Chapter 3: Transforming the Academy
February 2, 2009 | NeW Staff
Changing seminar to ovular and theology to thealogy, are ways that feminists are trying to re-frame education and the pursuit of knowledge. However, as Christina Hoff Sommers notes in her book, Who Stole Feminism?
, feminists say that even knowledge is a “patriarchal construction.” Is this a problem?
“In the fall of 1992, Dr. Frank Lutz, a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics, surveyed Ivy League students to find out how much history and civics they knew. His survey of 3,119 of our nation’s brightest and best educated students revealed that three out of four did not know that Thomas Jefferson had authored the opening words of the Declaration of Independence. Most (three out of four) were unable to name four Supreme Court justices, nor could they name the U.S. senators from their home states. More than a third could not name the prime minister of Great Britain. Such consequences are typical and predictable when teachers are distracted from the material they should be teaching by the effort to be ideologically correct.”
Christina Hoff Sommers attributes this academic breakdown to the “filler feminism” that has seeped into our history, philosophy, and literature classes. The California Department of Education guidelines say that:
“Whenever an instructional material presents developments in history or current events, or achievements in art, science, or any other field, the contributions of women and men should be represented in approximately equal number.”
In history and the arts, there is a great absence of women. But can anything be done about the past? Why must we exert so much effort to try to change what has already taken place?
I believe in equality of the sexes. Nonetheless, I also believe that value should be based on merit and virtue – not on naturally occuring characteristics, such as sex, race, hair color, eye color, height, or weight.