Pro-Western Civ curriculum reform bill initially falters. Supporters don’t give up.

Pro-Western Civ curriculum reform bill initially falters. Supporters don’t give up.

Model legislation for ‘School of General Education’ aims to reform national higher education

Although an attempt to pass a bill in Utah to establish a School of General Education recently failed, those who argue that it is a real solution to leftist bias and curriculum inefficiencies in higher education argue that it was only the first blow in a much longer struggle.

“Other states are certainly considering legislation inspired by the Model General Education Act,” said Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who helped draft the model legislation behind the bill.

“It’s too early to go into detail about that,” he said The solution for the college in a recent email interview: “but I think it’s likely that at least one or two other states besides Utah will introduce legislation inspired by the GEA by 2025.”

In Utah, Senator John Johnson’s bill sought to establish just such a School of General Education at the University of Utah.

As originally conceived, it would create a core curriculum covering Western and world civilizations, economics, science, and American history, government, and literature—and universities may not add anything to that, The solution for the college Previously reported.

In fact, it would reduce enrollment in bizarre and esoteric humanities courses — often known for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical concepts of race theory — by requiring students to take the new core courses.

The bill failed to pass Utah’s first legislative session and failed to get out of committee in February.

“The bill, which critics said was an attack on academic freedom, failed to pass the Legislature after opposition — including from the Utah System of Higher Education,” Fox News in Salt Lake City reported.

Senator Johnson initially agreed to an interview with The solution for the college but has not responded in recent weeks.

Kurtz quoted Senator Johnson in a piece for the National assessment as he said: “It took four or five decades for forces hostile to the great tradition of Western education to effect their takeover of the university curriculum, so undoing their conquest is not a matter of one bill or one session.”

The idea behind the school is to establish a “common citizenship education that includes the exploration of fundamental moral and philosophical questions through a study of history and the greatest books of Western civilization and the world,” the developers say.

The new core curriculum would teach students “what they have in common as Americans — America’s ideals, institutions, beliefs, and civilization were born in the West, so students need to know the history and culture of the West in order to know the language of America itself,” Model Law co-founder David Randall, director of research at the National Association of Scholars, said in a webinar in the fall.

The model legislation was co-authored by Randall, Kurtz and another leading higher education reformer, Jenna Robinson, president of the North Carolina-based James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

The center continues to work to promote the proposal to state lawmakers and others seeking to “make university life freer, fairer, more rigorous, and more transparent,” center officials said in an email to advocates last week.

Kurtz told The solution These kinds of reforms are not implemented overnight.

“I expect Utah to see the GEA again in 2025,” he said via email. “Keep in mind that it took Utah two years to pass a bill to eliminate the DEI bureaucracy. I think a similar pattern will likely play out with a Utah GEA.”

Kurtz also explained to The solution that he imagines that private universities will gradually follow the example of public universities and legislation.

“Private universities could certainly develop programs inspired by the GEA model. It may not happen right away, but if more states pass laws along the lines of the GEA, private universities could follow suit in the future,” he said.

Critics of the bill included those responsible for its implementation, the president of the University of Utah and the Commissioner of Higher Education.

Kurtz reported for National assessment that critics were primarily concerned about bureaucratic issues and practical obstacles, but that they did not challenge the Legislature’s authority to make such curriculum changes. Republicans who voted against the bill told him that they “would gladly consider changing their vote in the next legislative session.”

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