Jerry Newcombe
Confidence in American colleges in free fall
By Jerry Newcombe
July 19, 2023

At one time, America was among the best educated nations in the world. James Madison of Virginia, a key architect of the Constitution, said, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”

But a recent Gallup poll earlier this month has found that American faith in college today has dropped significantly.

In an article entitled “Confidence in U.S. higher education has drastically declined,” reports: “A July 11 Gallup poll reveals that opinions about United States higher education have seen a sharp decline since 2015, with only 36% of polled Americans saying that they have confidence in the country's colleges and universities. This figure is down from 48% in 2018 and 57% in 2015.” That’s a 21-percentage-point drop in just eight years.

Why is confidence in college plummeting today? Democrats, according to the survey, blame the cost of the schools. Republicans blame the politics. Both seem valid concerns.

But why does confidence in American colleges seem to be accelerating in such an apparent free fall? I think it is because virtually all of the colleges and universities have gone “woke,” like so many aspects of our culture.

Many times crazy ideas are hatched in the university faculty lounges that may sound great in theory but are awful in practice.

Socialism is a great case in point. Can anyone name a square inch on the entire planet where socialism has benefited the people? The ruling elites love it because they benefit from it. Just ask the Castro brothers. American universities today are hotbeds of Marxism and socialism.

About half a century ago, William F. Buckley, Jr. once observed, “I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

How far Harvard has fallen from its original Christian purposes is troubling. The official motto of Harvard for a couple of centuries was “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae.” In Latin, that meant “Truth for Christ and the Church.”

The Harvard library, built in 1914, still has that Latin motto chiseled in stone. But sometime in the early 20th century, they cut off Veritas from its Christian moorings. So now the motto is only “Veritas.” To paraphrase Francis Schaeffer, noted Christian social critic, one could say that Harvard now has truth firmly planted, with both feet in mid-air.

There is a plaque in stone at the entrance of Harvard which declares, "After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessities for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for, and looked after was to advance learning, and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust."

The last time I was there, in order to film a portion of our Providence Forum “Foundation of American Liberty” series, I saw that they had planted a tree in front of that stone plaque, so you had to move the branches to even see the sign.

But Harvard has long abandoned the faith that gave it birth. So have so many other universities in our time.

Much of the college campus wokeness is encapsulated in the 3-letter phrase "DEI"—standing for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion.

Recently, the New York Post noted that New York’s university system will require heavy doses of DEI, and social justice, in order for students to be able graduate. Good-bye, founding fathers. Hello Marxism. Good-bye, free enterprise. Hello, socialism.

Former college professor Jordan Peterson of Canada left his professorial position ultimately because of political correctness and DEI. He says that they have that acrostic in the wrong order. It should be DIE, because it is killing our universities.

Recently, Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis declared that “DEI-infused” curriculum has no place in the Sunshine State’s public schools: “Florida is getting out of that game…. If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley — go to some of these other places.”

DeSantis also spoke before a Republican group in North Carolina, where he again railed against woke ideology in the schools: “We’re also the first state in the United States to eliminate DEI from our public university system. They say it is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, but in reality it’s ideology. It’s an agenda that they are trying to impose, not just on the students, but on faculty and staff.”

He went on to say, “Indeed, DEI, the way it’s practiced, better stands for Discrimination, Exclusion, and Indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions.”

Until the universities get back to classical education and jettison the cultural Marxism, we will likely see the confidence in college education and its usefulness for building a positive future sink even further.

© Jerry Newcombe


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Jerry Newcombe

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington's Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.). @newcombejerry


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