Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berkeley Course Demands Students Be Liberal

The biggest punch line in American higher education just got a whole lot funnier (or a whole lot more terrifying, depending on whether you have children approaching college age). One might fairly presume that at some point, churning out graduates who parrot leftist babble while lacking fundamental academic and societal skills will drag the University of California, Berkeley’s reputation lower than Vice President Joe Biden’s self-esteem after an hour at a Mensa meeting. If I took a spot as a senior administrator at Berkeley, I might even try to rescue the institution before it begins running late-night TV ads offering classes in TV/VCR repair.
Alas, I am not a senior administrator at Berkeley, and I am quite certain I won’t be showing up on their short list for hires anytime soon. Among other qualities which eliminate me from contention for future openings at what amounts to an incubator for the noisy brats who populate most left-wing whinefests, I am well aware of the old adage: “Those who can’t, teach.” Also, I bathe regularly.
Since I wield no influence over Berkeley’s curriculum, I cannot stop it from offering what may well be the first course which expressly demands students move up the grade curve by being as liberal as possible. Beginning this semester, Berkeley will offer students credits for course work in a class entitled: “Fighting to Learn, Learning to Fight: Building the Movement for Public Education and Equality.” According the syllabus, coursework includes “…an auto biography (sic) focused on one’s own poltical (sic) development.”
The course is conducted under the auspices of an ultra-liberal group named “BAMN.” BAMN is the spectacularly discursive acronym for the equally discursively-named The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrants Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. As if someone outside BAMN is likely to mistake the “professors” — a pair of student instructors and a BAMN activist — for anyone in the English department (witness the above citation from the syllabus).
A perusal of BAMN’s website reveals standard Democratic Party rhetoric, albeit more grandiloquent than normal.  BAMN credits itself with “building the new civil rights movement.” Imagine the disappointment of the “old” civil rights movement. Among their predictable aims, BAMN supports the DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Despite BAMN’s stated goal of opposing racism and some vague horror they call the “New Jim Crow,” it opposes California’s Proposition 209, meaning it subsequently supports racism and discrimination in public-institution admissions, which were rendered illegal by Proposition 209. BAMN even dedicates a section of its website to defaming former Berkeley regent — and BAMN opponent — Ward Connerly, even suggesting he is the “Spokesperson for the Campaign to Resegregate America.” Connerly is black, meaning BAMN is essentially calling him an “Uncle Tom.” Hey, maybe he’s the “New Jim Crow.”
I wouldn’t trust BAMN apparatchiks with walking a group of preschoolers through the adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot. The tykes would come home claiming Jane was running because Dick was trying to date-rape her, while Spot was the victim of animal cruelty. Yet BAMN is in charge of granting academic advancement to the kids whom Berkeley claims will “make key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, and the nation” at least until the illegal aliens sprung by the DREAM Act vacuum up all the paying jobs.
One hardly requires a MacArthur grant to recognize that higher education is rapidly falling victim to political indoctrination masquerading as instruction. And Berkeley has certainly earned its reputation as the ground zero of fatuous liberalism masquerading as intellect. To add insult to injury, according to the Berkeley website, close to 60 percent of the school’s nearly $2 billion revenue stems from State and Federal funding. Add to that the 18 percent derived from tuition and fees, and the taxpayers are footing more than three-fourths of the tab for nonsense like BAMN.
Unfortunately, “learning” to reflexively vote for Democrats isn’t the same as learning more worthwhile skills. At some point, Berkeley graduates will cease contending with the unemployment created by the ideological brethren of their professors and instead will contend with being simply unemployable.

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