Monday, October 1, 2007

Education is Newspeak for Activism

From The Examiner's interview with Johns Hopkins president William Brody

Q How would you distinguish Johns Hopkins for prospective students?

A Johns Hopkins is like a small liberal arts college in the middle of the world’s largest research institution. It’s for self-starters, so there’s not a lot of defined curriculum. If you’re looking for a lot of structure, you should probably look somewhere else. We’re looking for students who want to get passionate about something, who want to get involved. We don’t train people for a specific career or a specific job, though they may be ready for it. Many people will have three, four or five different careers. In real life, you need to absorb what’s all around you and solve problems that haven’t been proposed. About 80 percent of our undergrads have some sort of independent study as part of their curriculum. I would like that to be 100 percent.

With leaders like Brody setting the academic course, is it any wonder why Hopkins students scored dead last on the 2006 version of the ISI civics quiz I mentioned last month. According to the ISI Hopkins actually showed "negative learning." What do you expect from an history department that has no set core curriculum.

As evidenced by his own words Brody is not interested in educating young people to be good citizens rather he is interested in attracting passionate activists, presumably to take part in his new initiative to make Johns Hopkins a central location in the fight against catastrophic, man-made global warming.

1 comment:

The Reticulator said...

It's discouraging when one finds the local high schools trying to emulate as much of that as they can possibly get away with. I was fortunate to go to small schools that didn't offer a lot in the way of electives. I had to take the core classes, and those classes were good because the instructors couldn't say, "If you're interested in X, you can learn it in Course 400-something". There was no course 400-something, so the information had to be crammed into the general courses to the extent possible.

BTW, I scored 60 on the test when I took it several days ago. I don't know how well I would have done at graduation (37 years ago). I'm pretty sure I would have missed a good handful of them.