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SJW Degrees Show Need for Education Reform

SJW Degree

Once upon a time, a college education was meant to prepare someone to enter the workforce. With the addition of SJW degrees, that time is coming to a close.

Amid increased politicization on college campuses, and the rise of the activist left, many colleges and universities are offering degree programs in social justice. The College Fix reports that more than 100 college campuses are now offering credit for studying social justice topics ranging from food culture and social justice to queer theory. This not only exacerbates a highly politicized environment – one that saw a professor at Evergreen State College, Bret Weinstein, accused of racism and blamed for campus unrest for objecting to a day of asking whites to leave the campus – but creates a large glut of future graduates who are going to have extremely limited job prospects in the future. Here are some of the programs offered:

At Oregon State University, you can minor in “food culture and social justice.” They describe the minor as one that “provides interdisciplinary academic classes in which students think critically about social justice and experiential learning activities in which students engage in the work of social justice. The program addresses local, national and international issues of social justice. A core of theory, case studies, and practice is combined with elective courses from across the College of Liberal Arts that address the following areas: histories, cultures and geographies of dominance; experiences of oppression; theories of justice; policies, institutions, and structures that promote or hinder equity; and collective action or processes of change leading to social justice.” Tuition costs for OSU range from $26,620 (in-state) to $45,100 (out-of-state) per semester.

The University of Massachusetts – Amherst offers a PhD in social justice that “is an interdisciplinary concentration of study with a focus on social diversity and social justice as they apply to formal and informal educational systems. It uses and generates research and theory to understand the sociocultural and historical contexts and dynamics of specific manifestations of oppression in social systems. These include but are not limited to racism, classicism, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, religious oppression, transgender oppression and youth oppression.” Full-time semester tuition at UMass-Amherst ranges from $7,806.50 (in-state) to $15,866.50 (out-of-state).

Fielding Graduate University also offers a PhD in social justice. “The doctoral concentration in Inclusive Leadership for Social Justice,” the website says, “is designed to develop more inclusive scholar-leaders who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to the complex ways that power and injustice manifest in organizations and communities in order to co-create a more just society.” Tuition at the institution ranges from $8,525 to $9,330 per semester.

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All of these programs – from supplemental classes to doctorate programs – aim to view the world through a lens of victimization and politicization: women, minorities, LGBTQ, and other groups are oppressed by a system beyond their control and agency. This mentality foments itself then in public and political activism that seeks to do away with perceived “injustices” in the public sphere. Since the election of Donald Trump, the political rhetoric from the progressive left has gotten increasingly violent and revolutionary; flooding the job market with graduates who spent four or more years of college immersed in a politically charged environment will only increase this rhetoric and, thus, the political divide in this nation.

College is supposed to be a time of learning to think critically and to engage in a robust exchange of ideas. Yet they’ve become places where certain thought – usually conservative thought – is shunned, punished, or unwelcome. Social justice degree programs will only skew already left-leaning campuses further to the left. Outright riots at the University of California – Berkeley over conservative speakers is more proof of this. At the California State University Los Angeles, black conservative students were called “coons” and “[expletive] retarded” by campus leftists. The left doesn’t want to hear ideas; it wants to manufacture them and shove them down the collective throats of its students.

And, back to the article from The College Fix, colleges are taking tens of thousands of tuition dollars each year to give degrees to students who will struggle in the job market post-graduation. Jenna Robinson of the Martin Center for Academic Renewal, said “They’re pigeonholing themselves into what is a pretty small fraction of the jobs that they can get in the future. I think working professionally as a social justice activist is the only job that would be really tailored for that major.”  Robinson recommends majoring in marketing or communications to get easily transferrable skills.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sees trends in construction, health care, and service sectors. Often, jobs in the service sectors do not pay well. Social work is also listed as a potential career field for those with social justice degrees (but social work often requires its own major); a social worker’s average salary is $54,239 according to Salary.com. The fastest growing industries, according to the BLS, include wind turbine service technicians, occupational therapy assistants, home health aides, nurse practitioners, ambulance drivers and attendants, personal financial advisors, and others.  None of these fields requires a social justice degree; some require other specific and scientific- or mathematic-minded majors. For years, the skilled trades – welders, electricians, and machinists – have seen a significant shortage of skilled and trained workers. Those careers often do not require a four-year degree, but apprenticeships, trade schools, or on-the-job training. Median annual pay for a welder starts at $38,150; electricians $51,880; machinists $42,110. Wind turbine technicians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, building inspectors are also some of the best-paying skilled trades jobs, according to Payscale.com.

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These jobs require a set of skills that go beyond analyzing “Feminist Perspectives on Race and Gender in the Media” (a course offered at Ohio Wesleyan University) and do not care whether or not you’re familiar with the intersectionality of your food and systemic oppression and the return on investment for educational dollars spent is then significantly higher than someone who spends $15,000 annually on a four-year degree for a job that makes $50,000 annually. And, once again, it behooves us to remember that student loan debt in America is at $1.3 trillion dollars, more than credit card debt.

Flooding the market with more essentially useless degrees means it’s increasingly likely that debt burden, and the number of borrowers unable to repay those loans will also increase. This may require a bailout – from taxpayers – and see a collapse and dramatic reform of the student loan system. This, in turn, would put a financial strain on universities that rely on student loans, and see the closure of a not insignificant number of colleges and universities. And there is the big problem: the financial ramifications of the student loan market, coupled with unemployable degrees, spell trouble not only for individuals but taxpayers and institutions as well. Of course, the social justice left will not see these ramifications as a result of poor choices and ignorance of market forces. Like their programs, they will blame some systemic oppression for the failure.

Reform needs to come from institutions, who watch the job market trends and offer classes geared towards those fields; from students, who seriously analyze their career path and make economically sound decisions; and from the government, who need to limit loans to practical degree areas (based on the job market trends), rather than on degrees in underwater basket weaving and social justice.

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Amy Curtis
About Amy Curtis 29 Articles
I am a mom, nursing student, and conservatarian. I've been a teacher and have a MA in English. I live in Milwaukee, WI (for now) and look forward to starting fresh in a new city soon. When I'm not working or in class, look for me soon at The Binge!

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