I think one of the biggest problems in college today is that most of the professors’ main job is not to teach their students but rather publish publish publish…or perish. Many professors actually teach less than 20 hours per week. Many people do not know that their main focus is to get published in scholarly journals. It is actually a requirement for their job in order to make the transitions from assistant or associate professor to Full Professor.
The higher the level that they achieve, the less that they have to teach. If a professor doesn’t get their work published enough times, then they can’t get tenure. Many of their contracts don’t even count the summer sessions as part of their school year. Many professors that work during the summer are actually doing it for extra money, because they use this time to research subjects that they would like to see published at a later date. Until the teaching of the students are the main focus, a college degree is nothing more than a piece of paper.
In fact, so many people now have a college degree that having one is almost meaningless and lacks any efficacy in the real world. Especially so when one majors in low demand subjects like English or Communications, or West Russian History…The hamster wheel of American higher education went off track a long time ago. Pay the ever increasing tuition (tuitions continue to inflate well past the nominal inflation rate), spend four years engaged in largely inapplicable study (unless you include drinking beer and going to frat parties), then you’re off to the workforce with a mostly useless paper in hand. Unfortunately, and too late, and many thousands of dollars already spent…that’s when your true education finally begins.
You were so used to being “special” and feeling smart and not failing. Teachers were so afraid to give lower grades because then the parents would threaten to sue. A “B” grade by many was considered a horrible grade. Everyone in American education was a winner…even as we fell behind all the other industrialized nations in the key areas of math and science.
For the students, bright and eager, they were to get their real learning. Tough love…You get into the real world where your boss will finally say what needed to be said… “Johnny, you really fracked up this project. Get your sh*t and empty your desk and get the fargin heck out of here.” Then the company security comes and quickly escorts you out of the office. Regrettably, that is what our American youth will now increasingly encounter.
Our Founding Fathers were men of the enlightenment. They ran businesses, understood theology, read philosophy, wrote poetry, investigated science, mastered math. Colleges were originally founded with the same degree of excellence. But somewhere down the distillation of good education grew too much with bogus courses designed only to boost one’s GPA.
As the Federal Reserve printed dollars like there were no trees to be left, the value of a dollar was destroyed. Long ago, a man could raise a family of five working a blue collar job. But currently the prices of everything has risen exponentially. Think of the price of gas to the price of a loaf of bread to a visit to the doctor. Now you have to work three minimum wage part time jobs with no benefits to do the same. And even that won’t be enough for many. Now you need TWO income earners in the household to make ends meet. And they will still qualify for public assistance in some form or another.
Without real jobs that pay enough wages relative to prices of necessities, the question arises, “Why pay at least $60,000 for an education (at a public college) to end up getting a minimum wage part time job paying $8.25 an hour??” In a related news article, they interviewed some school teachers who were upwards of a hundred thousand in debt, knowing they were getting out of school looking at a $20,000 a year job. The teachers now are increasingly stressed out, with larger class sizes and larger workloads and students with a bad attitude. So much so that here in Chicago where I live, more than 50% of the teachers burn out within a 5 year period according to the Chicago Sun Times.
So, where does that leave the student who yearned to make a living to help people? He/she has still college loans maybe of $50,000 still, maybe another $40,000 in graduate school loans, after scraping by on a $20,000/year salary, and is now burnt out and unemployed. And despondent…maybe even suicidal and crazy. (perhaps that is why so many teachers are getting into trouble with the law…as an aside, every day we read about teachers molesting their students. Could the job stresses carry over to their broken psyches?)