Monday, May 9, 2016

More Of the Canadian Higher Ed Scam

By Professor Doom

     So let’s continue analyzing some commentary by a professor in Canada, who has looked up from his books and noticed the overwhelming fraud of higher education in his country.

     The fraud the professor sees is very common to, if not born in, my country, I assure the gentle reader. 

     Our universities are ripping themselves apart to get enough money to support the administrative caste, money that comes from a huge inflow of students. Our campuses are being flooded not simply by students that don’t want to be there but…by those that probably shouldn’t be there:

In 2009, the Canadian Council on Learning reported that 20 percent of all university graduates in Canada fell below Level 3 (the minimum level of proficiency) on a prose literacy scale…That proportion was expected to rise.

--emphasis added. The graduates are below the minimum? So it’s not the minimum, then. A higher percentage of US college graduates show no improvement from when they graduated high school, so Canada at least has more room to fall.

     It’s always good for a laugh when we do checks to see if students are actually doing the work. The Canadian professor had the opportunity to do so, to see if students were looking at his online postings:

“readings were accessed—not necessarily read—by 5 to 15 percent of the enrolled students.”

     So only about 1 student in 6, at best, is even trying to learn anything in the classes. In the US, successful community colleges with 0.6% 2 year graduation rates give a clue that the students actually trying here are even more rare than in Canada. He confirms this data in a different way:

I was teaching George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and I had ordered 230 copies based on enrolment numbers. At the end of term, the bookstore had sold only eighteen copies, a hit rate of about 8 percent.

     To be fair, I would suspect some students are just getting hacked copies of the books for free. That said, many students don’t bother buying the books (cuts into their “refund checks” of student loan/grant money)…I can hardly count the number of times students asked to take pictures of the pages in my book, rather than just buy the thing for themselves. I didn’t mind: at least they were trying!

      Finally the faculty here starts to connect the dots:

They will tell you that they don’t read because they don’t have to. They can get an A without ever opening a book.

      I’ve seen so many bogus professors award all A’s to all students, every semester. I know they do this because the students tell me. I know the students are not lying because administration showers praise and adulation on the bogus professors for their “good teaching.” Students aren’t necessarily stupid, and quickly catch on that their grade has nothing to do with their effort, in many classes…and thus we learn why so many students don’t even try.

     The Canadian professor has seen the same thing:

So long as your class is popular and fun, you’ll be favoured by the administration and probably receive a teaching award. This, even though your students will leave your class in worse condition than they entered it...

      I helped a student go from remedial math, to differential equations. Approximately 1 student in 1 million makes it from remedial math to differential equations (an estimate, as I’ve not heard of anyone doing so besides me). I’ve also brought several students from remedial math through calculus. Again, I don’t know the odds, but at one school (student base 50,000, approximately 40,000 remedial students), it had not happened in the history of the school, or so I was told (not that they were going to improve their remedial programs…just too much money to be made in trapping these kids in the system).

      I will never get a teaching award, and I’m not asking for one—students hold much of the responsibility for their own success. But like the Canadian professor, I’ve seen people get awards for “great teaching” that was nothing more than giving everyone an A, even the students that never even came to class a single time or completed a single assignment…this is award-worthy because administrators get to decide what good teaching is.

“…can teach 3000 level courses…”

--from one of my job evaluations, as praise. 3000 level represents 3rd year courses. There are so many fake graduate degree holders around now that actually being able to teach college material is NOTABLE.

      The huge problem of fake “Education” degrees in higher education in the US has spread to Canada, as the professor explains:

A master’s of education degree, for instance, may be acceptable for teaching students in bachelors of education programs…It is, however, a completely inadequate when teaching those pursuing regular bachelor’s degrees, because the minimum requirement for teaching undergraduates is a graduate degree in the relevant discipline being taught. Yet MEds are routinely allowed to teach undergrads at my university,..

     My Canadian counterpart is once again behind the times. Years ago I wrote of how Education degrees are being used as jokers, and how the only thing these “professional educators” know how to do is remove content.

     The professor realizes that the ability to hire these jokers for any course is a driving factor in the adjunctification of higher education, where professors nowadays are temp workers, receiving no respect and little pay.  

Finally, the very act of employing such people denigrates real scholars and scholarship by definition. If a person who knows next to nothing of what you know can do what you do just as well as you, then what is the value of what you know?
There is no clearer example of administrators’ contempt for faculty. 

      With so many examples of how much contempt the Poo Bahs of higher education have for education and educators, I’m hard pressed to identify the clearest example, so I’ll yield to the professor’s opinion on this.

     I lean towards another thing the Poo Bahs are doing, which is debasing higher education in a fundamental way, as the professor notes, by changing the curriculum of higher education, away from academics and into…sludge:

That curriculum? Life skills, university transitions, critical thinking, leadership, and communications—all modern mouthwashes of the “applied” course industry, designed to give a pleasant taste of practicality to humanities programs otherwise deemed useless. This curriculum may “pay” in the short term—more bums in chairs,

     Again, pretty sure I’ve talked about the “butts in seats is the epitome of higher education” theme that administration keeps cramming down faculty throats…the professor once again is a bit behind the times.

    The professor touches on the huge administrative bloat, and again I concur:

“In other words, the number of those employed to support the work of the institution was more than double that of those employed to do the work of the institution.
At my university, which is a small, primarily undergraduate institution with a student population of roughly 4,400, this department has a full-time staff of twelve.”

--He’s talking about the university’s public relations department. Just the PR department as his small school has 12 executoids in it.

     My small community college (comparable to his university in student base) likewise had a legion of full time administrators, more than faculty. One full time accountant and one full time HR person for every 5 faculty, 2 classrooms devoted to “student help” bureaucrats that did nothing, nearly as many secretaries/assistants for the administrators as there were faculty…it was nuts, the CFO even complained to me (off the record) that he did nothing in his job, because he had so many assistants. And, yes, we had PR people as well. If education is so frickin’ valuable, why are so many needed for the hard sell? We could have fired a couple dozen administrators, and that would have freed up enough money for scholarships for every student on campus.

One university vice-president I know promises on her website that she will provide “one-stop shops” and “exceptional customer service” to all. Do not let the stupidity of this statement fool you into believing it is in any way benign. We no longer have “students”—only “customers.”

      The professor goes on to further take down the silliness of online education (particularly for students that are already on campus-—if we honestly thought online education was the same, why bother with the campus?). 

     The professor gives an extensive discussion, and I’ve only touched on the highlights. One thing he’s missed is accreditation’s role in all this: accreditation is supposed to affirm that a school is legitimate, but much like our higher education administration, has long since sold out.

     As apparently, has Canada. Are there any English speaking countries left where the higher education is basically legitimate?