7-2-10: Mediocrity the Norm at Military Academies?

July 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm 2 comments

In Annapolis, the plebes are settling in.  The US Naval Academy’s Class of 2014 was inducted Thursday–more than 1,200 freshman.  They came amid headlines about a report by the Navy’s Inspector General criticizing a slush fund that Academy leaders used for entertainment and recruiting.  The Navy’s top spokesman said the report is “a factor” in the early retirement of the current superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler, who will retire in September.

About a month ago, an English professor at the Naval Academy wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asserting, ‘mediocrity is the norm’ at Annapolis, West Point and the other military academies — and they should be reformed or shut down.  We invited Bruce Fleming to discuss his view of what’s wrong with the Naval Academy, where he has taught English for 23 years.

Entry filed under: Annapolis, On Air, Policy. Tags: , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  July 2, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I read the original OP-ED piece and I heard the discussion this morning.

    As a graduate, I am concerned this professor has chosen to take his case to the media and the public rather than the institution he works for…

    As a graduate, it is a conceit of the instructional staff that they understand the life of midshipman and the experience of the midshipman.

    USNA staffs the instructional ranks with civilian professors and highly qualiified ones rather than military instructors (USMA) in order to provide the level of education desired by the nation of military leaders – is this professor saying he does not provide the level of instruction and quality of instruction he would provide at a simlilar university?

    And yes, my grades would have been better if I had gotten more sleep, not studied ME, and not been a varsity track athlete.

    But that was my experience and it has served me well.

  • 2. david eberhardt  |  July 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Ever since the end o Marc Steiner I have been alert to YPR’s similar mediocrity (similar to the Academies (military after all) – the lack of critical thinking in coverage- especially local. Of course- in a military state and military culture- you go where the bread is buttered.
    Now and again I hear something good from you that gives me hope.
    I’d send this to others at the station- what good would it do? People ask for feedback but only- as w Rodricks- want positive, boosterish, smarmy, unreal feedback.
    You plan to give all sides of the story re the Fleming take on the Naval Academy? Why? He’s obviously nailed it. This- we give all sides, meaning we give a lot of lousy, untrue sides- is part of yours and NPR’s sctick.
    I will also exclude Smith and Hall from my barbs- but-
    as I said- what good does it do?

    Dave Eberhardt, poet/activist in balto

    cc- Fleming and
    various others


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