Saturday, September 07, 2013

This blog is defunct, but the mission continues

Pretty much everything I tried to say last year about excessive cost in higher ed was said much better by Thomas Frank, last year in Harpers & this year in The Baffler

I don't have much of anything to add to his prescription:

What ought to happen is that everything I’ve described so far should be put in reverse. College should become free or very cheap. It should be heavily subsidized by the states, and robust competition from excellent state U’s should in turn bring down the price of college across the board. Pointless money-drains like a vast administration, a preening president, and a quasi-professional football team should all be plugged up. Accrediting agencies should come down like a hammer on universities that use too many adjuncts and part-time teachers.

Or, alas, to his expectation:

What actually will happen to higher ed, when the breaking point comes, will be an extension of what has already happened, what money wants to see happen. Another market-driven disaster will be understood as a disaster of socialism, requiring an ever deeper penetration of the university by market rationality. Trustees and presidents will redouble their efforts to achieve some ineffable “excellence” they associate with tech and architecture and corporate sponsorships. There will be more standardized tests, and more desperate test-prep. The curriculum will be brought into a tighter orbit around the needs of business, just like Thomas Friedman wants it to be. Professors will continue to plummet in status and power, replaced by adjuncts in more and more situations. An all-celebrity system, made possible by online courses or some other scheme, will finally bring about a mass faculty extinction—a cataclysm that will miraculously spare university administrations. And a quality education in the humanities will once again become a rich kid’s prerogative. 


Susan of Texas said...

I dragged my sorry self back to blogging--so can you.

I agree about the future of universities; it's inevitable with this level of income inequality. Either we'll start bypassing corporate education and create our own system or a lot of people will be permanently poorer.

Downpuppy said...

You have commenters. I have spam. It took a year, but I accepted the troof.