Guest blogger Betsy Burrows, Assistant Professor of English at Brevard College, describes herself as a “concerned teacher, mother, and citizen in North Carolina.” Her comments below lament the negative impact on equity in access and the quality of education that reactionary ideology and big money have succeeded in forcing on North Carolina’s public schools. What was once a model system is being downgraded through a creeping restructuring and privatization of the entire public education infrastructure.
Tragedy in North Carolina: Re-segregating and Dismantling Public Education
by Betsy Burrows
I still remember the romantic, idealistic defiance I felt in my high school days when I youthfully debated against the following sentiment as expressed in “Self –Reliance,” an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is Christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For everything that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts.” That idealism has turned to profound sadness when I look at what in one year our state legislators have done in North Carolina to quickly dismantle the last 25 years of progress and enlightenment in public education. In one summer session, North Carolina elected officials ceased the funding for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows, a research-based program housed in our public and private Institutes of Higher Education that recruits our best and brightest high school students into teaching, pays for a high quality preparation and supports them with professional development so they remain in the profession, not just for a couple of years like Teach for American candidates, but for a career. According to Linda Darling-Hammond in her 2010 book The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will determine our Future, “the program enhances [enhanced] the teaching pool by bringing a disproportionate number of males, minorities, and math and science teachers into the profession. After 7 years, retention rates in teaching for these recruits have exceeded 75%, with many of the other alumni holding positions as principals or central office leaders” (142). In this same 2011 summer session, legislators ceased funding the NC Teacher Academy and cut in half the budget for the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching. To add personal injury to the professional insult, North Carolina also ended funding for NC Governors School, a summer enrichment program for public school students throughout the State where at seventeen I first read the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Quickly following this defunding of public education and professional development for teachers in our State, was the NC State Board of Education’s approval of the application and rubric for what they call “fast track” charter school applicants to private organizations who can demonstrate that they can fund and operate a school successfully. The approval was not predicated on whether these charter schools were actually able to educate our children for their future roles of citizens in a Democracy, and the approval ignores national studies like the ones conducted by Stanford University’s CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) where economist Margaret Raymond findings conclude that “ in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well as their TPS [traditional public school] counterparts. Further, tremendous variation in academic quality among charters is the norm, not the exception. The problem of quality is the most pressing issue that charter schools and their supporters face” (6).
These actions by NC legislators reveal an ideology that does not support public education and wants to privatize our school systems. In fact, Rob Christenson, a writer from the Raleigh News and Observer has investigated the ties between these newly elected legislators and Art Pope, a retail executive who uses his money to fund libertarian-conservative think tanks like Civitias Action, Inc. and Real Jobs NC, nonprofit organizations that funnel money to legislators who support his views. Being a teacher, I could forgive my legislators for their ignorance in not doing their research on Educational issues, but as a citizen I cannot forgive their duplicity in failing to articulate their agenda and their allegiance to an ideology that supports ending public education, the foundation that our Democracy is built upon. I have never understood the Emerson quote that “Democracy becomes a pulpit for bullies tempered by editors” until now. I just want more “editors” to help temper these educational legislative bullies and their barbarous attacks on teachers and schools.
For further information on the impact of big money on the restructuring of North Carolina public schools, see: Robert Greenwald Discusses the Koch Brothers Battle to Re-segregate North Carolina Public Schools
Posted on September 24, 2011
Editor: See Johann Neem's quote in the Aug. 26, 2011 New York Times article "Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path To College Degree."
During the last legislative session in Washington state, faculty and other supporters of quality higher education fought a losing battle against legislation to recognize Western Governors University (WGU), an online private institution based in Utah, as a state institution. Indiana and, more recently, Texas have also recently formed partnerships with WGU (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/04/governor_perry_partners_with_western_governors_university)
I have long sought to figure out what troubles me so much about our legislators’ willingness to support this questionable institution. Was it WGU’s lack of teachers? Was it the complete lack of regard for research or for academic freedom? Was it that the state was outsourcing its public responsibilities? Was it that WGU, despite proclaiming to serve working adults, pays its president almost $700,000? Was it WGU’s labor practices, which undermine shared governance? Was it WGU’s misleading claims about its cost to students?
