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Will the 'New School' arrive in time to save American higher education?

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Two-thirds of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to the RealClearPolitics average of major surveys on the issue.

The other third might well change their minds if they could attend this year's Modern Language Association convention in Chicago, beginning Thursday.

The MLA represents thousands of college professors teaching literature, English and humanities. Or rather, they used to teach those core disciplines of the liberal arts education.

Race, class, gender

Nowadays, MLA is a fetid gathering of closed-minded advocates of suppression of academic freedom and extermination of Western civilization. Instead of Shakespeare and Plutarch, they dish out endless far-left propaganda masquerading as scholarship.

As Heather MacDonald wrote Friday in the Wall Street Journal, as things now stand on the typical college campus, "course catalogs today babble monotonously of group identity ... [at UCLA, for example] courses in Women of Color in the U.S.; Women and Gender in the Caribbean; Chicana Feminism; Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures; and Feminist and Queer Theory."

These academics don't think much of freedom of speech or the press, either. The Daily Caller, a conservative media outlet that often covers campus issues, was denied credentials to cover the Chicago convention. No reason was given for the rejection.

Useless college degrees

When corporations try to pass off junk as quality, sooner or later consumers get wise and shop elsewhere. Instapundit.com founder and law professor Glenn Reynolds sees something similar happening now on campus.

Paralleling the rise of ideology in place of liberal arts are skyrocketing tuition costs, rising unemployment among recent graduates and a growing realization that today's college degree is about as valuable as the previous generation's high school diploma.

Reynolds' new book -- "The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself" -- describes the many alternative approaches that are springing up and that eventually will leave the MLA campus consciousness in the dustbin of history.

It's a book well worth reading for two reasons: One, it's a reminder of the endless creativity of free minds in the free market and, two, as Reynolds notes throughout his work, something that can't go on, won't.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: State attorneys general tell Obama he must enforce Obamacare as it is written.

Hugh Hewitt: Hard-left turn will lead to a dead-end for Democrats.

Gregory Kane: The war on drugs isn't worth the collateral damage.

James Jay Carafano: On immigration reform, start with what's doable to avoid lasting bitterness.

David M. Drucker: Republicans are confident Obamacare is a winning issue for them in 2014.

Joseph Lawler: Gov. Scott Walker says minimum wage push because Democrats are desperate to talk about anything other than Obamacare.

In other news

The Washington Post: Koch-backed network that shields donors raised more than $400 million in 2012.

The New York Times: Kerry says Iran might play a role in Syria peace talks.

NBC News: Obama's Sperling pushing spending "grand bargain."

CBS News' "60 Minutes": Washington, Silicon Valley have little to show for cleantech green energy investments.

Boston Herald: Romney compares Putin's Sochi bid to Hitler's Olympics.

New York Post: Cuomo foe rips him on legal pot.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: Liz Cheney dropping Senate bid.

Washington Monthly: Reformish conservative agenda in holding pattern.

Huffington Post: Is Obamacare suffering Republican obstruction or needless blunders?

Bonus must-read

New Republic: How Obamacare paves the way to single-payer.

Righty Playbook

American Thinker: Obama's war against the elderly.

The Weekly Standard: A tale of two judges.

Powerline Blog: The Little Sisters of the Poor fight back.

Bonus must-read

National Interest: A jobs agenda for the Right.