Monday, November 19, 2012
Response to College, Inc.
A number of things have come up for me watching College, Inc., because I see it through different lenses. As a returning adult, I remember starting my search for a college. I had two small children, husband and a full time job. I recognized the convenience of programs that started at any time during the year. I loved the idea of not having to leave my home to educate myself as well. But I knew myself as a learner. I knew I needed to be in the company of other adults. I knew the value of learning and listening to my peers but my time would not afford me that opportunity. Having reached out to DeVry and University of Phoenix early in my search, I quickly dismissed both these institutions. The hard sell became too much for me. It made me uncomfortable and soon I stopped answering their calls, almost hiding like they were bill collectors.
As an educator I’m appalled to see the profession of teaching reduced to just another line on a budget sheet. It’s almost as if teaching in for profits are secondary and not the main focus of the institution. The next step is removing the teacher all together and have a computer based self-directed learning course. What is missing in this education model is the caring and empathy that goes into teaching. For them it is a business instead of an embodied experience where we all learn together. We know adults go back to school for a purpose, they want to change the trajectory of their lives. If lives are not changing there is a problem. I agree with Dr. Nicholas Burbules in his thinking that this is a “fast foodization of education” because today Americans want everything quickly. We barely slow down for anything anymore and I believe that the for profit schools are taking advantage of this fact.
Some colleges track their alumni to see if their programs have led to gainful employment for reporting purposes. This serves to help bolster attendance in programs when institutions can report where their graduates have found work. I believe if the number of academic successes in for profit schools were compared to the actual number of students who have not found gainful employment for more than two years, we would have a clearer picture of the success of these institutions. And if students are not getting jobs with their degrees because of the lack of on hands learning, I think congress should re-think their letter to Mr. Duncan, the education secretary, about softening the gainful employment clause. How will adults change their lives if they do not receive the jobs they believe are at the end of their degrees?
Posted by Nayanda at 1:57 AM