Tuesday, May 08, 2018

WSU President Bardo trashes liberal arts education

By SJ Otto

Wichita State University President John Bardo (and we can assume with the backing of his “owners” David and Charles Koch), has taken aim at liberal arts education. He is taking a direct attack on a whole field of study. According to WSU’s The Sunflower:

Bardo said creating “an elite little liberal arts college” at WSU “ain’t gonna work.”
“Do we wish we were an elite little liberal arts college?” Bardo said to the crowd. “That’s not who we are.

We’re educating people like you and me who have to go to work for a living.”
Bardo said Fairmount College — what WSU was formerly known as — was founded “to serve the working people of Wichita, not to serve the intellectual elite.”

He said he favored technology as a key part of his values of education. 
According to Wikipedia:

Liberal arts education can refer to academic subjects such as literaturephilosophymathematics, and social and physical sciencesor it can also refer to overall studies in a liberal arts degree program. For both interpretations, the term generally refers to matters not relating to the professionalvocational, or technical curriculum.

Bardo and similar conservatives, across the country, seem to be taking aim at liberal arts, colleges, degrees and programs. For decades conservatives have had a hard time dealing with Universities that have been sanctuaries for leftists, both liberal and socialists. Universities have traditionally drawn out leftists to their staff. Conservatives have tried to get rid of tenure, which has protected leftists, such as Marxists, from being fired. Universities are one of the few places a Marxist can feel protected from being fired for their views. But now Conservatives are attacking an entire field of study. There is a new GOP tax bill that is the latest example of an anti-intellectualism that’s been brewing for decades.

According to The Atlantic;

The GOP and the American right consistently position themselves against the universities. This is a commonplace of the culture war. But why? America’s universities regularly rank among the most prestigious worldwide, making undeniable contributions to medicine, science, technology, economy, the arts, athletics, and the humanities. America’s universities also attract some of the world’s brightest minds, spurring innovation and dominating globally by countless measures. Conservatives might be proud of the universities as particularly stunning examples of American pluck and ingenuity. Instead, the tax bill appears to be symptomatic of the GOP’s growing disillusionment with higher education. This is, at least, how a number of college presidents and leaders have interpreted it.

So Bardo is part of a growing movement of conservatives who want to tear down public universities all across the US. Why do they hate this kind of education? They seem intent on creating a society of autotrons. They favour highly skilled students with technical abilities. They look up to technology as the one of the most important traits of modern society. But they don’t seem to favour letting a person question the essence of our society. The study of social interactions might bring up such questions as the issues of fairness. They may have to worry about the possibility that socialism or Marxism might come up for discussion. Anything that questions the absolute value of capitalism and the positions such people hold could threaten the conservative way of life. They don’t want their highly technical geniuses to be able to think about society and how it works. They don’t value a person who studies philosophy or sociology in general. That is especially true if such a person is not employed full-time. Thinking about society—questioning the system or looking for a better system is something our modern conservatives don’t want.
The worst part of all of this is that conservatives, such as Bardo, are willing to destroy an entire field of study just to get their agenda across. Such narrow-mindedness has no place in a modern university. Bardo and his cronies don’t belong on a modern-day campus. Bardo has no business running a university. People who do that job need to be education oriented. Bardo would do a fine job running a small business. 

But he has no business running a school of any kind.

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