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Education Stats United States Politics

In America, Most Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad for the Country (chronicle.com) 996

An anonymous reader quotes the Chronicle of Higher Education: A majority of Republicans and right-leaning independents think higher education has a negative effect on the country, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center on Monday. The same study has found a consistent increase in distrust of colleges and universities since 2010, when negative perceptions among Republicans was measured at 32 percent. That number now stands at 58 percent. By comparison, 72 percent of Democrats or left-leaning Independents in the study said colleges and universities have a positive impact on the United States... In the Pew Research Center's study, distrust of colleges was strongest in the highest income bracket and the oldest age group, with approval levels of just 31 percent among respondents whose family income exceeds $75,000 a year and 27 percent among those older than 65.
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In America, Most Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad for the Country

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  • Evergreen State (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:39AM (#54813783)
    Proof by example.
    • Re:Evergreen State (Score:5, Informative)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:46AM (#54813839)

      And I wish Evergreen were just a completely fringe case. But sadly, even many mainstream universities in red states are now indoctrinating students and stifling any dissent. Even reddest of red states, Tennessee, had to pass a law [thefire.org] (against the opposition of its own public university administrations) just to guarantee students basic free speech rights.

    • Re:Evergreen State (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:59AM (#54813919)

      One example isn't proof of anything. By that dumb logic, I could point to LIberty University as "proof" that colleges are all ultra-conservative hellholes, but obviously they're not. One example is only good for disproving something, like this assertion I just made here is obviously disproved by Evergreen State.

      • Re:Evergreen State (Score:4, Insightful)

        by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:36PM (#54814501) Homepage

        Except, of course, that Liberty University has a long history of having leading figures on the left come and speak to its student body. Ted Kennedy was a frequent speaker, and last year, students were required to go to a Bernie Sanders speech.

        The students were respectful and listened [roanoke.com], even though they disagreed with Sanders on most points.

        I wouldn't go to or send my child to Liberty U, but the differences between a Liberty University and a Berkeley [politico.com] or Evergreen [washingtonpost.com] or Yale [washingtonpost.com] or Middlebury [nytimes.com] are pretty stark. Liberty U expects a respectful audience and gets one, the others have let the inmates run the asylum.

    • Re:Evergreen State (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:37PM (#54814509)

      Colleges are also how we end up with electrical engineers and doctors. It's too bad that what happened at evergreen state was so insanely terrible that it is not outweighed by the good colleges in general do for our country.

      Sure I can get an MRI and have a super computer in my pocket, but I'd trade it all to stop some leftist students from disrupting operations on a leftist college campus, where they where taught their leftist ideology by the leftist faculty.

  • by SmaryJerry ( 2759091 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:39AM (#54813785)
    It's because colleges are the most left leaning places in America. I'd bet more American flags are burned at American colleges than in Russia and all middle eastern countries combined. It's not that republicans hate education.
    • It's because colleges are the most left leaning places in America. I'd bet more American flags are burned at American colleges than in Russia and all middle eastern countries combined. It's not that republicans hate education.

      Flag burning is more important than getting an education? Boggle. Besides, how many flags are burned per year?

    • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:47AM (#54813847)

      Higher Education has a long history of being rather left leaning. It is well known that most who are on the left when they are at University become less left wing as they grow older.

      When I was at University in London in the mid 1970's we had many very left leaning factions. There were groups of Communists, Marxists, Marxist-Lennists, Maoists, Trotskyists, Broad Left and a few more. One of the Marxists is now a local politician for a right of centre party. That was something he would not have considered happening when he was in his early 20's.
      University is the first time for most people where they are free to develop their own opinions. Being different from their parents/family is a natural stance to take.

      I would not worry about it. 99% of them will grow out of it.
      The French have a perfect way of describing it. 'Vive la Difference'.

      • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:41PM (#54814549)
        it's an old joke, but it's not far from the truth. Right wing economics (Supply Side, or what is disparagingly called Trickle Down or Voodoo economics) doesn't work. It's been tried again and again in Red States (Kansas is the latest) and failed miserably. And sure, Communism doesn't work. But Democratic Socialism _does_.

        That said, it's not that they're 'growing out of it' but that they're becoming fearful. As you get older and you have something to lose you turn conservative. Not Right Wing. Conservative. You don't want change because you're terrified of losing what you have.

