Foundation system

Texas academic institutions need to change

Since Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced in February that he would reevaluate the tenure — which keeps most college professors from being fired — the left-leaning faculty elites at Texas colleges have gone ballistic. .

Lt. Governor Patrick was reacting to backlash from a University of Texas faculty committee that balked at his assertion that the legislature would ban education based on Critical Race Theory (CRT) principles at the university level, just that it banned CRT in Texas public schools. .

In their response, the Texas scholars dishonestly described the CRT as merely teaching about the history of slavery and about racism in America today — but of course, that teaching is already happening. There was never any objection to discussing all aspects of Texas history, from the Revolutionary War, Secession and Civil War, to the violence of Reconstruction, to the KKK and the civil rights struggles. In fact, teaching all of these subjects and more is necessary in Texas schools.

What the Legislature rejected for public school classrooms (and also hopes to block college classes) teaches that every aspect of American life, history and culture – from the founding of the nation in 1776 to our current status as a leader on the world stage – is rooted and propelled by racism. Specifically, lawmakers do not want the CRT to be used to teach white students that they are born racists and black students are born victims, regardless of their circumstances or accomplishments.

Dividing students by race, as frequently occurs in CRT-based classroom discussions, is not only an inaccurate representation of American history, it also likely violates civil rights law that prohibits treating students differently based on their race.

UT faculty members have issued an indignant challenge to the idea that the legislature, which allocates taxpayer dollars to pay their salaries, and taxpayer parents, who send their children to colleges across the world. state, have a role to play in determining what is taught in academic institutions. they pay.

These faculty members don’t realize that neither CRT nor tenure has much support outside of UT-Austin’s legendary 40 acres. A poll conducted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation shortly after Lt. Gov. Patrick’s comments showed that Texans don’t believe college professors deserve any special protections from firing, such as tenure. More than 70% think they should get an annual job performance review and be hired or fired, just like everyone else in the workplace.

For Texas’ conservative majority, the tenure issue and other questions that Lt. Governor Patrick directed to the Senate Committee on Higher Education research ahead of next year’s legislative session are entirely reasonable.

How did tenure policies designed over 100 years ago to give faculty members a seat at the governance table of colleges and universities result in them taking control of the table and refusing to let anyone who disagreed with them participating or even speaking?

How did policies meant to uphold and support academic freedom end up drowning the voices of all but liberal elites on Texas campuses, ensuring that virtually no conservatives are ever hired to teach at academic institutions across the country? ‘State ?

How do colleges continue to forge ahead with grievance-filled curricula designed to divide students by gender, race, and ethnicity? And how are these professors not held accountable when students cannot earn a living once they graduate?

How did Texas universities become bloated with administrators whose jobs are defined by the “woke agenda” of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion?

The Texas economy is the 10and the biggest in the world. Innovation and productivity have made us a global force in many economic sectors. Texans want a university system that supports their efforts to continue to succeed in all aspects of business and intellectual life. Texans know this cannot be achieved with universities that limit free speech and block diversity of thought.

The University of Chicago’s landmark Kalven Report reminds us that the university’s mission is the discovery, enhancement, and dissemination of knowledge. To stay true to this mission, universities should not be involved in advocacy or activism – and they certainly should not block the voices of those who disagree with left-elite positions. Lt. Governor Patrick is right that it’s bad for Texas — and it’s time it stopped.