Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why not just hand out diplomas like driver's licenses?

Here's a winning proposal from the Arizona legislature (Arizona SB 1331):

Each university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and each community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district shall adopt procedures by which students who object to any course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive shall be provided without financial or academic penalty an alternative course, alternative coursework, alternative learning materials or alternative activity. Objection to a course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive includes objections that the course, coursework, learning material or activity conflicts with the student's beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.
I don't even know where to begin critiquing this. Come to think of it, it's problems are so numerous and evident, I image a dozen have already flashed through your mind. This is the so-called "Academic Bill of Rights" taken to its extreme: the separation of college education from any underlying value or meaning.

Update: See The Volokh Conspiracy, Crooked Timber, and Leiter Reports for additional commentary.

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