Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Reforming Mid East Studies

Since 9-11 there's been a brave attempt to stem Title VI taxpayer money going to radical Mid East programs at various universities. In Title VI: Let the games begin! Martin Kramer gives us a brief history of the struggle and a status report.

"The program, as initially conceived in the 1950s, was supposed to produce grads fluent in foreign languages, who would go on to serve the country's growing need for area expertise. But over the decades, service-averse academics turned it into a slush fund for subsidizing their pet grad students, who were being groomed for academe. Trendy theory replaced language proficiency as selection criteria. And some centers plowed the money into bogus "outreach"--university-based programs that siphoned taxpayer money to off-campus radicals, who used it to propagandize K-12 teachers."

The reformers, led by Kramer, proposed that an advisory board, appointed by congress, be created to oversee the millions of dollars in taxpayer money being thrown at Mid East studies. The radical profs and their supporters, keen to queer the oversight, proposed an alternative:

"Two years ago, a Columbia dean, Lisa Anderson, proposed that the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies assess Title VI, as an alternative to a Congressionally-appointed board. (You remember Dean Anderson, don't you? She was Joseph Massad's thesis advisor and supporter, and she raised the secret money for the Edward Said Chair.) Anderson had a line into the NRC: she had just served on an NRC panel to investigate aspects of terrorism. She floated the NRC idea to journalist Todd Gitlin, and Columbia's in-house lobbyist also amplified it: "We feel that an advisory board with goals set by an independent body such as the National Academy of Sciences would make most sense." This proposal went up to Senate Democrats, who dropped it into the FY 04 appropriation for the Ed Department. Congress ended up earmarking $1.5 million for a contract with the NRC, for a review of Title VI."

What a scam. Too bad we don't have any Republicans in Congress to raise a public stink about this.


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