Total Pageviews

Monday, August 13, 2012

Education Debate Entered on Facebook

A Facebook friend posted this link today, and I felt compelled to respond.
Very imteresting read..and I'd particularly like to see what Amy F has to say on this subject.

    • Duncan C. McDougall If our universities had championed free thought, intellectual rigor, and truly broad, unbiased cultural and historical studies, I would mourn with you. A few great private universities still do so. But, the role of too many public and private colleges has become simply to inventory for four or five years the unemployed youth of America, keeping them paying (and borrowing), and passing them in their courses no matter how little they read, how little they care, and how ill-prepared they were upon entering. The collapse of American education is an unforeseen effect of women's liberation. Fifty years ago, the women at the top of the class became teachers. Today they are becoming MDs, PhDs, bankers, lawyers, managers, financiers, and CEOs, and a much lower cut of the population is choosing primary and secondary school teaching as a career. I applaud equal opportunity, but I believe that our society must find a way to make teaching attractive to the top ten percent of students, or our school systems will continue to erode. Want to know why Johnny can't do math? It is because his teacher can't do math! Want to know why Jane can't spell? It is because in first grade, her teacher praised her, without also correcting her, for having phonetically "sounded out" and written "gote" under a picture of a goat. The degree to which our educational system is broken, and the complexity of the issues involved, truly boggle the mind. But I am quite sure it is not due to the exploitation of adjunct teachers. I started my teaching career as an adjunct. So have many, many professors in professional schools. We taught in the evenings, after doing our "day jobs." We did not mind the token pay, for teaching was for us a way of "giving back" to society. Many adjunct professors do an outstanding job, and bring real-world perspective into the classroom. I believe that the article linked above is a written by a sad and narrow-viewed unionist. I can say from personal experience of some thirty years in higher education, that accusing "the establishment" of consciously destroying the universities is nonsense. The establishment in America mourns the great institutions that used to say to the freshmen, "Look to your left, look to your right, only one of the three of you will be here next term." In that era, society thrived and grew. Only the meritorious earned academic honors, a "gentleman's C" was a respectable grade, and a college degree, when combined with a healthy work ethic, was a ticket to prosperity. The egalitarian ethos of the "social justice" movement ran a few correlations, learned that a college degree could be associated with a major boost in lifetime income, and concluded that everyone should have a college degree. (The Wizard of Oz to the Scarecrow: "You don't need a brain, you need a diploma!") The result: a far greater percentage of high school graduates went to college, the colleges grew and multiplied for five decades, and their standards eroded. I am proud of my University because my recording of the grades earned in my Management Accounting courses by the undergraduate business students, which averaged within one-tenth of a point of 2.0 (an average of "C") for thirty-odd years, was never criticized. My students in the 1970s dubbed me "Flunkin' Duncan," and my department chairman called me the quality control manager of the business programs. I wonder how many of us dinosaurs remain active! (Thus endeth the Rant.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please use no profanity in your comments. My granddaughter and other young people will be reading this blog. Thank you.