We tut-tut and say it’s too bad, but then throw up our hands, blame the budgets, and let the system continue. Civil rights, slavery, sharecropping, migrant laborers—these are terms that evoke sympathy and demand action within the neoliberal world of higher education in ways that just calling adjuncts “temps” does not.
via Sharecroppers. Migrant Workers. Adjuncts? | Vitae.
Some thoughts on the fall of academia:
I support the move toward “adjunct administrators.” It used to be widely understood that a college or university travels on the quality of its faculty, not its climbing walls, dining halls, or number of administrators. The University of Arkansas’ Jay Greene found that between 1993 and 2007, the number of administrators at research universities grew by 39 percent per 100 students while the number of employees directly involved in research and teaching grew by just 18 percent. More damning, spending on administration grew 50 percent faster than spending on instruction. Administrators don’t just add to the open-air prison climate on many campuses, they directly add to rising costs.
via “Nobody ever heard of an ‘adjunct administrator'”: Higher Ed SNAFU – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
But let’s not understate the big achievements you’ve racked up during the 70 or so days you’ve actually spent on campus. The first, and perhaps finest accomplishment, is having persuaded your parents to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to extend your childhood for four years.
Let’s also not forget how hard you’ve worked to find something to protest against. In my day, it was apartheid in South Africa. In yours, it’s championing people who wanted the God-given right to use a gender-neutral bathroom. Thrillingly, you petitioned the President and Trustees and won: Now guys can make both bathrooms on every dorm floor equally disgusting.
via Rob LaZebnik's Message for the Class of 2013 | Saturday Essay – WSJ.com.
College of the Ozarks, which was rated the best education value among Midwestern regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report, no longer cooperates with students or banks in covering costs of attending college with a loan, Davis said.
For instance, a bank may contact the school to certify that a student is enrolled there, he said.
School officials said 99 current students would be affected by the change because they received private loans to help offset boarding or other costs.
“This college has a very low percentage of students graduating with debt, but it has come up a little and we just don’t think that is a good idea,” Davis said. “This a work college, not a debt college.” The school years ago stopped taking students who wanted to get public loans.
At College of the Ozarks, nicknamed Hard Work U, students work across campus in cafeteria, housing, maintenance, landscaping, agricultural and other jobs. The school has working hog and cattle farms, gardens, lodging and a restaurant.
Students work part-time during the school year and most hold 40-hour per week jobs during summers to cover the cost of room and board. Some also work in nearby Branson, a major tourism draw that specializes in music and theatrical shows.
via Missouri college no longer accepting students who take out loans | Reuters.
At an annual growth rate of 7.45 percent, tuition has vastly outstripped both the consumer price index and health care inflation (see chart). The growth in home prices during the housing bubble looks like a mere bump in the road by comparison. For many years, parents could look to increased home values to make them feel better about paying Junior’s tuition—the so-called “wealth effect,” in which increases in asset values make people more comfortable about spending. Or at least they could borrow tuition costs against the equity in their homes. But that equity is gone now, and tuition marches on.
So where does that leave us? Even students who major in programs shown to increase earnings, such as engineering, face limits to how much debt they can sanely amass. With costs exceeding $60,000 a year for many private schools, and out-of-state costs at many state schools exceeding $40,000 (and often closing in on $30,000 for in-state students), some people are graduating with debt loads of $100,000 or more. Sometimes much more.
That’s dangerous. And the problem is not a small one: According to the Ohio University economist Richard Vedder, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the number of student-loan debtors now actually equals the number of people with college degrees. How is this possible? “First, huge numbers of those borrowing money never graduate from college,” Vedder explains. “Second, many who borrow are not in baccalaureate degree programs. Third, people take forever to pay their loans back.”
Total student loan debt in America has passed the trillion-dollar mark. That’s more than total credit card debt and more than total auto loan debt. Students graduating with heavy burdens of student loan debt must choose (if they can) jobs that pay enough money to cover the payments, often limiting their career choices to an extent they didn’t foresee in their undergraduate days.
Even students who can earn enough to service their debts may find themselves constrained in other ways: It’s hard to get a mortgage, for example, when you’re already effectively paying one in the form of student loans. And unlike other debt, there’s no “fresh start” available, since student loans generally aren’t dischargeable under bankruptcy. The whole thing looks a bit like the debt slavery schemes used by company stores and sharecropping operators during the 19th century.
via Where Higher Education Went Wrong – Reason.com.