        Personally, I'd like to live in a world we're we're not all living in constant terror of dying in a gutter.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:59AM (#54813917)

      It's because colleges are the most left leaning places in America. I'd bet more American flags are burned at American colleges than in Russia and all middle eastern countries combined. It's not that republicans hate education.

      Flag burning was ruled by the supreme court to be protected under the First Amendment.
      Why do you hate the constitution?

    • It's not that republicans hate education.

      Oh yes, they do. Education makes people citizens, people who evaluate situation and ask themselves questions about what they are thrown at.

      By contrast, republicans have nothing to do with citizens. They want consumers; that is, docile, gullible people who will not question the stuff they are advertised so they buy it, making republicans richer. And, in addition, since they do not question marketing, they will not question the “wisdom” of their bosses, and thus will readily accept what they thro

    • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @11:40AM (#54814145)

      I'd bet more American flags are burned

      I bet more American flags are burned by veterans and Boy Scouts than at all colleges combined.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:26PM (#54814429)

      It's because colleges are the most left leaning places in America. I'd bet more American flags are burned at American colleges than in Russia and all middle eastern countries combined.

      Possibly true but that's what free speech means. I do find it curious that the most educated parts of the population tend as a general group to lean left in their politics. I think that says something meaningful but I'll leave it to you to fill in the blank.

      It's not that republicans hate education.

      Some do, most don't. It is true that a LOT of blue collar republicans think people who go to college are "elitist" snobs. Many certainly do not place a high value on scientific education particularly the more virulently bible thumping amongst them. You know, the ones who think prayer in school is a good thing and that "evolution is just a theory". Those folks certainly do not value education very highly.

      I think the fact that they made an unqualified idiot like DeVos secretary of education speaks a lot to what republicans value.

      They also hate teachers as a collective group because they are staunchly democrat. More specifically teacher's unions fund democrats. That's a major reason why republicans are so eager to pass so called right to work bills - it hurts teacher's unions which as a body seldom support the political right. Has nothing to do with them hating education per-se but it does have a everything to do with them being willing to tear down big parts of the educational system in pursuit of power.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:39AM (#54813793)

    This sudden decline in opinion isn't the result of some new strain of anti-intellectualism, as some Democrats will no doubt suggest, but rather the perception that modern universities have become hotbeds of SJW, "Antifa," and anti-capitalist ideology. That's why the disapproval numbers are particularly high among those with higher incomes (who HATE anti-capitalists).

    Even I'm more distrustful of modern universities than I used to be just a few years ago. And I used to be a professor.

    • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:57AM (#54813903)


      Universities have become a haven of political correctness, speech-banning, and catering to every special flower at the expense of critical thinking, diversity, and learning. It doesn't help that the costs have gone through the roof and the average graduate (those who actually do graduate) are often less educated than high-school students of many years ago.

      If you want to understand why most Conservatives are so upset about the state of Universities/Colleges, just check out some PragerU videos on the topic:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      I certainly don't agree with everything Prager U puts out, but they have lots of very good points that are well illustrated, well supported, and educational.

      • by Golgafrinchan ( 777313 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:22PM (#54814411)

        I'd never heard of Prager U until I read this post. I began searching for more info about it, and after a few minutes I ran into the Twitter page of Dennis Prager, the creator of Prager U. Yesterday, he tweeted:

        "The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does."

        After reading that, it kind of makes it hard for me to take seriously anything else he says or produces.

        • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:36PM (#54814491)

          >"After reading that, it kind of makes it hard for me to take seriously anything else he says or produces."

          That is unfortunate. So you didn't view any of the videos published by many bright and informed people because of your snap judgement from a single statement that might be read out of context, by one person? That is not the way to learn, but the way to censor your own exploration. It is exactly what we are talking about in colleges! You might not agree with something, but turning away from anything that challenges your beliefs isn't healthy.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, 2017 @01:16PM (#54814809)

          I mean, he's kind of right. The news media in the west elected Donald Trump as president. No I don't mean the individual employees voted for him, I mean they gave him 24/7 wall to wall coverage over every tiny thing he did. They know how to stop a candidate from getting attention and votes, just don't cover them. It's what they did to Ron Paul, it's what they did to Bernie Sanders. But Trump played them like a fiddle. Every move he made, from the biggest most obnoxious catch phrases to his tiniest farts were on full 24/7 news coverage. Combine that with their love affair with Hillary Clinton (and the fact that the DNC was once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, see also John Kerry), and you have DJT for president, bought and paid for by CNN and Fox and MSNBC and everyone else. Trump couldn't have spent enough money to get that sort of coverage, and the western news media gave it to him for free.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:59AM (#54813925) Homepage

