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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   

I know several people on these boards are academics, and a hell of a lot more are politically active, so I thought I might alert anyone out there who hasn't already heard about a proposed piece of legislation being debated in the U. S. House of Representatives.

H.R. 3077 will rewrite Title VI legislation which provides FLAS money to universities and funds area-studies programs and centers. It will create an International Education Advisory Board with appointed members from the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. The job of this advisory board will be to review international studies programs, including those in History, Social Science, and Modern Language departments, and to "increase accountability by providing advice, counsel, and recommendations to Congress on international education issues for higher education." The powers this legislation would confer on regulatory agencies are so broad as to jeopardize independent control of curricula and hiring, among other things.

This legislation was sparked by concerns that international education programs were turning out unpatriotic students, and that students were being radicalized against taking government and national-security jobs.

Dr. Stanley Kurtz, who gave testimony concerning bias in higher education programs, and who conceived the IEAB, characterizes international-studies programs as hotbeds of unpatriotic anti-Americanism. He cites the inclusion in these courses of Edward Said's Orientalism as evidence of this alleged bias.

It's happening, folks. Right now, and right under our noses. It is possible, through this legislation, for the government to dictate to universities not only the makeup of their curricula, but also the conduct of their classrooms. Government may also exercise control over hiring and over funding of programs. All under the guise of improving international-studies programs in the interests of national security.

If you're as upset as I am -- and you should be -- you can write your Congressman (if you're from the U.S.), as well as the Chairman of the Full Committee on Education and the Workforce. His address is given immediately below.

John A. Boehner
1011 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515

Write by hand in ink. Do not e-mail or send typed responses, as these are routinely disregarded as form letters and junk.

You can find the full text of the resolution at the following link:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.3077:

An amended version is available at the following link:
http://edworkforce.house.gov/markups/108th/sed/hr3077/917main.htm.

Dr. Kurtz's testimony is included in the following links:
http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/108th/sed/titlevi61903/w161903.htm

and

http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/108th/titlevi61903/kurtz.htm

Find opposing testimony at this link:
http://www.acenet.edu/washington/international/Hartle.Testimony.pdf

Don't sit still for this.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 12:34 pm:   

After trying these links myself, some don't appear to go through in the previous posting. Sorry about that, but I'm not sure why they're not working. To reach the full text, try http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c108:1:./temp/~c108M4VIOG::

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Iron James
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

Well, I think there is a good deal of bias in such areas. It's pretty hard to deny. And while I don't think this type of legislation is the solution, I do think "higher" education in this country is about as bad as it gets, at least in certain areas. For the most part, it's broken, in my opinion.

I don't think this legislation has nearly the teeth or will work the way you fear. It probably won't help, but I doubt it's possible it will do any harm. I also doubt it will be passed into law, for that matter. It's too big a can of worms.
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paulw
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 07:58 am:   

Iron James, why don't you give us some concrete examples of this bias you claim is "pretty hard to deny"? I'd be very curious to see it.

And if you don't think, given the track record of this Congress, that such a law has any chance of being passed, you are living in a dream world.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:01 am:   

I.J. -- The law has already skated through Congress, and is now in the Senate, where it is likely to pass, given the current political makeup of that body. As for the legislation having no teeth, I must ask whether or not you read the Kurtz testimony and the ACE response. You cannot fully appreciate the drift of this legislation, and especially the reasoning and telos behind the IEAB, without digesting those testimonies.

This legislation DOES have teeth. Those teeth are the potential freezing of Title VI monies for political reasons, which would spell major changes in area-studies programs nationwide, or even their dissolution, excepting those few situated in non-Title-VI universities and colleges. That means most institutions of higher learning across America fall in the shadow of this bill.

It also means the oversight for which this bill provides is NOT confined to international-studies and political science programs, but includes the modern languages as well.

A possible outcome of this bill, and perhaps the mildest, would be an ultimatum to universities to incorporate language education required by government and the intelligence communities, at the expense of programs which serve the needs of students.

The reasoning behind this bill is, simply put, that universities are not turning out what government needs, and they must be made to do so. That means easing access to students by recruiters from defense and intelligence agencies, but it also means encouraging the production of recruitable product by intitutions of higher education.

