Archive for October 11, 2022

Education as a commodity

Posted: October 11, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized

By Christopher Harper

The bond between learners and teachers has been fraying for years in higher education, but it appears that it is becoming increasingly broken.

I was always known as a tough grader. Still, it was only recently that administrators literally changed the marks for two students—one considered a star and another a woman whose father threatened a lawsuit.

That’s why I sympathize with a New York University chemistry professor whose medical students complained that his course was too challenging, and he got fired because of the criticism.

For a number of years, I taught the final course for journalism students—known in the trade as the capstone—before the budding reporters went into the real world.

The students had to travel outside of their comfort zones to report about troubled Philadelphia neighborhoods. They had to do so while creating stories in text, photography, audio, video, and web design.

Most students wanted to work in less difficult environments and only in their preferred journalism sector, whether in text, photography, or broadcasting. After my colleague and I left the course we created, the class has been dumbed down so much that it’s almost impossible to gain any significant understanding of the requirements of the craft of journalism.

Because of the escalating cost of higher education, students treat teachers like a commodity. If you pay for that commodity, you should expect it to do what you want it to do.

If you want a higher grade, you complain.

If you think the work is too hard, you complain.

If you don’t like how the teacher treats you, you complain.

It’s heartening that even some liberal professors agree that the system is broken.

Feminist journalists lamented the state of academia in opinion pieces for CNN and NBC after the NYU professor got axed. 

“Faculty members aren’t commodities, and programs aren’t products. Education isn’t a raw material with a return policy,” Christina Wyman, an adjunct professor at Michigan State University, wrote for NBC.

Feminist writer and former adjunct New York University journalism professor Jill Filipovic agreed that the firing showed “what’s wrong with academia” in an opinion piece for CNN. “Turning education into a consumer product rather than a public good also subjects educators to the whims of the consuming public,” she wrote.

It’s nice to see that liberals and I can agree on something!

I think we need a little experiment for those who are so pissed off at Columbus for starting the chain of events that brought the Indians of the Americas out of the stone age.

If you celebrate “indigenous people day” rather thank Columbus day then let’s do it right.

  • First of all make sure you walk to whatever event you had. After all not only did Europeans invent automobiles that were built in America but they also brought horses to the continent. In fact until the Europeans came the wheel wasn’t in America so make sure you carry or drag on a sled anything you plan on bringing with you, unless you travel by river. The canoe was a legitimate engineering wonder that the Indians developed for river travel that was far superior to anything the Europeans had.
  • Second of all don’t have anything with you that is electrical. All of that power generation stuff came from later European settlers. No solar either, that’s also derivative from electrical development as well. So it goes without saying no Iphones
  • If it’s cold where you celebrate or if it gets dark make a fire, so space heater (electricity) no coal (no mining) and when you get that wood, no using refined metal for saws or axes to cut down those trees or cut off those branches. If stone was good enough for the Indians, it’s good enough for you and remember no flashlights or batteries that would just be celebrating whiteness.
  • Oh and don’t forget if you want to eat anything where you go, again start a fire. Ben Franklin that horrible European invented the stove. Maybe you can build an oven out of clay to bake stuff with a wood fire, or perhaps you can bring heavily salted meat to eat or greens, lot of greens but remember no pesticides so be choosey.
  • Perhaps you might have a moment during your event to remember those that the Indians conquered to take the land. Oh wait, the Indians didn’t preserve those people, they either assimilated to their individual tribes or were destroyed so we don’t know a thing about them.
  • Well at least the Indians didn’t have slavery, well unless you count the Aztecs who build an empire on slavery and human sacrifice and of course cannibalism. Perhaps in honor of their achievements you can find a person who doesn’t follow your beliefs, say an outsider and drag them to be sacrificed and then eat them over a fire in the traditional way, but remember when you try to overpower them no firearms and no refined blades to overpower them and if the person manages to shoot six or eight of your fellows before you drag him to his death at least your pals died pure in the knowledge that they didn’t pollute themselves with those horrible European weapons.

That would be a true celebration of “indigenous” people day. Of course you might instead celebrate the greatness of Columbus on Columbus day while acknowledging that like the people he discovered with the land Columbus was a product of his time and submit to all the human foibles that we all are but that would requiring acknowledging the humanity of both Columbus and the Indians rather than making one your god and the other a devil, and that doesn’t support the narrative does it?