The answer, I finally realized, was something deeper. The fundamental problem with WGU is that it is anti-intellectual.
Of course, anti-intellectualism is a reality of American public life, and at times a good one. At its best, it ensures that intellectuals are both responsive and responsible to the broader public. At its worst, however, it undermines the university’s role as a sacred space for the promotion of knowledge.
This is shocking. WGU, and its for-profit online cousins, are opposed to the core mission of the university: to cultivate the life of the mind. Universities maintain—in fact they cherish—knowledge. They teach knowledge; they interpret and maintain old knowledge; they produce new knowledge. Those of us who teach and research joined the academy because we believe that knowing is worth more than money; the search for truth is a calling. To teach students and to pursue research is to engage in something worthy.
WGU, on the other hand, seeks to deskill the professoriate and students.
First, it has no faculty. It can barely be said to have teachers. WGU’s “course mentors” are not expected to develop course material, much less engage in creative teaching and research.
It’s not just about designing curricula, however. As all teachers know, the formal curriculum—what is on the syllabus—is a starting point. Much of the real thinking takes place in carrying out the syllabus’s promise—in the discussions inspired by assigned readings, in experiments that test hypotheses, and in conversations about papers and ideas. It is here that professors play a vital role helping students not just to complete assignments and pass assessments, but to become thoughtful, to ask good questions, and to get below the surface of things. (This is also why MIT can make its syllabi public without fear of losing students.)
The problem of deskilling is that teachers are no longer expected to be, or even allowed to be, models of intellectual life. They are simply facilitating students’ access to predigested material. Students at WGU may interact with “mentors” but not with scholars.
This is not meant as an insult to those who are employed by WGU. It’s a structural claim about the organization of work. As Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations, if you carry the division of labor too far you give a worker “no occasion to exert his understanding.” Whether that’s good for society at large is one question, but certainly it’s a bad idea for an institution devoted to thinking.
But, WGU would respond, it focuses on students not teachers. The traditional university, WGU claims, is faculty-centered rather than student-centered. The reality is quite different. All colleges and universities must be responsive to student needs and the broader market. What’s really at stake is the balance of power between faculty and management. WGU redistributes power upward, to its management.
Moreover, WGU is not interested in students actually learning. Its liberal education requirements are laughable. The depth of its studies is insulting—its own promotional material tells students that they can finish a term’s length of work in a week. Unlike most American colleges and universities, WGU does not demand that students think, learn, and change as part of being educated. WGU, in short, not only deskills teachers, it deskills students.
Instead of students, WGU seeks customers. WGU’s education has no value other than the degree itself. It is completely utilitarian. There is no broader civic mission, nor any hope that college educated adults will learn how to be better women and men. Rather than offering a college education, which takes time, their promotional material asks potential customers: “How quickly would you like to earn your degree?”
The students who seek out WGU and other similar institutions are not to be blamed. Americans need, and deserve, high quality technical education. Whether WGU can live up to this goal without good teachers remains to be seen. But technical education is not the same thing as baccalaureate education. Both are necessary and valuable forms of higher education, but they serve different purposes and have different goals.
WGU and other institutions like it pose a challenge to the university that extends well beyond labor concerns. Yes, WGU has outsourced and divided labor in ways that threaten academic freedom and shared governance. But what makes WGU even more insidious is that it has outsourced thinking itself. It is no longer a university.
What became clear in debates over WGU in Washington state, however, is that our legislators do not value college education. All legislators want is to increase the number of people who can claim college degrees.
Editor: Please send your blog submissions to email@example.com. I’m especially looking for faculty in Texas and Florida to update us on the situation in those states.
Guest blogger Gary Rhoades is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, for which he served as director from 1997-2008. Recently, he served as general secretary of the AAUP. Rhoades’ scholarship focuses on the restructuring of higher education institutions and of professions in the academy, evidenced in his books, “Managed Professionals: Unionized Faculty and Restructuring Academic Labor” (SUNY 1998), and “Academic Capitalism and the New Economy” (with Sheila Slaughter, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).
