Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How is this a problem, again?

My department head sent a link to a NY Times story, today, discussing a study that found that individuals who aren't prepared for college don't do well in online classes. 

First of all, I fail to see how this is a problem.  Actually, that's not quite right.  I have a problem with the fact that we, as a nation, are so invested in this "college for all" schtick that people have a problem with ninety percent attrition of those who are unprepared--either for the level of work expected, or for the self-direction required--failing out.  I have a problem with the idea that instructors in traditional classroom settings are expected to hold hands, wipe noses and asses, and generally baby the students who shouldn't be in college in the first place. 

I have a problem with traditional universities getting their panties in a bunch because some professionals who are capable of completing advanced degrees with more self-direction than many professors are capable of, but don't have the time or inclination to sit through bullshit classes.  I have problem with the new legal requirements of online courses (at least in MO, but the indication is it's likely nationwide) calling for eduspeak that most for-profit online colleges can't hire someone to produce for each one of their classes, without raising their prices and cutting into their profit margin.  I have a problem that only the otherwise unemployable are being accommodated with this legislation. 

I have a problem with nobody else having a problem with the fact that those of us in the classroom are expected to deal with students who shouldn't be there, and are expected to simultaneously retain our rigorous grading standards and make sure every idiot that steps foot in our classes, online or traditional, passes with a good grade. 

The system is broken.  I don't think it can be fixed.  All I'm doing now is killing time, taking home a paycheck, and trying to ignore the creeping feeling of futility.

6 comments:

  1. Virtually every system that has been regulated by the government is broken beyond repair. We've given teachers and schools an impossible task - make every moron ready for college but don't make them work for it and for Gods sake, don't hurt their feelings.

    I, like you, feel that home schooling is the ONLY rational choice. Between teachers who only want a feel good environment, a nation that thinks a College degree in Underwater Basket Weaving is more desirable than a Trade skill like Plumbing, Welding, or Air Craft Mechanic. The school system just needs to be put out of our misery and start over. But as long as we keep voting for a Socialist government there is not way to fix it.

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    1. My kids will be prepared for college, but will not be forced into it if they'd rather enter a trade. And that's all I can really do.

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    2. Given the way the economy is going (despite what the Main Stream Media says), a trade is likely to be way more useful, and I suspect there won't be any colleges worth going to by the time they're ready to go.

      I'm curious - Ever looked at the classes they have at khanacademy.org

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    3. I hadn't--thanks for pointing that out for me.

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  2. I agree with you. We are facing scrutiny from legislators because of poor retention rates....we point out that we can only do so much with the students we get (we are pretty much open-admissions). And we'll be damned if we'll lower our standards. (And thankfully, everyone in my department is unified on that, so they'll have to take us ALL down if it comes to that.)

    I HATE dealing with students who don't know their stuff, and who will bring class to a dead, screeching halt while I have to stop and explain something (like how to compute an average) that everyone else can do in their sleep.

    I'm just praying that either it doesn't get UNBEARABLY bad in the next 15 or so years (I can retire, minimally, at 60), or that I can keep up my "I'm teaching for the ones who give a crap" mentality that long or longer. (And that we still get enough people who give a crap to make it feel worthwhile)

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    1. It's a lot more bearable in a classroom than it is online. Trust me. I may not have to deal with the whiny little snowflakes face to face (though I still have to deal with their incessantly whining emails), but I also don't get the joy of watching someone get what I'm trying to teach.

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