Taking "The Point" to School
Okay, we admit it. “The Counterpoint” let our guard down, and we got burned. In catching up with the backlog of “Point” commentaries delivered since Labor Day, we skipped over what seemed like a relatively harmless entry. We should know better than to think anything Hyman says is without ulterior motive.
Hyman spent an edition of "The Point" touting a book called “Choosing the Right College” published by an outfit called Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Sounds pretty harmless, right? And Hyman simply suggests that this reference book can offer a level-headed assessment of colleges and universities that you won’t get from the glossy brochures the schools use to tempt prospective students.
What he doesn’t say is that this book, although masquerading as a general reference book, is in fact a highly conservative tome designed to lead people to schools that don’t have anything as insidious on campus as an African-American studies program or a Gay and Lesbian student organization. The fact that the introduction is written by William “Snake Eyes” Bennett should tell you all you need to know: this book is written by and for people who are paranoid that the average college or university is a hotbed of radical leftism (although Hyman carefully avoids any hint that the book is anything but objective).
But we haven’t had the opportunity to read the book ourselves, so we’ll defer to a couple of people who have, reviewers from Amazon.com and BookMarc.com respectively:
“When I bought the 1st edition, I really believed in this book. By the time we
got through the application/admission process, based upon our real experience of
visiting schools, talking to teachers and adminstrators, and sitting in on
classes, I saw it as a very slanted source of information about schools, some of
which was good, but most of which misleads the reader in the direction of the
editor's viewpoint. It made me feel embarrassed to call myself conservative.
Initially, I was too worried about what the college environment would do to my
son. The truth is that as a parent you have either raised them with the correct
values or you haven't, and what happens to your child in college is feedback on
your job performance, not the college's.”
“I found this book very strange. It is misrepresenting itself as a general
college guide. The only people who would find it helpful are neo-conservatives
whose only criteria in choosing a university is that it not have any "feminists"
or "multiculturalism" on campus. It covers over 100 schools, dividing each
review into 3 sections: academic life, political atmosphere, and student life.
The reviews are rather brief and do not offer any helpful information (size,
location, admissions, etc.) that could not be found in other college guides. The
other information presented is highly editorialized. The authors seem a bit
obsessed with bringing up random sexual harassment lawsuits, and the phrase
"politically correct" appears on nearly every page. It's also obvious they have
not done a lot of interviewing of current students and faculty.”
And those are The Counterpoints.