Some variation of “charter universities” has been implemented in public policy in several states (and is being considered in others, such as Ohio) as an innovation that enables institutions to be more productive with less public money. The attraction of the charter concept to many policymakers and university presidents lies in its promise of more entrepreneurial opportunity and less governmental regulation. A prominent feature of most charter policies is that in exchange for less state appropriations universities get less state regulation over certain budgetary (e.g., construction projects) and personnel (employment rights) matters, and tuition is deregulated, with universities getting greater flexibility to differentiate and raise tuition. Not so prominently featured is the greater regulation of academic matters, in stipulations to meet performance measures in various student outcomes. Charter policies seem to offer a new path for what many see as the new normal of limited or less public funding for higher education. It is said to solve the challenge of how to provide more students with more effective, high quality education for less public money.
Yet the evidence indicates otherwise: charter universities are more of the same. Moreover, they not only offer little promise of resolving the key social, educational, and political challenges of the day, they actually exacerbate the problems we face.
One key shortcoming of the concept is that it is applied to only the four-year part of public higher education, cutting out much of the system that serves many and in some states most of the college student population. Indeed, the policy generally applies only to a select few of the universities, which already have become less dependent on state appropriations and less devoted to the needs of the state they were created to serve.
Charters lead elite public universities to continue to increase tuition far above cost of living indexes even as institutions decrease access for in-state students of modest means and less. Charters incentivize universities to charge students more. That is leading more students who previously would have started at a university to go to a community college. And that, in turn, is reducing access for first generation students, students of color, and immigrant students—the growth populations of the 18-24 year old population—as community colleges cap enrollments, turning students away because they lack the human capacity to serve them. Charters exacerbate the social problems of heightened tuition and reduced access, rationing higher education by money not just by ability. They continue a thirty-year pattern of academic capitalism in which flagship universities, in pursuing more revenues, have become engines of social inequality.
Charters also compromise public higher education’s ability to increase quality and effectiveness. By incentivizing efficiency in producing more students for less money, they encourage universities to continue down the path of increasing class size (and student faculty ratios), reducing the proportion of tenure-track faculty, and increasingly exploiting contingent faculty who are subjected to sub-par working conditions, leading to sub-par learning conditions. The overriding emphasis on narrow conceptions of productivity encourages universities to demand less of students. It also encourages them to pursue the easiest path to increased graduation rates (which rather than student learning, satisfaction, or success after graduation, becomes the sole measure of “effectiveness”), to chase those students most likely to succeed and run away from the growth population of students. Ironically, universities spend increasingly less, on balance, on educational personnel, programs, and activities, investing more in leisure facilities and activities to attract those upper middle class students who are most likely to succeed and least likely to require financial aid.
Finally, the public policy of charter universities fails to focus universities on serving the state, its students, its communities, its small and medium sized businesses, its social and technological challenges, and its future vitality. Charters isolate institutions from one another, pitting them against each other in pursuit of revenues, prestige, and “world class” status. This individualistic focus comes at the expense of institutional cooperation and coordination in the broader interests of addressing states’ structural challenges, for instance, in laying the foundation for a new economy. Charters reflect a failure of political vision and will to undertake the major collective project of investing in the state’s future.
In sum, charter universities do not offer a new path to do more with less. They are more of the same. They fail to redress the basic challenges in public higher education—limiting tuition to ensure access, increasing quality and effectiveness, and holding institutions accountable for better serving the public interest. Charters offer a continued path of heightened tuition and social stratification: charging students more for less access to smaller proportions of professors and student service professionals. They encourage institutions to continue to pursue efficiency measures that compromise quality. And in focusing on universities that have been reducing their commitment to the public interest, and in formally releasing them from obligations to the communities in which they are situated, the charter concept fails to provide systemic strategies for laying the foundations for the future. Finally, charters offer universities more regulation of academic matters for less public money and less regulation of financial and personnel matters. Charters chart the wrong course for all concerned.
By Gary Rhoades
Guest blogger Johann Neem is Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University and author of the book "Creating a Nation of Joiners" (2008).
“Faculty Productivity Considered”
In a recent post “Campus CFO’s are Right” (1) on The Chronicle of Higher Education website, education reformer and critic Richard Vedder slams faculty for their low productivity, and urges that faculty be required to be in their office from 9am to 5pm, and to teach more classes.
Vedder seems to have lost touch with the creative economy of the 21st century, drawing instead from the 19th-century theories of Frederick Winslow Taylor. He seems to think that creative work can be produced on an industrial model. He makes several mistakes here.
