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11 August 2015 @ 02:39 pm
PC?  
The article from The Atlantic has been the focus of the usual rounds of the pundit shows appearing on Bill Maher and Morning Joe within 48 hours of each other. Are colleges too obsessed with political correctness, microaggressions, and trigger warnings. The pundits are having a field day, an easy thing to do when the article suggests we are coddling college kids (and all kids for that matter) too much. Here is the link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/.

According to the authors, university professors and administrators are bending to the will of these coddled individuals and education is, of course, going to hell in a hand basket. Frankly, this article would be a great one for analyzing so many of the propaganda techniques used in our culture. And it appalls me that there is an attempt here to paint all universities with a broad brush. What I would love is some real data. I will settle for a counter-example.

My courses in YA and children's literature challenge students with books ranging from classics to contemporary titles. They examine serious and, at one time, taboo topics. A component of both courses is a screencast and infographic about ethics emphasizing censorship and what educators must do when faced with challenges. No students has ever asked me to change a title. In 25 years, only one student has requested permission to substitute a book due to a fear it might be a trigger. I was happy to accommodate the student.

I do not see this decline in academia. I do not see coddled kids. I see pretty much the same variety of students I did when I taught middle school. Perhaps the Atlantic needs to visit more campuses and classrooms before it bemoans the sad state of higher ed? Or is it easier to dismantle higher ed with this sort of "journalism"?

As I begin my 26th year of teaching at the university, I am excited about the potential, excited about the possibilities, excited about new books, new readers, new ideas.
 
 
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