louisiana that attempts to help families send their children to independent schools instead of under-performing public schools. The agency wants to stop »

The Power Line 100: Mike Adams

Featured image I’d not paid close attention to Mike Adams, professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, until the following account came to my attention courtesy of, but after you take this in you’ll see why he belongs on the Power Line 100. Among other things (like high ratings on, he’s the author of Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically-Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” on Campus.  I »

Obama’s higher ed plan — a power grab, not a shake-up

Featured image President Obama has announced a plan that he claims will make “college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families.” The key elements of his plan are (1) a federal college-rating system that will evaluate colleges on measures such as graduation rates, the number of low-income students served (i.e., the percentage of Pell Grant recipients), graduate earnings, and affordability and (2) the tying of federal »

Dez Wells fights back

Featured image Dez Wells is the best basketball player on the University of Maryland’s men’s team. He came to Maryland after being kicked out of Xavier University due to allegations that he sexually assaulted a female student. My first reaction to Wells’ transfer was disappointment that the team I support would accept a player deemed morally unsuitable by his prior school. But it quickly became apparent to me that Xavier treated Wells »

The Power Line 100: Stephen Knott

Featured image With all of my moving I’ve fallen behind on keeping up the process of vetting professors for the Power Line 100 roster, but this week’s correspondence with Stephen Knott about the passing of Bill (“Judge”) Clark prompted me to return to my list, and lo and behold, guess who has risen to the top of it.  Stephen Knott! He is not a stranger to Power Line readers, of course.  Steve »

Mitch Daniels, Hero (with comment from Steve)

Featured image I’ve never thought of Mitch Daniels as the heroic type; not until now. But he deserves a medal for trying to spare Indiana students the mis-education that comes from reading the execrable Howard Zinn. The Associated Press obtained emails by then-Governor Daniels, now the President of Purdue: Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said Wednesday he never tried to quash academic freedom while serving as Indiana’s governor and criticized an Associated »

God and man at Penn

Featured image It should come as no surprise that some of the very worst rants about George Zimmerman’s acquittal are coming from an Ivy League professor. The competition is stiff, but will be hard-pressed to keep up with Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. The Zimmerman verdict has caused Butler to conclude that God is “a white racist god with a problem” who “is carrying »