There's a good higher education article in the The Atlantic this month, not on-line yet, titled 'In The Basement of the Ivory Tower.' It's written by an anonymous 'Professor X,' an adjunct English instructor at both a small private college and a community college in the northeast. The gist is that many of his students are woefully unprepared for even the introductory courses he teaches. So he must fail them, exposing, in the words splashed across The Atlantic's cover, 'Higher Education's Cruelest Hoax.' Either that or, as the article's blurb puts it, the 'destructive myth' that 'a university education is for everyone.'I love it when Kevin Carey gets pissed off.
One thing's for certain: this piece will be catnip for those who like to adopt the contrarian too-many-people-are-going-to-college-these-days position. This is an especially attractive stance for elitists and/or people who spend a lot of time searching for opportunities to loudly begin sentences with some variation of the phrase 'I know it's not politically correct to say this, but...' as if this denotes intellectual bravery of some kind. The article's sad story of one Ms. L, who says she was 'so proud of myself for having written a college paper,' only to be crushed by a grade of 'F,' will be used as evidence that we are not doing people any favors by letting them into college. Charles Murray has apparently written a whole book about this--adorned with blurbs from Jonah Goldberg, Bill Bennett, P.J. O'Rourke, and Tom Wolfe no less--to be published later this year.
There is a whole spiel about how adult non-traditional students are big dummies, the system failed us, we can't write sentences, colleges makes lots of money off of us, Charles Murray is evil, some students shouldn't go to college, that's B.S., poetry and Hamlet are a waste of time, adjunct professors are underpaid, etc, etc, etc, bla, bla, bla...
Writing as an adult non-traditional student, it's true. Many of us are big dummies. You should see some of the crap posted in my online and evening classes, especially when I was taking them at a community college in South Carolina. I finally transferred to an online four year college school/program that targets military students and the quality of my classmates has increased immensely.
Of course us online students have to be at least smart enough to navigate online classes. We also have to be fairly self-motivated to complete the classes, and the vast majority of us are holding down decent enough jobs to be able to afford the tuition.
Ironically, I want to get my bachelors degree in order to get a job earning less that I would if I stayed doing the same thing I am doing now.