Say No to Student Fees

When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups. 

A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which you are fundamentally opposed to is most certainly committing injustice. At Intellectual Takeout, we are opposed to funding interest groups' activities with student fees. Should anyone be surprised that tempers flare when money is taken from Muslims and atheists to fund Christian groups like Campus Crusade? Should anyone be surprised that tempers flare when money is taken from conservatives and libertarians to fund the International Socialist Organization? Of course not. Everyone should recognize the injustice.

Sadly, those sorts of things happen regularly on campuses across the country. On occasion, the amount of money various student-led interest groups receive is often in the tens of thousands of dollars range. Some even receive close to $100,000.

There are those who argue that, as long as the schools are taking money from students and redistributing it to various student-led interest groups that conservative and libertarian student groups should get a slice of the pie. Many others argue that taking the money corrupts the conservative or libertarian student group by diminishing the credibility of the message. Whatever your position, if you are interested in reading more about the nuances of redistributing student fees (and you should), the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a very thoughtful piece available here.

This topic is not a new one and has been battled out in the courts on a number of occasions. And while the courts have continued to uphold the constitutionality of mandatory student fees funding student-led interest groups at public universities, there is still action you can take.

We propose that you push for the elimination of using student fees to fund political, religious, or other interest groups on your public or private college campus. How you do this will depend upon on your school's governance. Potentially, students may be able vote on how student fees are distributed. Before you can put together a petition to change student fee distribution, you're going to have to win the hearts and minds of your fellow students. You'll have to write letters to the editor, start discussion groups, pass out literature, and do informal polling on the issue to raise awareness. Once you do a petition, even if it fails, keep going. Your effort will continue to get the issue in front of other students.

Entrenched interest groups are never easy to dislodge. Once an organization realizes that it can get easy money by force, it won't let go easily. You can expect the same on campus. Groups getting funds will likely oppose you, maybe even some supposedly conservative or libertarian groups. Through it all keep your chin up and remember that justice is on your side. And, of course, let Intellectual Takeout know what you're up to. If we can, we're happy to help.

 

 

 

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Commentary or Blog Post

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Here is their combined effort....

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This brief introduction to Dewey's ideas asserts that the "most common misunderstanding about Dewey is that he was simply supporting progressive education. Progressive education, according to Dewey, was a wild swing in the philosophical pendulum, against traditional education methods.In progressive education, freedom was the rule, with students being...

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In light of recent school violence, Woiceshyn takes a closer look at the progressive education philosophy. This philosophy "maintains that the cause of social strife is the unwillingness of an individual to sacrifice his convictions to the group. Dewey maintained that it is the insistence on distinctions such as 'true versus false' and 'right versus wrong'...

Emand and Fraser offer a helpful piece on Dewey's theories, which may often be confusing and seemingly contradictory. The article lays out a question, and then answers it with several quotes from various writings by John Dewey.

Gatto describes a plan developed by "Gary, Indiana, Superintendent William A. Wirt, a former student of John Dewey’s at the University of Chicago...in which school subjects were departmentalized; this required movement of students from room to room on a regular basis so that all building spaces were in constant use. Bells would ring and just as with Pavlov’s...

Anderson defines and highlights the legacies of Progressivism. He mentions two early Progressive leaders, Teddy Roosevelt and John Dewey. According to Anderson, Roosevelt exemplified the Progressives desire for a stronger executive branch and Dewey represented the Progressives dislike of a decentralized educational system. Anderson highlights 1913 as a key year because of the establishment of...

Analysis Report White Paper

Taking a markedly pro-Dewey stance, Novack discusses Dewey's international impact on educational reform as well as the necessity of such reform. Honoring what would have been Dewey's 100th birthday, Novack calls for further implementation of his theories and reforms.

"This historic context study spans more than a hundred years and the approximately 140 buildings constructed, acquired, maintained, expanded, and sometimes removed by the Minneapolis Board of Education between 1849 and 1962."

Taking a rigid free-market stance on education, Hood examines the inefficiencies and failures of America's public education system. Rather than siding with one group in particular over the matter, he finds numerous problems - monopoly of the system, centralized decision-making, tenure - which contribute to the downfall of such a system.

"Wirt devised a diverse curriculum to prepare youth for the new emerging industrial state, and a significant part of Wirt's innovative currciulum included sports, games, and play activities. Wirt referred to his system as a work-study-play school, but it was also termed as the Gary plan and platoon school."

Field gives an in depth look at Dewey, including analysis on Dewey's social theories, the public's reception of him, and his thoughts on learning and education. From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the article is cited thoroughly and examines Dewey and his philosophies with a keen academic eye.

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McCluskey discusses current social conflicts in American public schools and then explores the history of American schooling from the Founding until now.

Video/Podcast/Media

From the description: "This is a group project for teachers about the history of education from 1900-1950."

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"A quick expose of why public schools in the US are mediocre. From John Dewey to now in only 4 minutes."

Primary Document

Arguably Dewey's most controversial essay, Impressions describes Soviet Russia in a strikingly positive light. Writing just as Stalin assumed official leadership, Dewey, despite finding some slightly troublesome qualities of the regime, recognized a certain legitimacy of the Soviet system. Though he...

In this piece Dewey truly does lay out his own "creed" on education, even beginning each paragraph with, "I believe."  Using his extensive background in psychology and combining it with his social philosophy, Dewey presents five sections concerning education:
1)      What Education Is
2)     ...

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In late 1936 and early 1937 the famous educational theorist John Dewey issued a set of rebuttals to Robert Hutchins' book, The Higher Learning in America. Hutchins' book...

In late 1936 and early 1937 the famous educational theorist John Dewey issued a set of rebuttals to Robert Hutchins' book, The Higher Learning in America. Dewey uses his...

In this work, Lewis defends a universal law of morality.

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Books

FAQs

This FAQ provides some background on education in Minnesota, which in turn will help one to understand today's state of education.

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