Obama Administration Caves into the Cries of Bureaucrats
“The U.S. Department of Education has retreated from its controversial plan to create a giant college-ratings system, top officials revealed on Wednesday. Instead, by late summer the department is now promising to produce a customizable, consumer-oriented website that won’t include any evaluations of colleges but will contain what one official described as “more data than ever before.” In effect, it will be a ratings system without any ratings.” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
The problem with public Higher Education today has little to do with affordability and more to do with greedy, power hungry, and misdirected bureaucrats. When did the ‘business model’ become the foundation of managing educational institutions?
At the last place where I taught, greedy professors and bureaucrats in fields of business, demanded and got higher salaries and perks than the rest of the university programs and professors. Did they publish more? Were they creative and innovative in their classes? Did they teach better? Did they counsel students better? Were they involved in the community? Of course, they were not and did not. Their argument was based upon market, and they argued that market should control their salaries. Too bad that the rest of us were left out of their selfish scheme!
I don’t know how to solve the problem of greed and selfishness at the top and through the bureaucratic ranks of public universities. The accepted standard or ethic is to exploit those around you. At my former institution, the number of bureaucrats multiplied exponentially while the number of faculty went down.
Bureaucrats Use Hyper-and False-Advertising to Fund their War Chests
The bureaucrats still kept claiming that there was a 15 to 1 ratio in the classes at my former university. All of our classes were open for 25 or more students and I taught classes of 125 for years. Yes, there were smaller classes, but those were usually 4000 level classes that majors were required to take. They also kept claiming that 90% of students obtained jobs almost immediately upon graduation. What a lie this was! I worked my way through college and so did many of our college students. Most students have some type of job while going to college. The bureaucrats led people to believe that their degrees were so sought after that students were hired immediately. I asked the bureaucrats if the jobs the students obtained were the ones they had while a student. They stopped using this strategy for a while, and then came back to it.
Telling parents that their child will be assured a job is a bold-faced lie and also telling them that your professors will know your first name, is also untrue. When you have 100-200 students to teach a semester, it is impossible to know each student by their first name. You could wish that you could know each student, but it is an impossible task.
Bureaucrats use models on their websites to portray an attractive and beautiful student population. What is the matter with using “real” photographs of “real” students? They photoshop crowds together and create an illusion of happy, hard-working, and hard-playing students. Where is the real campus? Isn’t this dishonest?
Bureaucrats Rarely Support Programs that Require Critical Thinking Skills
Their goal is to attract as many students to campus as possible, so that they can grab the cash that comes from the student-credit-hours produced by those students. They scheme up unnecessary universal testing because the state rewards the university $100 per student for each test that is taken. They are reductionistic and hope to combine programs so that the university has a more stream-lined appeal. Why not reduce all of the majors to about ten? That is much more marketable!! In fact, they support programs that seem to lead to one type of “job” more than they support those departments that help students to understand the humanities and complexities of life. Their goal is to get them in and get them out! They really don’t want them to learn to think, evaluate, read, write, and speak well in public!
Bureaucrats Exploit Everyone to Fulfill their Own Career Goals
When will the revenue that is raised through student-credit-hours come back to the faculty and departments that produce them? This does not happen. Like workhorses or mules, faculty become the means whereby bureaucrats achieve their own personal goals. Those goals might be building projects, increasing athletics, building a new home for themselves, hiring their friends or relatives, the use of a jet, cooperative agreements with governments that enhance their personal power, and so much more. The funds do not come back to departments for faculty raises or support of curricula. Most faculty back-peddle hoping for a break, but that break never comes.
President Obama, Something Has to be Done!
The Bureaucrats are many and have loud voices. They are powerful. They know about power because it is at the center of their careers and goals. They won’t let anyone take away that power. Faculty could do it. Faculty could step forward and challenge the bureaucrats. As in any civil war, there would be casualties. But Faculty do not want to risk their tenure or what little of their own status that they have obtained. Faculty know that bureaucrats are destroying (have destroyed) higher education and they will do nothing about it. It is time for an outside agency to investigate and punish greedy bureaucrats.
But who has enough power to do it? Where are you Edward Snowden?
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge