June 24, 2024


Make Business Yours

Pallbearers At The Funeral of Higher Education

Accreditation as compared to education is a topic/situation that continues to germinate in our country today. Our future posterity is based solely upon the whims and needs of corporate America – so it seems.

Let’s take a look at the demise of our educational system as opinionated by several Philly college professors, shall we…

There is a lot of hope. “Something’s going to change,” says Randy LoBasso of Professor Debra Leigh Scott. “We’ve reached a tipping point – we’ve lost knowledge!” She says the ability to transmit knowledge is a huge thing to lose. No one seems to be able to grasp the importance of what it means to lose the ability to properly transmit knowledge to another – especially a younger person, students in particular. Is there a winner? Is there someone, something, some entity that will benefit from the death of education?

The American Association of University Professors, in a report, have found from 1975 to 2003, the number of tenured track positions in higher education have fallen from 56.8% down to 35.1%, according to LoBasso. About one million professors nationwide have the skills to teach up to eleven classes per college semester at any number of schools. The (aforementioned), number of classes may seem like one hell of an enormous workload – with the three thousand dollar a class pay check, could any teacher make ends meet? The decline of full-time professorships, since the 1970’s, have slapped many a teacher in the face with a reality check.

The report continues to point out the realization of students having to resort to email messaging exchanges between teacher and student. “Students have little to no personal access to faculty beyond the classroom,” says the interviewed professor. Scott says, “The student learning under an overburdened professor may be worse off – being taught by dedicated but demeaned professors who have no offices, who are hired semester-by-semester by today’s colleges and universities for wages lower than the pay checks of employees of K- Mart or McDonald’s.”

Professor Scott espouses those sentiments based on the current report and experience of a blog that chronicled another person’s jobs at various universities in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area. “We’re all being screwed by the corporatized universities – where the needs of the students and the value of professors are minimized by the pursuit of profit – a profit that benefits neither.

The death of “Student – Teacher – Administration relationships at American University,” (i.e., “Planned Disenfranchisement; Interdepartmental Communication Conspiracy – Failure or A Simple Mistake?”- 8.18.2007) Scott says, relies on contingent workers and outsourcing – just like an American corporation. The professor and an associate said they’ve found evidence of corporations moving in and taking over what’s being taught in the college and university classrooms. Many sharp and deep cuts in and of state educational grants and budgets have forced universities to rely more and more on corporate donations – they come with contingents…strings attached. The corporate string-holders want research subjects for pharmaceutical companies – making large donations that are tax deductible. They then guide graduate students into conducting research at the behest of said corporations. The students, unwittingly, become low-paid or unpaid indentured labor on behalf of big pharmaceutical companies.

After graduating and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, (and according to The Financial Aid Organization’s Student Loan Debt Clock, about 88.2 billion dollars is owed) they become trained frightened, slave-like robots, obedient workers who can only find work at the very corporations who have funded the labs, buildings, and scholarships of schools to which they attend.

The circumstances of this created culture in which “cheating and laziness” on both students and teachers, have become the norm in recent years. It is also perpetuated by the outsourcing climate and its dependency on and by the college and universities financial and hiring decision makers. Currently, online companies who base their existence and continuity around writing student papers have become extremely industrialized participants. These companies generate hundreds of thousands of dollars by cheating-creating so-called original essays based on specific instructions provided by other cheating student’s writing. A pseudonym author stated in an article by ‘Inside Higher Education,’ “You would be amazed by the incompetence of student’s writing. I have seen the word ‘desperate’ misspelled every which way you can imagine – and these students…couldn’t write a convincing grocery list, yet they are in graduate school.”

Damn…and you thought it was bad at the high school level, huh?

In another interview that was conducted, a faculty member of a college in Cleveland commented, “I have to believe the university system can be saved. I have kids and I’m not going to stand by and watch their educational future become defunct.” In other words, the dead raising the dead.

Experience gets you nowhere these days. For the past twenty years another college professor says, while working as a part-time professor of English, at several colleges in the Philly area, she found time to publish a book and provide editing, writing, and corporate coaching services to business clients. She’s even written plays, which eventually were produced. Albeit, by the time the market crashed in 2008, her resume wasn’t enough. She lost her upscale suburban home and had to move into an apartment with strangers she found an online apartment-listing site on the Internet. “I was like a lot of people, she says, you believe you’re going to find a full-time position – you really think it’s going to happen – then you realize it’s not going to happen…it’s a horrible day.”

Years ago, as I reflect upon this writing, as a struggling student at CCP, I had the opportunity to cross paths with one such part-timer who was assigned to teach English 101. I knew, as an overworked individual, this teacher was stressed. The teacher even made and announcement to the class that she had several run-ins with students of Color. She went on to say the aforementioned group had threatened her. This particular teacher also proved that she was confrontational, biased, and disillusioned based on her experiences with ethnic groups. This woman actually accused me of plagiarism…a paper that I submitted for a writing assignment. Now how does one plagiarize one’s self? I submitted an English essay from a previous class – to which I had received an ‘A.’ I wrote the paper for an assignment from another class at the school – a business class. The paper was based on an experience encountered during my tenure in the transportation industry. It was a good essay, I must admit. Needless to say, I did not pass her English 101 course. I suffered the first, only, and last ‘F’ in an array of A’s, B’s throughout my college career…due to racism! Complaints were, of course, filed to no avail.

English compositions were always a strong point for me throughout school – from elementary through high school. In my opinion, we need to return to the basics of education on all levels – beginning with kindergarten – or we face a never-ending trend towards the educational graveyard and coming in dead last when benchmarked with the educational world at large.

Til next time…