"Do you wonder why Sen. Bernie Sanders and his ideas are so popular among American college students?
The answer is that they, like so many other young people who think they know it all, are really uninformed and ignorant.
You say, “Williams, how dare you say that?! We’ve mortgaged our home to send our children to college.”
Let’s start with the 2006 geographic literacy survey of youngsters between 18 and 24 years of age by National Geographic and Roper Public Affairs.
- Less than half could identify New York and Ohio on a U.S. map.
- Sixty percent could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, and three-quarters could not find Iran or Israel.
- In fact, 44 percent could not locate even one of those four countries.
- Youngsters who had taken a geography class didn’t fare much better.
...A few weeks ago, my column discussed the dishonesty of college officials.
Here’s more evidence: Among high- school students who graduated in 2014 and took the ACT college readiness exam, here’s how various racial/ethnic groups fared when it came to meeting the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks in at least three of the four subjects:
- Asians, 57 percent;
- whites, 49 percent;
- Hispanics, 23 percent; and
- blacks, 11 percent.
However, the college rates of enrollment of these groups were:
Asians, 80 percent;
whites, 69 percent;
Hispanics, 60 percent; and
blacks, 57 percent.
What I am labeling as dishonest, fraudulent, or deceitful comes from the fact that many more students are admitted to college than are in fact college-ready.
Admitting such students may satisfy the wants and financial interests of the higher education establishment, but whether it serves the interests of students, families, taxpayers, and the nation is another question.
To accommodate less college-ready students, colleges must water down their curricula, lower standards, and abandon traditional tools and topics.
Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein writes in his book “The Dumbest Generation”: Tradition “serves a crucial moral and intellectual function. … People who read Thucydides and Caesar on war, and Seneca and Ovid on love, are less inclined to construe passing fads as durable outlooks, to fall into the maelstrom of celebrity culture, to presume that the circumstances of their own life are worth a webpage.”"