December 19, 2012

The collapse of higher education

Kevin Zeese & Margaret Flowers, Truth Out -Over the last 40 years, higher education in the United States has been transformed into a commodity that produces automatons to serve big-finance capitalism, prevents campuses from being a source of societal transformation and creates modern indentured servants through debt slavery.

Today, there is over $1 trillion in college debt with graduates entering a job market that cannot fully employ them, resulting in rapidly rising defaults. In fact, while tuition has grown 72 percent since 2000, employment for graduates with bachelor degrees has declined by almost 15 percent over the same time period.

...The debt trap also makes students and graduates insecure and easier to control. In the 1960s, college campuses were the source of unrest seeking equal rights for women and minorities, environmental protection, an end to the Vietnam War and transformation of the economy. People in power expressed concern. President Nixon's education adviser, Roger Freeeman, urged in 1970 that, "We have to be selective about who we allow to go through higher education" because "We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat."

In 1971, before being appointed to the Supreme Court, Lewis Powell wrote a confidential memo to the US Chamber of Commerce urging defense of free enterprise and noted, "a priority task of business - and organizations such as the Chamber - is to address the campus origin of this hostility." He laid out a plan for big business to take control of the direction of the country. Regarding campuses, he highlighted the power business had over universities because they relied on "tax funds generated largely from American business, and contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business."

"The boards of trustees of our universities overwhelmingly are composed of men and women who are leaders in the [business] system," wrote Powell.

Debra Leigh Scott describes how higher education has been destroyed in five easy steps. The defunding of higher education opened the door to greater influence by corporations. It also weakened students by increasing tuition, which saddled them with high debt in a poor job market. Professors were weakened by moving them from solid, tenured to fragile, adjunct positions with low job security and low wages, while the number of corporate administrative managers who are paid high salaries and consulting fees expanded. For example, three dozen college presidents earned over $1 million last year. Former senator Bob Kerrey earned $3 million at the New School in New York despite a multi-million dollar shortfall in the school budget. Harvard's top endowment managers now make about 20 times what a professor makes, with the top endowment manager making $3 million.

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2 comments:

Capt. America said...

Schools were designed to indoctrinate rather than educate over 1000 years ago. Not many schools deserve to stay open one more day. The functions of teaching and testing need a wall between them so that teaching and testing can be separated the way church and state should be. Those who seek to improve education at all levels attack the people rather than the institutions. That is simply insane.

No decent school should send a report card with a D on it. Teachers should have been informed when the student's performance was not up to expectations so they could get right on the problem and deal with it. That can't happen now because the teachers are teaching classes instead of teaching students.

Anonymous said...

No decent school should send a report card with a D on it. Teachers should have been informed when the student's performance was not up to expectations so they could get right on the problem and deal with it

In general that's true, but it also ignores two important factors: personality conflicts between teacher and student, and extrascholastic stressors.