Monday, June 17, 2013

Depressing Read

A pretty compelling case.  It's hard for lots of [liberals] to imagine something this well organized over this time frame, but Republican [elite] have demonstrated a remarkable ability to do this very thing.  (Now, it may be unraveling on them in some ways, as, thanks to the Tea Party, the crazies are taking over the asylum, but still...)

So I don't know how much of this is coordinated and how much of it is coincidence, but I'm a fair bit younger than the writer, and I noticed a difference in university education between when I started undergrad and when I finished graduate school.

Chemistry isn't necessarily the best position to see the whole problem (because research brings in lots of money and prestige to universities, professors there are not quite as hard hit as in other areas of study) so steps 1 and 3 are the ones I've most noticed.

Step 4 is almost a consequence of #s 1 and 3, though that doesn't make it less insidious, just something that maybe needn't be addressed independently.  I think if the first 3 things are fixed then this goes away (I also think that fixing 1 and 3 will fix 2 as well, but that's somewhat less certain).

The fifth step is one that I really want to address: "Destroy the Students."

Again, a lot of this is related to the earlier issues: if professors are poorly paid, then the education they provide will suffer as a consequence, and with all the money being pulled from state/federal budgets, and the administration and coaches needing their money, it has to come from somewhere, hence: lower quality education that costs more. 

That said, I think she misses one thing, though it is hinted at in the propaganda section: reinforcement.  In talking about the need or value of getting a degree, we are not actually at the point, that it isn't "worth it" and the reason is that companies doing hiring prefer college educated employees.  There is preferential hiring of people with degrees over those without even when the job requirements hardly necessitate that level of education.  This reinforcement of the need for a college degree by various corporations and businesses means that the current level of debt being assumed is, in reality, "worth it." 

Overall, I think that if steps 1 and 3 are remedied then the rest would follow, but it will take a lot of work.  It took 40+ years to undermine higher education.  Fixing it will take an equal effort.

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