I am dismayed.
The works of William Shakespeare have endured – until now – as some of the most important in the English language. His impacts are seen everywhere.
I can immediately recall, for example, the “unkindest cut” line appearing in a scene from the movie “Seabiscuit.” Shakespeare’s “We band of brothers” has been referenced many times in movies and books across the years, as well. I am sure our readers can cite many more examples of how Shakespeare impacted many areas of society stretching far beyond the movie arts. His humor and human insights are legendary.
Thus, news in a new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni comes as a major disappointment.
The new report says that the majority of the top universities in the US no longer require a course in Shakespeare for their English majors.
Per the new report:
“Today, a mere 4 of these 52 colleges and universities require English majors to take a course focused on Shakespeare. Those institutions are: Harvard, University of California-Berkeley, U.S. Naval Academy, and Wellesley College.”
Schools like Princeton University, Yale University, Columbia University and Stanford University, to name only a few, apparently no longer think The Bard has much value for an English major!
This is going to further increase the cultural ignorance of future generations of college students. The impact on our K to 12 students already began, of course, with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards and its major de-emphasis of reading literature. I guess that just reflects the fact that soon very few college graduates, even from Ivy League schools, will be able to teach Shakespeare, anyway.
What kinds of people are making these decisions?