In his June 2 letter, “Students getting leftist propaganda,” Ricky Lee Jackson asserts that after hearing one commencement address at WSU Vancouver, he can generalize that all college students are getting anti-American, leftist views from what he refers to as “so-called educators.” Jackson should be celebrating the fact that our college graduates have been taught to recognize the difference between factual evidence and sweeping generalizations based on anecdotal examples.
As one of those “so-called educators,” I teach my students the ability to reason and think critically. I teach them to evaluate propaganda (from both the left and the right) with careful consideration of its logic and to disregard that which is based on insufficient evidence or extreme unsubstantiated opinion. I teach them that one example does not an epidemic make.
College instructors, for the most part, are in the business of teaching our students to process information. We give them the skills necessary to understand the difference between opinion and fact. By arming them with the ability to listen with an open mind to the views expressed in a commencement address, for example, they can make informed decisions about whether or not to alter previously held beliefs and ideas when confronted with opposing viewpoints.
Dave Kosloski, Vancouver