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View Diary: Costs of Higher Education and Costs of Ignorance (42 comments)

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  •  Yup (8+ / 0-)

    I agree with about 99% of what you wrote.  There is some bloat (upper administration, but not the staff).  There are some very odd priorities for students (football and very cushy dorms), and there are some incredibly stupid choices made on campuses (building state of the art facilities and filling them with less than stellar researchers).

    All that said, most of the increase in costs at universities are out of their control, and the rise in costs is mostly a result of diverting funds from schools to prisons.  

    We must support education, it is a public service as much as roads, bridges or sewers.  Universities will never pay their way with patents and is not a money-maker--at least not for the people doing the educating.  What education does allow is companies to hire people who already know how to read, do math, physics, law, economics, biology, etc, etc, etc.

    But sadly, this country has become so cheap that it can no longer see the value of an educated populace...and so we may no longer have one.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:33:20 PM PDT

    •  Prisons or Colleges (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, sometimes I think that our public universities should put bars on the windows and then try to get public support under the corrections budget.

      The astonishingly sad truth is that for some sectors of the population, prison is a much more likely future than college.

      And in many correctional facilities, educational opportunities, critical to reducing the rate of recidivism, are being eliminated due to budget cuts or because the role of housing inmates is being privatized and the corporations running the private prisons have no incentive to provide educational programming.

    •  Less than stellar researchers? (9+ / 0-)

      You had me until that comment. The job market for Ph.Ds (especially in the sciences, where the state-of-the-art facilities are) is more competitive than it's ever been in the history of ever.

      When the generation of scientists who taught my dad graduated, they were basically assured of a tenure-track position somewhere on graduation. My dad's generation (class of '88) missed that train (much to their chagrin, since all of their mentors had promised it), but they still had a pretty solid career path from grad school to one or two post-docs to a permanent research-related position in either government or industry.

      Now, most new grads end up either working outside of their field or running an endless post-doc treadmill or taking non-tenure-track or non-research teaching jobs. Hiring for research positions is viciously competitive, with high double (sometimes triple) digit numbers of highly qualified applicants. Only "stellar" researchers get jobs in academia.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 12:46:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  fair enough, and you are right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, jakedog42

        I wrote that badly and meant it say something else.  As written though, you are right.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:34:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Market for PhDs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Empty Vessel

        When I used the word "grad," I was actually referring to students who graduated with a bachelor's degree, not to students in graduate school pursing a doctoral degree.

        I think that many of the graduate programs in the US are caught in a bind, too:  they need to bring in large groups of graduate students to teach courses at a cheaper rate than what is paid to the full-time faculty (graduate student teaching assistants) in order to teach the large groups of students typical in introductory courses in the big public universities (think "survey of American history" or "Psych 101").  They can't possibly hire enough faculty to teach all those students.

        But then the doctoral students complete their doctoral degrees and face an extraordinarily bad market.

        The older faculty aren't retiring because their 401Ks and pensions have been decimated by the economic collapse of 2008-2009.  And the colleges and universities, with funding cuts from the states, can't afford to replace those who do retire with new full-time faculty - so they hire contingent faculty (part-timers) and more graduate student teaching assistants because it's cheaper.

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