Are colleges harming America? | The Tylt

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Are colleges harming America?
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Democrats and Republicans see the higher education in starkly different terms. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 72 percent of Democrats think colleges and universities are a force for good in America. They believe colleges promote personal and civic growth. On the other hand, 58 percent of Republicans think colleges are actively harming the United States. They believe universities have become militant, radical safe spaces that stymie free speech. What do you think? 🎓

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Conservatives say colleges have become an incubator for radical ideas. They've become liberal bubbles for elite students who are pushing a specific agenda on others. Instead of tolerating dissent, they silence it. Many conservatives point to the incident at UC Berkeley, where a masked group of protestors shut down a talk from Milo Yiannopoulos through violent means. In their eyes, colleges have become militant radical spaces. They're no longer institutions of higher learning where spirited debates can happen—it's all liberal dogma now. 

College campuses have become centers for political activism, not higher education. Here's how Cheryl K. Chumley at the Washington Times puts it:

Clearing the colleges of riffraff; bringing back the atmosphere of learning and critical thinking. That’s the direction America needs to take. Absent that, college in America, for the smart crowd, at least, is nothing but a tremendous waste of time and money.
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Others think colleges are forces for good in the world. It's true, there's political activism on college campuses. There has always been political activism on college campuses. It's nothing new.

Many think colleges are a force for good because higher education works on both the personal and community level. For the student, college is a period of time for personal growth. They're exposed to new ideas, have their existing ideas challenged and learn how they can make an impact on their world. The vast majority of college students aren't activists, so worrying that colleges are harming society because of a handful of activists doesn't make sense. Most students are there to learn and get out as soon as they can before they accrue too much debt. 

Universities make their communities a better place through education. Here's how research economist Anna Valero puts it:

The university effect does seem to be related to increasing the supply of skilled graduates who raise productivity in the firms they work in. We also find that universities boost innovation (as measured by an increase in patenting).
Over a longer time frame, we find that higher university presence in a region is also associated with pro-democracy views among the people there. And this is not just among students or graduates, which suggests that there could be some kind of knock-on effect associated with universities through the diffusion of ideas into their surrounding areas.
FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Are colleges harming America?
#CollegesHurtAmerica
A festive crown for the winner
#CollegesHelpAmerica