From Victor Davis Hanson:
SAT and ACT examinations originated in the 1920s and 1960s, respectively, as meritocratic ways to allow applicants from less prestigious high schools and from minority groups to be assessed on their aptitude for college — without the old-boy, establishment prejudices of class, gender and race. Would such blind exams also work in reverse as national college exit tests? Could bachelor’s degrees be predicated on certifying that graduates possess a minimum level of common knowledge?
Lawyers with degrees can only practice after passing bar exams. Doctors cannot practice medicine upon the completion of M.D. degrees unless they are board certified. Why can’t undergraduate degrees likewise be certified? One can certainly imagine the ensuring hysteria.
What would happen if some students from less prestigious state schools graduated from college with higher exit-test scores than the majority of Harvard and Yale graduates? What if students still did not test any higher in analytics and vocabulary after thousands of dollars and several years of lectures and classroom hours?
Would schools then cut back on “studies” courses, the number of administrators or lavish recreational facilities to help ensure that students first and foremost mastered a classical body of common knowledge? Would administrators be forced to acknowledge that their campuses had price-gouged students but imparted to them little in return? More.
Reality check: No. Why should they? They can always push through legislation forcing employers to hire asshats instead of assets. Social justice at work.
The basic problem with Hanson’s suggestions is that there can no longer be a core arts curriculum that could distinguish between chimpanzee foot painting and Michelangelo. No real difference is acknowledged. That would be “species-ist.” Today, a canon is merely a private preference, not to be imposed on anyone, unless a social justice case can be made..
The only solution for most arts programs is to shut them down.
See also: Mizzou’s big decision