Report Hits `Dumbing Down' of Top Virginia Colleges

By Innerst, Carol | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 13, 1998 | Go to article overview

Report Hits `Dumbing Down' of Top Virginia Colleges


Innerst, Carol, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Virginia's most esteemed colleges allow students to choose from "a hodgepodge of narrow, dumbed-down, and trivial courses," an organization of concerned scholars says.

A rising tide of electives and a dearth of specific core curriculum requirements afflict the institutions, according to a report being delivered today to the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia by an organization of college and university faculty dedicated to high academic standards and academic freedom.

"Higher education in Virginia is subject to the same dumbing down that we are seeing in colleges and universities across the country," said Michael Krauss, president of the Virginia Association of Scholars, who prepared "The Troubling State of General Education: A Study of Six Virginia Public Colleges and Universities."

"In a state which gave birth to Jefferson's conception of an educated citizenry, it is simply shameful that schools are failing to provide the kind of general education that is needed for our graduates to be involved and educated citizens," he continued. "Virginia, with its impressive array of colleges and universities, should be resisting this trend."

The report was endorsed by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA, formerly the National Alumni Forum), a group also dedicated to academic freedom and excellence.

It examines curriculums at six Virginia institutions - George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Virginia State University, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary. Two-thirds of Virginia's undergraduates attend these institutions.

The report charges that these schools are failing to transmit "essential knowledge" in basic subjects such as English, history, science and mathematics, and it calls on the higher education council to examine other state schools and to strengthen core curriculum requirements in the state.

The University of Virginia, for example, has no single course requirement demanded of every student. Engineering students have no freshman writing requirement, and those in the liberal arts have no separate math requirement.

"This eye-opening report reveals education in disarray," said ACTA President Jerry L. Martin. "The result is an academic cafeteria that allows students to live on intellectual junk food."

Lynne V. Cheney, ACTA chairman and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, warned that students "who reach the end of their college years without knowing basic landmarks of history and culture are unlikely to be prepared to make the complex choices today's life demands." The report contrasts what the Virginia Association of Scholars calls "today's nearly meaningless requirements" with the rigorous general education provided students in the past.

The educational goals set forth in the 1997 catalogues echo those of 1964 by defining the major subject areas of general education requirements as English composition, foreign language, the humanities, the social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences, according to the report.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Report Hits `Dumbing Down' of Top Virginia Colleges
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.