Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Alabama: Tenure OUT Strongman IN





By Professor Doom

     Alabama is removing tenure, but before I get to that, I feel the need to give some background:

     The degeneration of higher education, slowly increasing over the last few decades, is now visible to the casual observer. The free-fall reduction of standards to the point that social promotion is unimpeded in college, to the point that you can find graduates that can neither read nor write nor perform arithmetic any better than before they set foot on college—much less at all!—is turning our higher educational system into a joke, and why we’ve slid from the top country to the 11th in higher education, in less than a generation.

     Key to this destruction is the student loan scam; any school that is accredited qualifies for these student loans. As accreditation cares nothing for education, this has provided a huge sum of money to any institution willing to give a tiny fraction of that loan money to the accreditor. Would you give $250,000 to an accreditor in exchange for a billion dollars in loan money which you don’t have to pay back? It’s not tough to see the opportunity for profit here.

      For-profit schools have reaped tremendous rewards from the loan scam…with blind accreditation, there was nothing to stop this. I’ve covered these places in detail already, however.

      We’ve had immense growth in our public institutions. Our universities, even our community colleges, have grown to the size of townships, with many campuses now supporting tens of thousands of students. Standards fell to accommodate the size, but only to a point. Accreditation has failed in every way, but the faculty at the old schools insisted upon at least minimal standards. With tenure protecting the faculty, rapacious Poo-Bahs had real limits to their pay and the growth of the institution, and they hate that.

     Thus community college systems sprang up rapidly in the last twenty years. Community, or “two year” or “junior” colleges are a relatively new phenomenon (relative to the thousands year old idea of the university). They first became relevant around 1920, but only recently, the last few decades, have become huge things dwarfing university campuses. While we take them for granted in the United States, the rest of the world has nothing much like the plague of community colleges. 

     The new community colleges are very different from the older ones. A century ago, community colleges were built with the universities as a template: faculty could get tenure, and both scholarship and standards were relevant. While I’ve documented and seen with my own eyes incredible levels of fraud, incompetence, corruption, and unprofessionalism at community colleges, there are some legitimate community colleges out there, mainly these remnants are from the first days of the community colleges.

      In the last few decades, as the debasement has accelerated, more recent community college “systems” have been slapped up. These don’t use universities as a model, instead they follow the for-profit model. These “modern” schools are staffed by deeply exploited and powerless adjuncts, who generally can barely feed themselves on their pay, despite their advanced degrees. The profits generated, instead of going to shareholders and CEOs like in a for-profit school, are funneled to a huge and hugely overpaid administrative caste.

     Alas, the fraud of these new schools has become established, and “best practices” means that the older schools can follow suit, to become little more than milking factories, draining out the loan money from warm bodies before spitting them out on the street.

     But wait…the old schools can’t become completely debased so quickly, as those tenured faculty still think there should be some sort of standard to higher education. How to respond to this problem?

     Alabama will solve the problem by removing tenure:

 

     And just like that, whatever legitimacy community colleges in Alabama had is snuffed out. It’s so weird, our higher education system is the epicenter of leftist dogma, and yet all we see here are the workers being screwed while the ones on top make out like bandits. Ok, any student of history won’t find that so surprising…maybe it’s not a coincidence history is no longer taught in schools?

     So what’s the new plan for community colleges in Alabama?

“…make the Alabama Community College System a corporation…and establish discipline and termination procedures.”

--emphasis added


     How much more clear could it be that Alabama will adopt the same model as the for-profit education system, a system that is fundamentally known as corrupt and invalid?

     Look, I understand tenure has real potential for exploitation, and I have mixed feelings about it, at best. The fact is, however, every plan that has come from our “leaders” in higher education has been about giving them more power, and every plan that’s been executed has made education worse. This means that, in general, if our leaders in higher education want it, a person of integrity needs to be against it on principle alone

     Thus at this point I’m forced to cast aside my ambivalence towards tenure: admin wants to get rid of it, therefore it would be better for higher education to keep it. It’s that simple anymore.

      Without faculty, educators, making decisions and setting standards about education, who will do it?

“The way I see it, giving the community colleges more autonomy is good if you have good strong board members and a strong chancellor who are setting good policies — that’s a good thing,”

--emphasis added


     I find this point of view about education absolutely fascinating. To heck with scholarship, to heck with education, what is wanted is strength. How demented do you have to be to honestly believe strength is the most important thing about education?  
   
     That’s right, get rid of the faculty, and let a strongman take over. It’s so weird to watch our campuses all turn into microcosms of Marxist utopias: incredible wealth for the people with power at the top, everyone else starves. 

     There’s essentially no chance standards will be maintained in the new system:

She also said the change would give the community colleges more uniformity for deciding things like a remediation requirement for incoming students.


     Ah, here it comes. Please understand remediation has been a disaster for higher education, a huge fraud fleecing our citizens out of incredible sums of money while enriching the administrative caste of our bloated campuses. Over 90% of community college is non-college material now, and only the deathgrip of the tenured faculty has kept even a little college on community college campuses.

     I promise you, the strongman will kill that last 10% in exchange for even greater growth profits.

She also said current salary schedules for instructors would be null and void under the legislation.”


     And just like that, the teachers making over $20,000 a year will find their pay halved, if not worse…while the strongman at the top gets a huge pay raise. Bottom line, this is a power grab for the last bit of loot in a doomed system, nothing more.