Friday, December 16, 2005

Universities Colonized

State Universities Use Part-Time Professors

For yet another in a long series of stories on the declining state of the professing profession in the U.S. due to the "New University of Excellence" designed by MBA management, see the article above with details about Oregon. The short version: social funding is down because the rich need to get richer despite massive war funding and factory closings; meanwhile class sizes and tuition costs are rising, yet professors are now paid less for more hours as part-time temp workers without even health insurance. Where is all the money going? Journalists have yet to inquire into that minor trivia. The faculty response? An funky ostrich imitation. They often reject unions since they haven't yet realized that they are paid less than plumbers and construction workers, moreover that they are now managed by accountants who are worried about keeping the customers formerly-known-as-students coming back. Such facts are avoided by the usual bourgeois illusions of self-reliance and cultural dignity.

Those young customers now assume that the university is supposed to train them for a comfy position in a corporation. Education = exchange value on the open market. Yet those same corporations have legally maneuvered to avoid funding their own staff training, which now comes down to the individual person paying for their own corporate training, and then working for the next 30 years to pay off the student loan.
Alas for the ideal of the university now sadly worn out under this calculated colonization by capitalism. You can still even today get a good liberal arts education, but my complaint is that you have to fight against the university system in order to do so. The status quo now is a lot of watered down Power Points spoon fed in fragments to bored semi-literate customers by harried parttime instructors -- a perfect preparation for the same world they must work in to pay for this "education".

And that's it for today's news from the U.

{photo from anti-capitalist global protest in Hong Kong, 2005}


At 4:44 PM, Blogger E. Heroux said...

By coincidence, the New York Times later today reports that
"Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds"

The average American college graduate's literacy in English declined significantly over the past decade, according to results of a nationwide test released yesterday.

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, given in 2003 by the Department of Education, is the nation's most important test of how well adult Americans can read.

The test also found steep declines in the English literacy of Hispanics in the United States, and significant increases among blacks and Asians.

When the test was last administered, in 1992, 40 percent of the nation's college graduates scored at the proficient level, meaning that they were able to read lengthy, complex English texts and draw complicated inferences. But on the 2003 test, only 31 percent of the graduates demonstrated those high-level skills. There were 26.4 million college graduates.

The college graduates who in 2003 failed to demonstrate proficiency included 53 percent who scored at the intermediate level and 14 percent who scored at the basic level, meaning they could read and understand short, commonplace prose texts.

Three percent of college graduates who took the test in 2003, representing some 800,000 Americans, demonstrated "below basic" literacy, meaning that they could not perform more than the simplest skills, like locating easily identifiable information in short prose.
. . . .

Among blacks and Asians, English literacy increased from 1992 to 2003.


I had to remind myself several times that this is not about high school grads, but college grads. If anyone cares, my attitude is that just about anyone and almost everyone should be given a chance to succeed in college, but that those who don't succeed (the 70% who can't really read at a literate level) shouldn't be allowed to just walk away with a degree and foist their inept skills over on society. That America has become a huge joke is partly a result of this.


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