First, he assumes that there is a productivity problem. There is no reason to think this. Studies in fact show that faculty often work over time to meet their teaching and scholarly goals. Moreover, productivity cannot be measured by the number of classes taught, but by the effectiveness of the classroom experience. Efficiency requires doing the same for less, not doing less for less.
Second, he assumes that creative work can be standardized and made predictable. In fact, the most creative businesses have sought to develop college campus-like environments. The entire culture of Silicon Valley, including large corporations like Microsoft, has been oriented around fostering creativity by allowing employees greater flexibility. Thus, businesses build campuses, order pizza, and even provide couches and common areas. They allow their employees to work all night, or all day. The best corporations know that creative work is not done on a factory model, but instead by setting clear goals and allowing workers to meet them in their own way.
Despite Vedder’s accusations, colleges have been at the forefront of productivity. The best businesses have emulated colleges. Vedder’s solutions would undermine productivity rather than increase it.
Vedder offers two objections to this claim. First, he argues, that most scholarly research is trivial. That is his judgment. In fact, the purpose of scholarly research is not to gain a high number of readers, but to influence our understanding of the world. If scholars read it, and if they use it to pursue new knowledge, it matters little whether most of it reaches the general public. What matters is whether it is used in ways that help the public. And here, there are many examples. Small research innovations in science can be combined to produce new innovations of greater reach, whether as commodities like a fuel-efficient car, or simply deeper understandings of the nature of atoms.
The same is true in the humanities and social sciences. Scholarly work is translated to the broader public through teaching, through textbooks, and through the work of popularizers and synthesizers. New York Times columnist David Brooks, for example, relies heavily on social science research for his best-selling books. The same is true for historians David McCullough and Gordon Wood. What matters, then, is not whether a particular article or book has sold thousands of copies, but whether it is a contribution to our understanding of the world. And if it is, in time it will be used.
Vedder’s second objection is that most faculty never publish an article each year. Of course, again he is making some mistakes. Scholarly research takes time. In history, a single article can take years of research—much of it, of necessity, outside the office. By forcing more publishing more quickly, Vedder will ensure the triviality he fears.
More important, most faculty publish little because most American colleges are focused on teaching and have high teaching loads. Vedder uses the low teaching loads at a handful of American research institutions like UT-Austin to account for the low scholarly productivity of faculty at teaching institutions. He is simply stereotyping and mixing categories.
One must wonder, then, what motivates Vedder. Perhaps he simply dislikes faculty because they have the ability to exercise control over their working conditions. Perhaps he supports the trend reallocating authority in American work life from workers—whether faculty or unionized employees—to managers.
But I think that there is a deeper issue. Vedder cannot fathom the fact that faculty teach and write because they want to share knowledge with the world. If they wanted to make money, they would have gone to business school, law school, or architectural school and then worked in the kinds of offices Vedder admires. But what makes faculty so productive is that they are motivated by other ends, that they are mission oriented. Most corporations struggle to develop this sense of mission in their employees in order to increase productivity; colleges have it handed to them. Their faculty are willing to work harder for less money than other professionals because they are committed to a calling.
Vedder’s perspective is not that of someone seeking to improve teaching and scholarship. Rather it is of someone who thinks that faculty must be controlled and put in their place. It seems that Vedder cannot imagine a world in which people believe in their work, and thus he seeks to impose incentives and rules that would fundamentally alter the source of faculty creativity and hard work.
(1) Ironically, you can get to Vedder’s article by TYPING the address in the URL: http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/campus-cfos-are-right/29787
Victor Borden has a very interesting and informative article “The Accountability/Improvement Paradox” in Inside Higher Ed (April 30, 2010) http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/04/30/borden
Please send your update about the current situation of higher education in your state or your commentary on national trends affecting public higher education to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest blogger Prof. Bill Lyne is President of the United Faculty of Washington State, which represents all faculty at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, and The Evergreen State College. Lyne is a professor of English at Western Washington University, where he has worked since 1995. He is the former president of the United Faculty of Western Washington.
