So, a funny thing happened the other day. A representative from Georgia, Calvin Hill (R-Canton), got hold of the media guide from Georgia State University — you know, one of those lists of “who to call for a quote about X” things. And on there, he found people with expertise in things like male prostitution and oral sex. He thought he was looking at a course catalog, and immediately got all bent out of shape about people teaching our children courses in oral sex, because of course this is a waste of taxpayer dollars, as kids know more about it than we do. Ha ha, just kidding, I mean because nobody should know anything about it ever.
So then his colleague Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) got up on the House floor during prime C-Span hours (i.e. everyone else was asleep) and called for a grass-roots campaign to kick out professors who teach stuff like that, and especially “queer theory.”
“This is not considered higher education,” she said. “If legislators are going to dole out the dollars, we should have a say-so in where they go.”
Byrd and her supporters, including state Rep. Calvin Hill, said they will team with the Christian Coalition and other religious groups to pressure fellow lawmakers and the Board of Regents to eliminate the jobs.
“Our job is to educate our people in sciences, business, math,” said Hill, a vice chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. He said professors aren’t going to meet those needs “by teaching a class in queer theory.”
(Fort Mill Times)
The whole thing more or less blew over — turns out that Kirk Elifson does fairly important research on the spread of HIV by male prostitutes, and Mindy Stombler is a sociologist studying attitudes of teens about sexual practices, and somehow it doesn’t sound as bad when you use your brain for an instant or two. Hill tried to back-pedal:
Several members of the committee praised Elifson and Stombler for their work; Hill, too, spoke to the committee but given the chance, did not ask the GSU faculty any questions.
He defended his interest in the issue and said he never specifically accused GSU of anything. He also said the media had blown the subject out of proportion.
“It’s been taken sideways by people who like the titillating words,” he said.
He argued that in a time of budget cuts universities should not offer classes that do not help students get jobs.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Because all he really meant to say was that higher education should be transformed into vo-tech. Still, not everybody is ready to give up on this. Just today the conservative blog Human Events published a philippic on the topic, supporting Byrd’s original plan to expunge all this nasty stuff from tax-supported educational institutions.
This is a management issue. Over the last thirty years, even in the bastion of large public universities, the mantra has been “let’s shock the parents.” Maybe it hasn’t been official or stated but it’s been there. The Deans of the Schools and the management structure of the University must be able to not only balance the curriculum, but also manage it through hard times. Too many times these academics don’t know how to manage people because they are academics and not business people.
If this is happening in University System in Georgia, it’s happening in your state, too. Go online and look at the course offerings at your son or daughter’s university and you’ll find these fringes offered there, too. They are counting on parents to be too intimidated to get involved. Parents should take charge of their child’s education at every level.
And taxpayers should demand better administration of college funds. If we are graduating people who can’t do math, don’t know science and can’t write or speak English well, why in Heaven’s name are we spending money on anything but to improve those results?
There you go! Higher education should be confined to teaching math, science (not the nasty kind, I’m guessing) and English. Out with those other fripperies like the arts, so-called sciences like sociology, and, I guess, epidemiology. I mean, just while the economy is bad. Once things get rolling again, we can just rebuild all those departments that we abolished before, no problem.