Monday, October 11, 2010 4:53 AM

My Son's Real Life Encounter With University Thinking

Monday, October 11, 2010 4:53 AM
Monday, October 11, 2010 4:53 AM

Here is a real life experience of an inside look into the practices of Universities and how they insure that their view of truth or rather lack of truth is propagated. My son earned a national scholastic award and was invited to Duke University to receive this recognition. While there, the Dean of Admissions spoke to the recipients and in his talk several things were said that will give you some idea of how university faculty think and conduct the affairs of higher education.

 This Dean informed the students that they had been identified as the top 3% of the top 1%. This was quite a gathering of young scholars and you would have thought that the Dean of Admissions would have used this time to get these young people excited about their future studies as well as applying to Duke. He may have thought that he was, but as for my son, he was certain that he would not be applying to Duke.

 The Dean proceeded to congratulate this group of seventh graders on their SAT scores. For one to be included in this group, they would have had to outscore 90% of the high school seniors across the country while still in the 7th grade. This group took the SAT’s by invitation only. The Dean then proceeded to tell them that Duke paid very little attention to these SAT and ACT scores, and in fact Duke had turned down hundreds of Valedictorians from across the nation that previous year. I am sure many of these young scholars were asking themselves, then why am I working so hard?

The Dean stated that “critical thinking” was the most important thing that Duke looked for, not SAT”s, not ACT’s and not high school grades: now you might ask yourself where Duke is finding all of these critical thinkers if they placed very little emphasis on the national testing systems and 4 years worth of grades earned by millions of students, given by hundreds of thousands of teachers. The office of admissions at Duke must have some valuable skills of assessment and discernment that no one else in the nation had mastered.

 In fact by the time the Dean had finished his talk, it became apparent that they had no special ability to discern critical thinking at all. What they had in place was a purposefully ambiguous process so that they could do anything that they wanted to do regardless of fairness and merit. The Dean of Admissions wanted to be sure that you were appropriately indoctrinated, or at least from that portion of the population that was more likely to be from a liberal rather than a conservative background before admitting you.

 Oh yes they wanted smart young people and they wanted them with critical thinking skills, but how you saw the moral questions of life was even more important. This is why the essay and community service have become such a large part of the admissions process…it gives the University a chance to determine your religious and political views.

 In his influential work, The Closing of the American Mind, the late philosopher Allan Bloom made the observation that “there is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. . . . The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated.”

Now you understand the reason for the ambiguity in the admissions process…the university wants moral relativist. It is the Dean of Admissions job to admit moral relativist and he is judged by the department’s ability to do so. Duke’s professors would be quite shocked to find a freshman class that thought for themselves and questioned the propaganda that they are being fed.

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