BAD MOON RISING: The Situation in Washington State
Here in Washington, we’re not yet Wisconsin or New Jersey, but we’re not far behind. With a Democratic governor and both houses of the state legislature controlled by Democrats, you’d think we might be doing a little better. But with the most regressive tax system in the country (if you’re a Microsoft millionaire in Washington, you pay about 3% of your income in state taxes, if you’re struggling to get to the poverty line, you pay about 16%), a block of senate Democrats who vote consistently with Republicans, and an initiative process that allows billionaire developers to demagogue a frightened and angry electorate into thinking that tax reform would be the end of the world as we know it, we’ve seen the same sort of war on the public sphere, social services, and the middle class that’s been taking place in other parts of the country.
In the wake of a series of all-cuts budgets, thousands of people have been thrown off the health care rolls, social services for the homeless and the indigent have been cut dramatically, and you now have to pay if you want to visit a state park. Thousands of public employees, schoolteachers, and community college and university employees have been laid off. Those public employees who still have jobs will be taking three percent pay cuts, paying more for their health care, and getting less in contributions to their retirement plans.
Higher education has been cut by a cool billion dollars in the last three years and by 2013, tuition will have gone up by about 60% over four years. Last year in California, UC President Mark Yudof lamented the possibility that state support for the University of California might fall below the 50% mark. Here in Washington, we crossed that line two years ago, and by 2013, student tuition will account for about 70% of our state university budgets.
It is almost an accident that Washington has six excellent public universities. Even before bankers destroyed the economy, Washington consistently ranked in the bottom five in the nation in both total public university funding and in public university participation rates. This seems counterintuitive in a state that has one of the highest percentages of citizens with Bachelors degrees or better, until we remember that Washington is such a desirable place to live. The de facto public policy in Washington has been to outsource the education of the people who take Washington’s best jobs and have taxpayers in other states pay for it.
This year, that policy was further reinforced by a special Higher Education Task Force appointed by Governor Gregoire. This task force, chaired by Microsoft’s General Counsel and composed almost exclusively of Seattle business elites, was charge with finding “a realistic and viable long-range funding strategy that provides Washington’s students with affordable higher education opportunities.” Showing a breathtaking lack of imagination, the best these rich folks could come up was to recommend unlimited tuition-setting authority for the universities so that they might try to keep up with cuts in state funding. And just to help push the privatization plan further along, two of the major players on the Governor’s task force, Microsoft and Boeing, pledged a whopping 5 million dollars a year (from companies that earned $3.3 billion and $18.7 billion in profits in 2010) for five years to a private scholarship fund and then took a victory lap as education saviors. This from the people who were among the major donors to a campaign to defeat a higher-earner income tax that would have provided three billion dollars for education.
Along with cutting half the funding to our state universities, the legislature also recently made the very cynical move of declaring Western Governor’s University, a completely online “university” with virtually no faculty or faculty-student interaction (read about it here: http://www.ufws.org/content/i’m-going-western-governors-university), as the seventh official Washington State university. This costs the state nothing but allows it to claim it has increased degree production by ripping people off with faux populism.
For all of their lip service, it’s pretty clear that the business and political elites in our state are not genuinely committed to a robust public university system. If we continue down the road that we’re on, real university education will be more and more available only to the privileged and everyone else will have to limit their horizons to inferior vocational training. If we’re going to turn it around, it will take a genuine populist rebellion.
For more information about the situation in Washington, check out these websites:
The United Faculty of Washington State Blog:
The College Promise Coalition:
Four Year Institution Political Action Committee:
SEND YOUR BLOG COMMENTARY ON THE SITUATION OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION IN YOUR STATE TO email@example.com
Tuscany in late June. The hardworking farmer’s son Lucca, a charming young man of 19, is singing an aria from Puccini’s Tosca while mowing a small field of burnished grass in a minuscule valley directly below our hill-top villa. His tiny tractor makes loops around the field preparing the hay for baling into the huge round cylinders we see strewn about the Tuscan countryside of patchwork fields, rolling hills, and medieval castle towns. His resonant voice echoes and spills over the surrounding forest and fields. Lucca has discovered the perfect amphitheater, unaware of the delighted audience above. We hang over the rough-hewn rails of the perimeter fence astonished at his performance.