“I like seeing people with their children, because they have their special bond, and that’s really sweet, but it’s not something I look at for myself,” says Tiffany Jordan, a lively 30-year-old freelance wardrobe stylist who lives in Queens in a rent-stabilized apartment and dates a man who “practically lives there.”
Jordan and her friends are part of a rising tide. Postfamilial America is in ascendancy as the fertility rate among women has plummeted, since the 2008 economic crisis and the Great Recession that followed, to its lowest level since reliable numbers were first kept in 1920. That downturn has put the U.S. fertility rate increasingly in line with those in other developed economies—suggesting that even if the economy rebounds, the birthrate may not. For many individual women considering their own lives and careers, children have become a choice, rather than an inevitable milestone—and one that comes with more costs than benefits.
“I don’t know if that’s selfish,” says Jordan, the daughter of an Ecuadoran and an Ohioan who grew up in the South Bronx, explaining her reasons for a decision increasingly common among women across the developed world, where more than half of the world’s population is now reproducing at below the replacement rate. “I feel like my life is not stable enough, and I don’t think I necessarily want it to be … Kids, they change your entire life. That’s the name of the game. And that’s not something I’m interested in doing.”
via Why the Choice to Be Childless is Bad for America – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
The way boys are treated in K-12 also impacts how they do with regard to college. According to a recent study of male college enrollment, it’s not academic performance, but discipline that holds boys back. “Controlling for these non-cognitive behavioral factors can explain virtually the entire female advantage in college attendance for the high school graduating class of 1992, after adjusting for family background, test scores and high school achievement.” Boys are disciplined more because teachers — overwhelmingly female — find stereotypically male behavior objectionable. Girls are quieter, more orderly, and have better handwriting. The boys get disciplined more, suspended more and are turned off of education earlier.
Female teachers also give boys lower grades, according to research in Britain. Female teachers grade boys more harshly than girls, though, interestingly, male teachers are seen by girls as treating everyone the same regardless of gender. More and more, it’s looking like schools are a hostile environment for boys.
via Title IX for our boys: Column.
After my listening tour of families, and hearing so many parents plead for an immediate solution to their desire for a quality education, I came out in favor of the voucher program. People went nuts. Democrats chastised me for going against the party, but the most vocal detractors were my biggest supporters.
“Michelle, what are you doing?” one education reformer asked. “You are the first opportunity this city has had to fix the system. We believe in you and what you’re trying to do. But you have to give yourself a fighting chance! You need time and money to make your plan work. If during that time children continue fleeing the system on these vouchers, you’ll have less money to implement your reforms. You can’t do this to yourself!”
“Here’s the problem with your thinking,” I’d answer. “My job is not to preserve and defend a system that has been doing wrong by children and families. My job is to make sure that every child in this city attends an excellent school. I don’t care if it’s a charter school, a private school, or a traditional district school. As long as it’s serving kids well, I’m happy. And you should be, too.”
Here’s the question we Democrats need to ask ourselves: Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost? My loyalty and my duty will always be to the children.
Not everyone bought it. In fact, most of my Democrat friends remained adamantly opposed to vouchers. It was interesting, though: they were always opposed to the broad policy, but they could never reconcile their logic when thinking at the individual-kid level.
via Michelle Rhee: My Break With the Democrats – The Daily Beast.
A comprehensive new Harvard University report on Americans under 30, the so-called Millennials, shows that the economy is having a crushing impact, with just 62 percent working, and of those, half are toiling at part-time jobs.
The report, released by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, paints a depressing economic portrait of young Americans, many of whom are stuck with huge college tuition bills and little chance of finding a high-paying job.
But over half, or 59 percent of those aged 18-29, have gone to college and The report reveals that time in college is a better sign of social status than income, mostly because jobs aren’t available.
via Harvard: Just 6 in 10 Millennials have jobs, half are part-time | WashingtonExaminer.com.
A Colorado second-grader may be suspended from his elementary school after he disobeyed a key rule of no weapons, real or imaginary, when he tossed an imaginary grenade Friday during recess and went, ‘pshhh,’ to indicate that the imaginary device detonated, KDVR.com reported.
Alex Watkins,7, who attends Mary Blair Elementary in Loveland, said he was playing the game “Rescue the World.” He plays the role of a heroic soldier out to rid the world of an evil threat.
His duties led him to throw the imaginary grenade into a box he pretended contained evil forces. He said he didn’t make any threats and was playing by himself, KDVR.com reported.
via Colorado boy, 7, reportedly faces suspension for tossing imaginary grenade | Fox News.