      So, I'm currently a faculty member of a major university. Prior to my most recent position I was at Birmingham Southern College (a small school in Alabama) and before that I was at the University of Maine. It is pretty clear that left-wing student protests and threats of student protest are having a real chilling effect on what schools do and what sort of speakers they invite; there's also a clear chilling effect from the right, albeit smaller. However, none of this is impacting regular education much at all. The vast majority of classes are not impacted; it is a serious mistake to think that because we have a problem with some student groups trying to push for control and censorship now that somehow there's a problem with colleges and universities as a whole. Colleges remain the primary and best way to get serious education on almost any topic; as technology and science become more advanced and more relevant to serious issues we face as a society, the importance of colleges and universities if anything has grown. Universities also remain the hotbeds of basic research, a vital aspect of a long-term healthy economy.

      It is unfortunate that people are using the genuine but minor problem of student activism as an excuse to have a generally anti-intellectual position against colleges as a whole. Moreover, if one is concerned about the influence of such groups, the last thing one should want to do is to give up the colleges and universities to them wholesale. If they become purely "liberal" or "left-wing" institutions, we all lose.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kohath ( 38547 )

        It's not a minor problem. If a "hostile work environment" isn't something we tolerate, why are you shrugging off a hostile school environment?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      SJWs are just the latest imaginary enemy for people to blame. The subject of endless clickbait articles and ranting videos/radio shows. Everything would be great if it wasn't for the damn SJWs / immigrants / commies. Naturally, the bastards target your kids and try to convert them.

      Universities and colleges have always been left leaning, as have the young in general, and always full of radicals.

      Populism has always been right leaning, often pretty far right, and anti-intellectual. In fact anti-intellectualism

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

      A sudden decline? In the 1960ies republicans happily set the bloody national guard on students who built a park on a patch of unused land. It is not a new strain of anti-intellectualism, it is a very old one because stupid people generally distrust intelligent people, and studies have shown again and again that lower iq and weak education correlate strongly with conservative views and strong religious beliefs.

  • curious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nnet ( 20306 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:40AM (#54813799) Journal
    Because the last thing american leaders want is an educated electorate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rholtzjr ( 928771 )

      WRONG! We need less sheeple. We need MORE independent thought which is the true nature of a higher education.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When did slashdot die? If you must post baloney, bring back Jon Katz. At least he was the king of this kind of tripe. There are actually real tech storeis out there beyond your usual lazy "rivers on mars", "amazing batteries", and "tesla cars".

  • they don't have much use for college if they haven't managed to get their GED yet.

  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig.hogger@gmailCHEETAH.com minus cat> on Saturday July 15, 2017 @10:57AM (#54813901) Journal

    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

    Isaac Asimov [wikiquote.org], 1980

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:27PM (#54814437) Homepage Journal

      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

      Isaac Asimov [wikiquote.org], 1980

      I think this is an old (older than the US as a nation) reaction to the pro-intellectuallism of the Northeastern states -- Yankeedom. The culture of this region has always been very pro-education, to the point that during the Puritan era social status was primarily determined by education level. The southern part of the country, of course, had constant economic and ideological conflict with the north. The north was aggressively egalitarian and prized communitarian notions of freedom and community self-government. The south was aristocratic and prized the individual liberty of the aristocrats. Social status in the south was based on wealth and heritage; education was largely irrelevant, though some sub-cultures in the south lionized classical education as a sign of and means to culture and gentility.

      I think anti-intellectualism arose primarily as a straightforward rejection by the south of all things northern. As history rolled on, this view became deeply embedded in the conservative culture, and was regularly reinforced by the fact that intellectuals always want to apply their knowledge and theories to change society, while conservatives obviously don't want change.

  • Spin it! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @11:04AM (#54813951) Journal

    Wow, what a biased way to spin things and distort facts.

    A majority of Republicans and right-leaning independents think higher education has a negative effect on the country

    That is not the question the Pew Research survey asked, nor how they reported the results. The question was whether or not colleges and universities are having a positive or negative affect on the way things are going in the country. "Higher education" is far more general terminology than "colleges and universities", and by underhandedly substituting that term they make it sound like Republicans think that being educated or obtaining a higher education is bad for the country.