Later, the sun has traced its path of light and shadows over the layers of rolling hills. It hangs in momentary stillness, a poppy red orb, before disappearing below the skyline. Dusk thickens as the wind sings through the chestnut trees. At this moment I am with some faculty friends. And after several glasses of the regional Chianti, the conversation has turned to academic politics and American culture. There is such a deep contrast between the beauty of our surroundings and the depth of our existential despair. This grief derives from more than mere nostalgia for some fictitious past. It is poignant sorrow at the passing of old friends and values — the extraordinary teacher or the Dante expert, for example, leaving the academy — both scholars who have devoted their entire lives to the deep mastery of a difficult subject that American culture appears to care nothing about in its current frenzy of the superficial: reality TV and Hollywood bling. To many older professors this is a grim trend towards further degradation of intellectual life: an adulation of mediocrity, even stupid short sightedness. Some call it American anti-intellectualism. Some wear it as a badge of honor.
We have experienced a change in the academy as well that feels potentially devastating: short-term profitability as the operative ideology among many new administrators has permeated the academy in terms of “operational needs.” More students but less time to prepare for class; more pressure to publish but less time for research; rising standards with declining resources; the cult of “accountability” devoid of substance. And so we are trapped in the Wal Martization of the public university: the weakening of collective bargaining to allow for management’s needs of just-in-time instructors with no job security and shrinking benefits. The public appears to think that most academics are lazy louts who are teaching their children nothing useful, at least from most of the media coverage of academics. And where are the faculty we need to write the op-eds and public commentary necessary to establish a counter discourse? What will it take to change this? Faculty are too busy teaching too many courses while trying to raise a family, or too busy writing and publishing peer reviewed articles, a requirement established by “Retention, Tenure, and Promotion” documents that do not count publications in public newspapers as valid for achieving tenure. We have written ourselves out of public discourse and we need to write our way back in. If not, the cultural trend now casting a heavy spell over America will continue its momentum away from moderation and the capacity to compromise. And we will have become silent participants in our own intellectual death.
Current Thoughtful Commentary or Commentary for Thought:
From Johann Hari’s “In the Age of Distraction, We Need One Thing More Than Ever: Books”:
“In his gorgeous little book The Lost Art of Reading — Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, the critic David Ulin admits to a strange feeling. All his life, he had taken reading as for granted as eating — but then, a few years ago, he ‘became aware, in an apartment full of books, that I could no longer find within myself the quiet necessary to read.’ He would sit down to do it at night, as he always had, and read a few paragraphs, then find his mind was wandering, imploring him to check his email, or Twitter, or Facebook. ‘What I’m struggling with,’ he writes, ‘is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there’s something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age.’
From Kim Brooks’ “Is It Time to Kill the Liberal Arts Degree?”
….”Well,” I sometimes say, “what are they (sic: current college graduates) going to do?”
The answer, at least according to a recent article in the New York Times, is rather bleak. Employment rates for college graduates have declined steeply in the last two years, and perhaps even more disheartening, those who find jobs are more likely to be steaming lattes or walking dogs than doing anything even peripherally related to their college curriculum. While the scale and severity of this post-graduation letdown may be an unavoidable consequence of an awful recession, I do wonder if all those lofty institutions of higher learning, with their noble-sounding mission statements and soft-focused brochure photos of campus greens, may be glossing over the serious, at-times-crippling obstacles a B.A. holder must overcome to achieve professional and financial stability. I’m not asking if a college education has inherent value, if it makes students more thoughtful, more informed, more enlightened and critical-minded human beings. These are all interesting questions that don’t pay the rent. What I’m asking is far more banal and far more pressing. What I’m asking is: Why do even the best colleges fail so often at preparing kids for the world?
In response, let me say that the only thing that might prepare an instructor to talk about what is happening globally is a trip to Shanghai and having read the “Financial Times” for the past five years. How is anyone supposed to “prepare” a student to comprehend the rapid change that has taken place with globalization combined with the collapse of the economic bubble in 2008? The world changed and the U.S. economy has serious structural problems unless you are among the super wealthy. Globally, there are millions of graduates looking for jobs now, from Cambodia, China, Tunisia to the United States. We need economic policies in the United States at both the federal and state levels that produce the opportunities for high quality jobs. That sort of investment is not happening. And when/if it does, it takes ten years to kick in. Currently, a graduate has greater opportunity for upward mobility in the EU than the U.S.