Scholarly work is a slow thing, and it can take years before academics can officially declare even obvious things to be true…or at least true enough. So, while it was clear to me a decade or more ago that something was going very wrong in higher education, it’s only now that we have an official scholarly report on what went wrong:
Social Justice Education in America
Scholars tend to focus on minutiae, and so they give a minute reason for why we should care about this…and somehow ignore the huge reasons:
The direct financial burden of social justice general education requirements is at least $10 billion a year nationwide, and rising fast.
This means almost nothing. Student loan debt is around $1.6 trillion dollars, and most of that money, far more than the $10 billion mentioned above, was blown on bogus educations. If all we wasted was $10 billion while educating the next generation, that’d be a win next to the $1.6 trillion in loans which is the true cost of the takeover of education by ideologues obsessed with social justice.
What is “social justice,” anyway? Scholars like to know what they’re studying, and the report highlights how this term means just about anything as long as it puts money into ideologues’ pockets. The best they could come up with as meaning for the term is:
I dislike the United States and American culture. American society treats people unfairly. American culture elevates the wealthy and the privileged over everybody else. It is oppressive. I’m oppressed. I want to change everything. I especially want to change things in the direction of redistributing wealth and privilege. Those should be taken away from the people I don’t like and given to me and the people I do like. The key to making this happen is to raise awareness among those who are oppressed and who don’t necessarily know they are oppressed. Calling for social justice is a way of bringing people together to overthrow the systemic injustices all around us.
Considering how Social Justice is used to justify endless riots and protests in support of both racism and anti-racism, the above is as good a description as any. The report emphasizes this with a brief overview:
Those who seek to end “gender oppression” find it suits them. Those who seek reparations for slavery and an end to racism find that it suits them as well. Those who fight for open borders, the end of a carbon-based economy, the elimination of meat, the normalization of transgender identity, the end of “broken-windows policing,” the dismantling of the “prison industrial complex,” and the eradication of “Islamophobia” find themselves conforming to this sensibility as well.
Getting back to education, the report summarizes how higher education was taken over, to a large extent, by Social Justice Warriors. I disagree with some of what they say, although I certainly agree with their disdain for many aspects of the movement. The report says it happened through a 4-front attack:
They focus on four broad strategic initiatives: 1) the alteration of university and department mission statements; 2) the seizure of internal graduation requirements; 3) the capture of disciplines or creation of pseudo-disciplines; and 4) the capture of the university administration.
While the above is true, I feel some clarifications of how it all works together is necessary.
Yes, the “mission statements” are now being altered to support social justice, just as, not that many years ago, they were altered away from their original purpose (generally, education of humanity through education and research, and towards support of nebulous crud like “leadership” and “excellence”). Decades ago, scholars screwed up by allowing professional “leaders” take over higher education, and these “leaders” were turning to their own ends (hence the new focus on “leadership” and “excellence), before they teamed up with the Social Justice movement via edu-fascism…little realizing that the Social Justice Warriors would eventually push out those “leaders.” All that said, mission statements mean little in the grand scheme of things, I doubt 1 student in 100 can quote even a few words of their alma mater’s mission statement.
Similarly, “seizure of internal graduation requirements” is only incidental to the takeover. What matters here is that those internal graduation requirements now mandate students take ideological training, often considerable amounts of it. But, who has the power to make such sweeping changes to graduation requirements, and how did those requirements get approved?
The report utterly ignores accreditations role here, but I assure the gentle reader, accreditation could fix the SJW takeover in a heartbeat.
“The capture of disciplines or creation of pseudo-disciplines” again is part of the takeover, but how did the capture take place? Who allowed the creation of pseudo-disciplines?
It is the 4th front that matters most, the capture of the university administration. Scholars sold out to the leaders, the leaders allowed the SJWs in, and they, through control of the hiring committees, slowly took over many of campuses. Again, the scholars don’t seem to realize what happened, though they stumble over it many times:
In the last twenty years a body of “social justice educators” has come to power in American higher education…By now scarcely any conservatives or moderates remain, and most of them are approaching retirement.
The reason why it took 20 years is because those hiring committees, while restricted to only hiring SJWs, could do little about the “normies” who had already been hired. The normies are now all mostly approaching retirement because the chokehold has been around that long.
While this bigoted hiring has been going on for decades, it’s only recently that now “must be a SJW” has become an official requirement for getting hired on many campuses, and the report highlights how it is today in writing…though it’s been around via “wink and a nod” procedures for a long time.
The ideal of social justice does not complement the ideal of education. The ideal of social justice replaces the ideal of education.
Again, the above is the true problem with Social Justice in higher education. It takes it over completely, replaces it. That our young are going deep into debt for Social Justice indoctrination is insult to injury.
Higher education’s administrative bloat has facilitated the growth of social justice bureaucracies—among them, Offices of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs; Title IX coordinators; Offices of First-Year Experience and Community Engagement; Offices of Student Life and Residential Life; Offices of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement; Offices of Equity and Inclusion; Offices of Sustainability and Social Justice; and miscellaneous institutes and centers.
It isn’t just the education that gets perverted, the whole system is corrupted, and next time around we’ll take a look at a major state school taken over by Social Justice, where education is, at best, optional.