    But then, what else should we expect from The Chronicle of Higher Education but that kind of bias?

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @11:08AM (#54813973)

    On one side of the isle, you have a group of representatives who appear hell-bent on maintaining an uneducated society in order to maximize the manipulative capability of a government to control the stupid and ignorant masses.

    On the other side of the isle, you have a group of representatives who appear hell-bent on feeding the Educational Industrial Complex with the goal of funding capitalism, regardless of the growing lack of return on that investment, or the personal impact of massive debt.

    As usual, one has to choose the lesser of two evils.

    • by doctorvo ( 5019381 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @11:30AM (#54814103)
      Your sarcasm is unwarranted and misses the point. In fact, it's much simpler: conservatives want higher education to teach conservative values and ideas, while leftists want higher education to teach leftist values and ideas. The leftists have pretty much taken over US academia, and as a result, conservatives want tax payers to pay less for teaching an ideology that they disagree with.

      And although dependence on big government programs is likely a nice political side effect for people who generally advocate such things, the primary reason for skyrocketing costs is the same as our public pension crisis: special interests lobby for more government spending for their causes, and traditionally, it's been hard for politiciains to say "no" to subsidizing education. If you subsidize something, prices generally go up.

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:55PM (#54814661) Homepage Journal

      regardless of the growing lack of return on that investment

      You're nuts.

      Average lifetime salary of a person with a high school diploma: $1.3M
      Average lifetime salary of a person with some college: $1.6M
      Average lifetime salary of a person with a four-year degree: $2.3M
      Average lifetime salary of a person with a master's degree: $2.7M
      Average lifetime salary of a person with a doctorate: $3.3M
      Average lifetime salary of a person with a professional degree (MD, JD, etc.): $3.7M

      These are overall averages, but the variation based on field of study is large. STEM degrees are particularly lucrative, and the average STEM graduate with a four-year degree out-earns the average person with a master's or doctorate in the social sciences, education, etc.

      or the personal impact of massive debt.

      Debt is not required to get an education. There are plenty of inexpensive colleges and universities. With a little hard work it's not hard to get partial or full tuition waivers at the undergraduate level, and scholarships and stipends are the norm at the PhD level and in many Master's programs.

      Of course, this requires picking a school based on practical requirements and affordability (including cost of living... you may need to live at home and attend a local commuter school, for example), rather than the quality of the football program or the awesomeness of the party scene. And it requires working hard to maintain high grades (to get tuition waivers), rather than partying, etc.

      Personally, I got a BS in Math and CS and not only graduated without any debt at all (never borrowed a penny for school), but with some savings accumulated while in school. I went to a local university so I could live with my parents, joined the Air Force Reserves to get the GI Bill, kept my grades high to get and stay on an academic tuition waiver (my high school grades were too bad to qualify for a scholarship) and worked 20-25 hours per week throughout my education.

      In hindsight, I should have taken an education loan or two, because there was a GI Bill program that would have made payments on the loans... and there's nothing saying you need to actually spend the money on education. I should have borrowed the money and invested it, letting the military make the payments. I left money on the table.

      Of course, that was all some 25-30 years ago... but I have two sons who are doing much the same thing now. They didn't do the military thing, and don't (yet) have the tuition waivers, but they're working part time and able to pay for school themselves by living at home and attending an inexpensive university (same one I went to). One of my sons just got married and moved out, so his costs are increasing but his wife has a decent (for now) full-time job, so she's going to support them while he finishes his education, then he'll go to work and she'll go to school. It will be a lot of work, but they'll both have educations and no debt.

      Getting a higher education is very much worth it, and needn't come with a heavy debt burden. You just need to be smart about it.

  • by Texmaize ( 2823935 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @11:48AM (#54814191)
    In general, the people reading slashdot are left leaning, like universities have become. You can not imagine how someone could hate/mistrust an institution that echoes all your thinking. What you may not realize is that universities have become corrupted and failed in their mission because now they ONLY propagate one ideology. Universities are supposed to be about truth and helping kids find what they believe. You can't actually do this if you are only presented with one viewpoint. This is what the modern universities do. Why this happened has to do with the philosophies that started with rise of industrialism. At the time, these were new and exciting and captured the imagination of many young faculty, who later became the majority. The dangerous part of these philosophies is that they broach no dissent. You are with or against. Think about what went down in Russia in the first part of the 20th century. It happened in our universities, here.