Don't just read the legislation. Read behind it, and do what so many people on these boards are good at -- extrapolate!

By the way, for anyone interested, I am in possession of a list of journalists nationwide covering the education and higher-education beats at national newspapers. I can e-mail this list privately, upon request, to those who wish to bring this matter before the public. Or you can simply bring the matter to the attention of your local education-beat journalist. If you do so, you should head any information you send with a short summary of the item, some two or three sentences. Failure to do so might result in the information being round-filed.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

I think it is pretty hard to deny that "Iron James" has a very strong ideological ax to grind. His comments on the "Graham Joyce on Salon" thread reinforce this point. He seems to spout reactionary "truisms" without any understanding of the issues behind said propaganda. When asked to justify what he spouts, there is a deafening silence.

I invite Mr. James to contradict this impression by responding to paulw's request for examples, or by explaining how Graham Joyce's article was "inaccurate".

-jl
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 08:55 pm:   

If I.J. had read the Kurtz testimony and followed it up with the ACE counter-testimony, one of two things would have happened.

1. He would have realized that Kurtz is a reincarnation of Nabokov without the talent, and is looking to lash out in an anal-expulsive way against his intellectual betters, and that the only indicator of the man's intelligence is his timing -- he picked a time when people even stupider than himself are in power.

2. He would have foolishly denied that the Right is attempting to grind away at civic freedoms, eroding the public sphere as they have been attempting to do in so many ways since the overdetermined 9/11. (Sorry, New York. I sympathize with your suffering, but somebody's capitalizing on it, and they ain't kickin' down.)

Either way, anyone who can say this legislation has no teeth has to ask himself two questions.

1. If you're right, and it truly has no teeth, why spend millions of taxpayer dollars on the dissemination of its agenda? This sounds like porkbarrel, and it should be opposed. After all, isn't the Right against government waste?

2. If you're wrong, what do you stand to lose? What does this nation stand to lose?

Put up or shut up, I.J.
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 09:13 pm:   

If these things are as dangerous as feared can't they be fought in court?

Despite what some of you may think of me I don't think I'd be for this by the way. That maybe wishy-washy sounding, but I mean that I think I'd want to look into it on my own more before I formed a solid opinion. However as weird as it might sound I'm very much against patriotism, and I'm not that interested in it prospering.

(I'm not much into hostility to any nationality prospering either, but that's a separate deal)

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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:05 pm:   

Thomas, look into it, by all means. Go to the websites, google the principals, do what you have to do, get yourself informed.

I'm a bit biased, I admit, because I value academic freedom, while some shit-heads think that unfounded rumors of American universities being left-wing is reason enough to call out the Gestapo. But I think this is important on a number of levels that have nothing whatsoever to do with teachers. It's flat-ass scary what this bill could create.

And I am a patriot. I believe in my country. I believe in civitas and virtu, in my duty and ability to change this country into something that works better tomorrow than it works today.

Read Kurtz's testimony. Read the ACE's response. Then look at the difference between pre-Kurtz and post-Kurtz versions of HR 3077. The telos jumps out and pokes you in the eye.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:14 pm:   

You know, just out of curiosity, Iron James, how much "higher" education have you had? And where? And how long ago? I'm just trying to establish your authority to speak on the matter, that's all.
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Zack
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 03:15 pm:   

Sounds good to me. These charlatans have had a free ride for too long. Don't know anything about Joyce other then that a real writer Stephen King once recommended one of his books. If he's been reduced to writing articles for the incredibly phony ezine Salon now edited by a Clinton staff member, he also lacks the conviction of his own opinions and is a fraudulent hack who feels he deserves recognition as a "writer" because he sports decaying End Apartheid stickers on his VW.
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Jim
Posted on Friday, July 22, 2005 - 06:32 am:   

Wow, such an informed opinion, Zack. Since you've obviously read all of these things that you're commenting on, and therefore know what you're talking about.

If you're going to offer an opinion, here's a wild suggestion: actually read what you're commenting upon first. I know, pretty radical. You might even learn you're full of crap...

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