Monday, January 29, 2007

Lib'rals in the Colleges

Every so often, the media will pick up on a report - nay, a study - which shows that American higher education is full to bursting with liberals who use their power to teach - nay, to indoctrinate - the nation's youth with liberal ideas like truth, justice, and peace. According to a real study, with, like, data and a discernibly scientific methodology and stuff, this ain't the case. Surprise, surprise.

"The 'Faculty Bias' Studies: Science or Propaganda," takes eight of the recent studies on faculty politics and judges them by five general tests of social science research. Today’s study finds that the eight all come up short in adhering to research standards. The new study was sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the work was conducted by John B. Lee, an education researcher and consultant...

The various studies analyzed are by no means identical, but they tend to have two major themes (although some stress just one of the themes): that faculty members are liberal and that their liberal inclinations are significant in considering their performance.

Lee’s analysis finds some support for the first theme. "Taken together, these studies at best suggest that college faculty members are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans," he writes. However, even on this theme, he notes that the studies tend to exclude community college faculty members and to focus on faculty at elite institutions — probably skewing the results.

The second theme takes a more thorough beating in the study. "Among the most serious claims the authors make is that this liberal dominance results in systematic exclusion of conservative ideas, limited promotion opportunities for conservative faculty, and expression in the classroom of liberal perspectives that damage student leaning," Lee writes. "These claims, however, are not supported by the research. Basic methodological flaws keep a critical reader from accepting the conclusions suggested by the authors."

Predictably, the right-wing researchers think Lee is full of it.

(Via Phoenix Woman.)