Back in Action

After a long hiatus, I have returned to the blogosphere. I tried to get back earlier, but the words wouldn’t come. I blame the thesis. I blame academia. I blame long nights of slaving over interpretations of statistical test outputs from SPSS. I blame waiting. I blame waiting again. I hate waiting. But most of all, I blame the lack of creative energy that had been zapped from my soul for the past month as I made the final steps toward completing my master’s degree.

Now it is over. And through it all, I have learned many life lessons—most important, don’t get a Ph.D.

This is not to discredit the friends and family members of mine who are either pursuing or have accomplished that major hurdle, indeed, this is a note to myself to avoid a future in academia. Oy, the bureaucracy, the egos, the drive to publish.

I can say that my post-graduate education has mainly turned me on to the deep issues that plague higher education. I have known about these problems for many years from a distance, but now they have touched me. First and foremost, the expansion of the university system has hurt students.

As Americans, we are told from an early age that we need a college degree to get anywhere in life. But not everyone is cut out for a college education, and they shouldn’t be. Our primary and secondary schools have failed to produce a majority of high school graduates who can be successful college students. This leaves many professors with the duty to remediate these students in basic English and math classes. This puts a strain on the students who may not need remedial classes but need college-level courses but can’t get them because there are too few teachers or too few sections offered. Budget cuts to public universities don’t help this either. Neither does the pressure a tenure-track professor undergoes to publish scholarly research in order to get that golden tenure. Nor does the astronomical jumps in tuition and fees charged each term. These are just a smattering of the many problems that face modern academia.

Bottom line: the students’ education is suffering.

Our education system from beginning to end is in severe crisis, and if this country wants to remain competitive in a global economy there needs to be remediation in the way we look at education. We can not view it as a business venture or a money-making opportunity. Education is the gateway by which we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Education is the way we understand ourselves, our culture and those around us. Education helps us be more human. Education is necessary, and it to be strong and supported from pre-school to the doctoral level. Otherwise, I fear to imagine what our ignorant faces.

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2 Comments

  1. They will face exactly that: ignorant faces. It is outrageous that education, which should be as readily available to society as air, so often becomes a bottom priority for funding.

    Reply
  2. Shoshka, you may be interested in this artickle, if you haven’t seen it already: “End the University as We Know It.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/opinion/27taylor.html

    I’m not on board with all of it, but it makes a good diagnosis and a bold suggestion.

    Reply

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