Wednesday, November 02, 2011

College College Bobollege

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Joseph Knippenberg

That was the name game. Now we’re playing (and have been for quite some time) the blame game. The Occupiers, with some encouragement from Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House, have been blaming the financial industry for their woes.

There’s more than enough blame to go around. Consider, for example, Congress’ role in pumping air into the subprime bubble, whose bursting was one of the principal causes of our economic downturn.
But today, I want to talk about higher education, where the long and steep upward climb of tuition offers at least prima facie evidence of yet another bubble. We’ve been willing to pay more and more for our “higher” education because it was supposed to be the guarantee of a good job upon graduation (hence a good investment of time and money) and because the government’s willingness to subsidize it (thorough grants and guaranteed loans) would help insulate us from the real costs. the rest
With all this money and indebtedness floating around, it is difficult to talk about the real purposes of higher education. On the one hand are those who speak of the marketplace, which makes students consumers. This is a fundamental distortion of the teacher-student relationship and requires the illusion that students know what it is they need. At best, you get more or less sophisticated vocational education out of this. At worst, you get edutainment. On the other hand are those who would respond to these abuses by regulation, so that we educators give students what those who purport to speak for the taxpayers think they need. Again, the best possible result is more or less sophisticated vocational education. The worst is some sort of standardization and indoctrination.


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