Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Study May Disprove "Danger" of Left-Wing Academia

People like David Horowitz have made a healthy industry out of the “dangers” of America’s predominantly-leftist academia. According to them, the mass of liberal professors are indoctrinating their students with leftist nonsense in the hopes of churning out more people just like them.

While the proof of such allegations is often in the eye of the beholder -- and largely critique-proof -- a new study reveals that it may simply not matter, as students are not overwhelmingly likely to change their political persuasions during college.

According to the study, to be published later this year in PS: Political Science and Politics:

About 60 percent of students didn't change their political outlooks much during college. Those that did moved slightly to the left, but the change mirrored that of 18- to 24-year-olds generally. There was no apparent boost from attending a school with a particularly liberal faculty.

The research doesn't explain why students resist imitating their professors' views.

”It could be the faculty in general take their profession seriously, and that even though they identify themselves as politically liberal, they're very professionally oriented and their pedagogy does not reflect these biases,'' Hewitt said.

Or, maybe faculty ''are in the classroom trying to indoctrinate [students] with their views, and the students don't take the bait,'' he said.

While this study doesn’t completely dispel Horowitz’s charges of conservatives being routed from Academia, or students being fed false facts to suit shady goals, it at least shows that the situation isn’t as dire as people like him make it out to be. In the grand tradition of American higher education, professors can say anything they like, and their students aren’t paying attention.


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