There’s also something unhinged about framing a strike by government employees as a “grass-roots fight against the plutocracy.” The teachers union’s adversary is the taxpayers, not just rich ones; and the victims of the strike are parents who don’t have enough money to live in the suburbs or send their children to private schools. That excludes many of the teachers themselves. As Breitbart.com’s Dana Loesch notes, a study a few years ago found 39% of Chicago Public School teachers send their own kids to private schools.— James Taranto
Even as the once-mighty University of California system slashes programs and raises tuition, it has created a new system-wide “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This is on top of the already enormous University of California diversity machine, which, as Heather Mac Donald notes, “includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.—
Glenn Reynolds, The Higher Education Bubble
This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.
The past 40 years or so have seen an explosion in the higher education industry as colleges and universities have marketed themselves as, among other things, providers of job-hunting licenses, producers of “leaders” and sellers of indulgences for racial sins. Government subsidies have created an enormous artificial demand, driving prices higher, and the quality of education has declined as institutions came to focus on things other than the intrinsic value of learning. We are not the first to observe that this looks like another economic bubble. It would be a lovely irony if it burst during the presidency of a man who is so much a creature of the faculty lounge.— James Taranto
College costs a lot. I teach at BC, where a year’s tuition, fees, room, and board currently add up to $52,624. What are the students paying for? What can’t they get online for free? In my end of the academy, the humanities, it comes down to one thing, in essence: the other people in the room, teachers, and fellow students. We can debate whether that’s worth the price tag, and we can debate the relative value of lectures and seminars (I think the best mix in the humanities is some of the former and a lot of the latter), but you’re paying for the exclusive company of fellow thinkers who made it through the screening processes of admissions and faculty hiring. That’s it. You can get everything else online, and you can of course do the reading on your own.
Your money buys you the opportunity to pay attention to the other people on campus and to have them pay attention to you — close, sustained, active, fully engaged attention, undistracted by beeps, chimes, tweets, klaxons, ring tones, ads, explosions, continuous news feeds, or other mind-jamming noise. You qualify for admission, you pay your money, and you get four years — maybe the last four years you’ll ever get — to really attend to the ideas of other human beings, thousands of years’ worth of them, including the authors of the texts on the syllabus and the people in the room with you.
You can spend the rest of your life surfing the web, emailing, texting. You’ve got one shot at college. So, at least until the novelty wears off (probably not in my lifetime), that means no laptops in my classroom.
I’ve had this identical thought recently. Sure, I can go and read classic works of literature and philosophy for free—and I’m sure I’d learn something. But the real gold nuggets in education, the stuff you really learn, comes from being in a group of serious people and soaking in the content together, digesting it together, engaging it together. How many insights would I have missed had I studied alone? That is the beauty of the college experience.
Hmmm. This doesn’t seem to be working out for us.
Not so much.
Education is a problem. More education is not the solution.
The people best equipped for navigating our world are those who have knowledge of multiple technologies, and multiple kinds of technologies. The Luddite and the techno-celebrant alike are crippled by the narrowness of their technological equipment.—
Alan Jacobs: the non-digital classroom
Read the whole thing.