    Many of you probably think that there is no sound and deep conservative thought. You may be shocked to learn that there is plenty of great conservative thought that challenges many of your assumptions. Sadly, you have never been exposed to them. Think about college. You can probably fondly think remember a course with a dynamic professor who spoke of intriguing ideas about privilege and economic redistribution. Your other professors probably reinforced his points. Now, can you speak about the class where the counter points were given and argued just as passionately? Do you really think no such arguments exist? Did you ever really seek them out? Do you understand that the absence of this discussion is the anathema of true intellectual thought?

    You can see the shadows of these conservative ideas on these very forums. The party line says that all races, genders, places or origin etc. are exactly the same. Any deviation from this means that you and your organization is flawed and fundamentally corrupt run by corrupt people. But, lets face it, the IT/tech world is not a diverse place. In your own life, you know who is good and who is bad, and while it may have nothing to do with what group you belong, for the most part it turned out a certain way. You can see this argued on these forums. You do not call yourselves bad guys, but offer explanations for why it is this way. Yet, you are not so charitable about other people's industries or vocations. The world is full of ***isms, but they are just for others, right?

    The same ideology is laughably unable to deal with what goes on in professional sports franchises, which are not terribly diverse either. It is ignored because it gives a wrong answer.

    So the political right is now, correctly, identifying the universities not as places of learning and education, but as fallen organizations that peddle indoctrination. For a long time, these people were patient justifying to themselves that exposure to different thoughts were good. Arguably too late has the right figured out the real game.

    If you want a test to see if you have been intellectually corrupted, simply ask your self what is the last book that you have read from the conservative perspective? If the answer is a real long time ago, or why bother, then you are honestly not the person that you think you are. You are an intellectual but a zealot. You can thank the university for that.
  • Generalization... (Score:4, Informative)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @12:39PM (#54814537)

    I'm not american so I don't have to worry about stuff like this, but let me tell you guys that this isn't a great signal and people should be extremely careful about ideas like those...
    Obviously, as with anything else, education is never perfect. People will pick and choose the worst examples to say how colleges and whatnot are awful.
    But that fact that there are indeed bad colleges and bad education does not mean that no education is the better alternative.
    I've heard this rhetoric of universities and college degrees being worthless here were I live before. It was among the justifications for electing a couple of presidents that never went through college and university plus a whole bunch of politicians taking representative seats.
    And I'm not saying that people who didn't go through college and university are always idiots, stupid, ignorants and bad administrators... nothing like that. Some of the brightest people I know don't have a degree, or ended up working in areas unrelated to their degrees.
    But what we've seen here was a weird and misguided glorification of ignorance. Picking exceptional cases like millionaires who flunked higher education to put it as the norm, people thinking it was better to vote for politicians that did not have a degree in anything, and a misguided idea that not having passed through college or university education meant that the candidate was "more honest", "closer to the people", "knew what poor people passed through" and stuff like that.

    The end result of all that is a country in deep recession with the worst corruption crisis in history, one ex-president arrested, another impeached, and one current that should be impeached, tons of politicians in jail, numerous example cases of extremely bad administrative decisions, and the general sense that the country is indeed run by ignorants, corrupt people and bad decisions.

    Sure people love to talk about the SJW epidemic, all the white knighting, all the young adults behaving like spoiled brats, political correctedness, plus a bunch of other stuff. It's easy to blame institutions for behaviours like those, but more often than not, it's an age thing.
    People get this skewed perception that bad things happen on campus while ignoring all the shit that happens outside of it.

    So there you go. Sure, college isn't perfect. A degree isn't an indication of morals, ethics and great behaviour. And there are plenty of people who do very well without going through college. But people better be careful about sweeping generalizations, because some lines of reasoning (or lack thereof) can end up very very badly.

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Saturday July 15, 2017 @06:50PM (#54816507)

    In medival times in Europe, the Islamic world had its golden age. They advanced mathematics, astronomy etc. They were real science guys. Unfortunately, some Muslim cleric came up with the idea that manipulating numbers is from the devil. This idea became widespread and killed off science. That is why they retreated. Fortunately for us, Europe went through the Renaissance and developed 'enlightenment'.

    Nowadays people disregard science and people who advance science. In the US they even fight science. Looks like they want to deindustrialize the USA. This would not be an issue for the rest if the world, but the same Waco's have nuclear weapons.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein