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View Diary: The Path to Mediocrity in Higher Education: Florida Edition (56 comments)

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  •  Basic Problems (6+ / 0-)

    Though I agree with most of the correspondents objections to these right-wing recommendation for higher education in Florida, I would like to stress just a few institutional problems that have serious negative effects.
         1. The corporation model for public higher education. Instead of faculty having control over the curriculum and policy, the model now is top-down, with the president as overpaid CEO, a plethora of highly-paid administrators, with faculty as employees to be replaced as much as possible by minimum-wage part-timers with no rights, and students as customers to be pleased and placated. This is partly the fault of faculty who disdained to unionize and superstar professors who enjoy inflated salaries with very few students.
         2. The misguided attempt by conservative politicians and bureaucrats to privatize public education, presumably a major step in privatizing everything including the police, the prison system, fire fighting, and the armed services. The presumption is that if the private sector isn't making a profit, the scheme is socialistic. Public education for all has been a hallmark and necessary factor for insuring opportunity for all in our democracy.
         3. In the absurd situation in which teachers are retained, ranked, and rewarded by the scores their students make on standardized tests, most students expect to pass without doing any work. This results is college students who expect an A for coming to most classes and are shocked when asked to read four or five books in a semester. It is heartbreaking to have to inform a student that he or she needs to learn what a sentence is supposed to be, when they reply that they got As in high school "language arts."

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, Noor B, ladybug53

      with the issues you raise. On your issues...

      1. Yes, the unionization rates in Florida are very low. Part of that comes from a state government which has done everything it can to discourage unionization. Part of it is a sense among many administrators that unions are generally a bad thing (I've been branded a "union man" as a mid-level administrator because I've said that I think unions have a place in the university, and that a good collective bargaining agreement is a good thing).

      It's also true that there's an explosion of administrators, although there are various reasons for that. Some of it comes from a far greater reporting requirement, which affects every level. I know in my college, due to budget pressures the dean's office staff has been getting smaller, and my department certainly hasn't grown administratively. Not true at higher levels.

      President as CEO? Yup.

      The overall point about the corporate model is definitely a major problem, not just in the US but around the world, and one that I'm very worried about.

      2. Nothing to be said about your second point but Amen.

      3. And, I've had to deal with declining student abilities as well. Some of our best teachers get complaints when they teach honors classes because they expect too much.

      All good points.

      "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter." (Homer Simpson)

      by mitumba on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:31:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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