A new poll from Pew Research revealed that only half of Americans believe that colleges and universities have a positive effect on society. Now, a George Mason University professor has some theories as to why higher education has become so unpopular with Americans.
According to a column published this week by the Daily Signal, Americans have an increasingly negative attitude towards colleges and universities. The column, which was penned by George Mason University Professor Walter E. Williams, makes the case that Americans are turning on higher education.
Williams highlighted a poll by the Pew Research Center that revealed that only half of Americans believe that higher education has a positive effect on society.
It’s not perfectly clear why so many Americans distrust academia. The rising cost of attending college has become a regular concern for Americans around the country. However, Williams has some theories as to why the poll results were so unfavorable for colleges and universities.
Williams cited a study published by the National Association of Scholars that studied the political activity over 12,000 professors. The study revealed that only 22 of the professors included in the study donated to Republican candidates for office.
Langbert and Stevens conducted the new study of the political affiliation of 12,372 professors in the two leading private colleges and two leading public colleges in 31 states.
For party registration, they found a Democratic to Republican (D:R) ratio of 8.5:1, which varied by rank of institution and region.
For donations to political candidates (using the Federal Election Commission database), they found a D:R ratio of 95:1, with only 22 Republican donors, compared with 2,081 Democratic donors.
Williams cited other crises in higher education as reasons for the poll results such as universities failing to disclose millions of dollars in funding from foreign governments.
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