Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

It used to be a joke.

Tom Lehrer made it about his military experience. “One of the many fine things (one has to admit) is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion … not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on the grounds of ability.”

Now it’s becoming reality. At least at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

A fairly recent set of directives from the august institution’s faculty senate called for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.”

We’re told that these goals were buried in a huge document, and the academics who approved it may not have known what they were approving, exactly.

Sounds like they’re ready for Washington, DC, where lack of reading skills can be compensated for by spin skills.

The idea that the thing to be achieved is some sort of demographic microcosm of the social macrocosm, proportioned at all levels, doesn’t hold water. Apparently, if 5 percent of the population were Lower Slobovian, the institution simply must mirror that five percent in its ranks.

Including a proportion of Slobovians getting high grades.

Whether this “proportionality” means what Katherine Timpf says it means — “good grades should be distributed equally among students of different races” — I don’t know.

But I do know the standards being scuttled here: ability, achievement, merit.

It’s obvious: trendy, “progressive-minded” academics and activists have so little sense of proportion (and so little sense of humor) that they can’t tell when their earnest efforts are themselves nothing more than jokes.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Ken M says:

    The fundamental flaw in this entire policy is the absurd notion that grades are “distributed”. In all the years I taught, from high school through graduate school, I never once began grading an exam or a course by thinking that I had so many As, Bs, etc that I would distribute among the students. I looked at their performance and gave each a grade reflecting that performance. This might have resulted in everyone getting an A, or everyone failing, but that was entirely dependent on their work as individuals. Grades, like wealth and income, are created by the innovation and effort of people, not bestowed or distributed by government, whether that be in DC or the faculty senate.

  2. JFB says:

    Might not be so bad, Paul. It might be that the U of W – Madison “graduates??” will have to be interviewed, evaluated and considered on their own individual merit, as clearly the grades and degrees will no longer be any indicia.
    Conversely this may be an improvement as the alternative is relying on the grading of the academics who would adopt such a policy, and that is clearly unreliable.

  3. Jay says:

    When I was in college (a Jesuit university) I had one teacher who did grade on a bell shaped curve. If you got an ad for a (crappy in the view of most students, and that is being polite) “newsletter” she published, your grade went up 2 levels FROM YOUR WORK. (I did not get an ad-could have from my uncles)– but the school (she had tenure) knew of her proclivities and adjusted grades. And, there was a priest, who if you were not Catholic, got a lower grade. His grades, also were adjusted by the school.


    That was in the 1960’s by the way.


    More recently, a few years ago, our esteemed Sec. of Education was upset that blacks were suspended more then whites–overlooking two points. Black suspension was HIGHEST IN SCHOOLS WITH BLACK ADMINISTRATORS; and whites were suspended more then Asians.

    Seems that was OK.

    And even more recently:

    New York City has eight specialized high schools; five are (more or less) under the “rule” of the mayor. The progressives are upset THAT ASIANS MAKE UP A DISPROPORTIONATE per-centage of students (compared to blacks Hispanics and whites-but the whites, again, do not count).

    So, the value of the education in those schools will be watered down.

  4. Drik says:

    In a free market, the value of a degree from this school is going down.
    Will hiring these graduates be required?
    In a collective, what isn’t prohibited will be mandatory.

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