American Federation of Teachers

January 22, 2007 09:15 ET

Faculty Bias: Science or Propaganda? AFT Releases Report Evaluating Existing Research on One of the Most Controversial Issues in American Higher Education

WASHINGTON--(Collegiate Presswire - January 22, 2007) - The American Federation of Teachers today released a report titled "The 'Faculty Bias' Studies: Science or Propaganda?" The report finds that the most frequently cited research on alleged political bias in college faculty is severely flawed in its methodology and makes sweeping assumptions that invalidate its "findings."

"Objective research is essential, and clearly, that is not what we find in the studies analyzed in this report," said AFT President Edward J. McElroy. "It doesn't matter if you are conservative or liberal. Bad research and inaccurate characterizations are a disservice to academia and to the students who are its central concern."

William Scheuerman, an AFT vice president who heads up the AFT's Higher Education program and policy Council, added "Higher education professionals teach. They don't preach. They are committed to academic freedom and to the free exchange of ideas in the classroom." Scheuerman, who has testified on the issue before various state legislatures, added that most researchers understand how flawed the studies reviewed in the AFT's report truly are. Nonetheless, the inaccuracies of such research are often presented and accepted as fact. "The AFT believes that accuracy and scientific integrity matter, and that the public has a right to know when research falls short of the mark."

The report, which uses objective scientific criteria to evaluate studies on so-called "faculty bias" and its impact on the American higher education system, was written by Dr. John Lee. Lee is president of JBL Associates and has more than 25 years of bipartisan work experience in the fields of post-secondary education policy and quantitative/qualitative research. In the report, Lee notes that "Passing off personal opinion as fact is not science; it is the antithesis of what serious researchers try to do."

"The 'Faculty Bias' Studies: Science or Propaganda?" was sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers on behalf of Free Exchange on Campus. To download a copy of the report, go to www.aft.org/pubs-reports/higher_ed/FacultyBiasStudies.pdf.

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The American Federation of Teachers represents more than 1.3 million pre-K-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and other school staff; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other health professionals; and federal, state and local government employees.

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