Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Black Lives Matter…How About Black Education?

By Professor Doom

     Yes, black lives matter…strangely, it’s considered offensive to say “all lives matter,” though I honestly believe they do. Singling out one group over all others really can lead to a sense of entitlement, a sense that only seems to grow.

      How bad can it get? The gentle reader should consider:

      No, that’s not a link to an Onion article (I’ve been caught like that a few times). Black students asking for extra credit for being black has already happened at Harvard and Columbia, but these are schools already well known for giving bonuses to minorities just for being minorities...administration at these schools caved.

     This time around, we’re at Oberlin College, not exactly Ivy League, where students made a bizarre demand: 

     Now, this level of completely irrational thinking is hardly restricted to minorities—I had a white (cheating) student just last semester ask me to summarily pass him, not because he deserved to pass, but so that he didn’t waste a few thousand dollars. There’s plenty of irrationality to go around, I promise you.

    The students helpfully offer ways to justify a passing grade:

“rather than writing a paper students instead meet with their professor to simply discuss in groups their paper topics or if tests are taken collectively with professors there are ways to make sure we are learning what we are supposed to be learning in ways that are not so taxing…”

     Seriously, rather than the student actually working on his writing skills, just get together in a group and talk about it? That’s just not the same thing, not even close. Take the test collectively with the professor? It’s hard not to laugh, most professors (outside of Education) are quite capable of passing their own tests all by themselves, without student help.

     Wacky suggestions like this don’t happen in a vacuum. The gentle reader needs to understand that, for many classes on campus, students indeed take the test collectively with the professor, that instead of actually demonstrating personal knowledge for a grade, students sit in a group and talk a bit…and that these endeavors really do result in passing grades.

     Yes, learning can be “taxing.” These students really need to learn that human beings have studied and learned in times of war, during famines, and quite a few other hardships far worse than being involved in some protest marches.

“Students in this moment should have complete access to alternative modes of learning…”

     Ah, the old “alternative modes of learning” cry of the educationist. Hey, I admit, some ways are easier than others, for some people, sometimes, but ultimately, you need to be able to demonstrate an ability to the satisfaction of someone else…in a way the other person can accept. There’s no such thing as “alternative methods” to winning Olympic events…you need to actually perform by a strict set of rules, not blabber “I should get a gold medal for javelin throwing because I went to a protest.” Even if we accepted the protests are relevant, this has nothing to do with passing students that have failed the course.

      Just a little more from the petition:

“Basically, no student especially black students and students of color should be failing a class this semester. A "C" should be the lowest grade students can receive this semester.”

     Talk about a silly racial shakedown, eh? Now comes the amazing part. While the big league schools’ administration sold out, admin at the little school actually had a spine:

      Let’s hear it for Oberlin College, which firmly believes that academic grades should be given for academic work, and not based on skin color. Oberlin, incidentally, is a private college that, while expensive, clearly hasn’t sold out for the “growth over all” student loan scheme. They have less than 3,000 students (alas, over 1,000 administrators…once again I complain we have too many admin in higher ed), and only accept around 30% of applicants. Kudos to President Kristov for shutting down at least some of the entitlement madness gripping higher education.

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