A Six-Step Plan to Reform Higher Education

David Acevedo

CounterCurrent: Week of 5/2

If there’s one thing education reformers do well, it’s critiquing in the abstract. And in a sense, that’s natural; there are indeed many aspects of American education in general, from kindergarten to doctoral study, that are worthy of extensive critique, and it is important to do so. But where reformers often fall short is in researching these problems in great enough detail to provide actionable solutions to the problems they describe, rather than simply enumerating all that’s bad within the field in a surface-level manner. Sure, they may use a few examples from recent news or conjecture a couple of ideas at the end of an article, but the breadth and depth of these proposed solutions are often lacking.

Despite this trend, there are some reformers who go out of their way to do the deep digging necessary to get to the root of a particular issue in a particular place—Scott Yenor, professor of political science at Boise State University (BSU) is one of these individuals. Not only does he understand the big-picture problems facing higher education, but he has also reached a level of granularity necessary to properly diagnose these problems facing his particular institution and therefore recommend tailor-made solutions.

Professor Yenor’s report, Social Justice Ideology in Idaho Higher Education, which was co-written with education policy analyst Anna K. Miller and published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation earlier this year, was inspired by the National Association of Scholars’ 2019 report Social Justice Education in America and provides an in-depth look into the social justice bureaucracy at BSU, examining how leftist propaganda has made its way into at least 14 different departments at the direction of executive-level administration. Yenor and Miller are currently investigating other Idaho universities as we speak and hope to partner with reformers in other states to expand this local-level work.

In this week’s featured article, Professor Yenor lays out a step-by-step guide for those looking to effectively research and fight against educational decay at the local level, offering “a modest model for [educational] conservatives in other states who are concerned about the rot that has settled into our taxpayer-funded educational systems, and who want a roadmap for pushing against the forces of so-called progress.” The guide is split into six steps, which any concerned and dedicated citizen or professor can follow:

  1. Discover the Social Justice Story that the University tells about itself.
  2. Show how lower-level administration and university policies reflect the plans.
  3. Assess the curriculum.
  4. Assess Other Aspects of Student Experience.
  5. Write a compelling Executive Summary and offer specific recommendations. [emphasis mine]
  6. Publicize and Defend the Findings.

Are you interested in making lasting change on the local level? Professor Yenor’s six-step plan is a great way to start. Through detailed research, clear writing, and actionable solutions, you can help restore higher education to its rightful place as the foundation of American innovation. We salute Professor Yenor and encourage others to join him in this ground-up approach to reforming American higher education.

CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.

Image: Iamneven, Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license, cropped.

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