Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pedophiles, Tobacco Execs, Administration

By Professor Doom

     With classes starting up, I feel the need to try to warn those most vulnerable to predatory higher education. Please, gentle reader, if you or someone you know is the first in the family to go to college, read this carefully and pass it on to other potential victims.

Talking Head: “The pedophile drove an ice cream truck through residential neighborhoods, seeking his prey…”

--I’m paraphrasing, but it seems like I’ve head the like a few times over the years

Talking Head: “Tobacco Executives were charged with marketing their product to teens, by posting advertisements near high schools…”

--Again, I’ve heard more or less this sort of thing a few times.

The above are common enough themes in the local news: pedophiles and tobacco companies naturally do what it takes to seek out the innocent and the ignorant, to exploit as victims. While I grant that this may be as natural as what spiders do to flies, there’s a human element to the above that changes things. Human beings who target the young and vulnerable like the above are viewed as scum, and face scorn from society at the very least, if not criminal charges.

Higher Ed Administrator: “We’re targeting kids right out of high school, especially those from families who’ve never had anyone go to college…”

     I was told the above many times while at a shady community college. The glow in administrative eyes as they said this I interpreted as a nearly missionary zeal, much like going into the jungle to make new converts. Of course, missionaries do what they do for sacred reasons; at the very least, they don’t get free mansions to live in, royal salaries, and golden parachutes for their efforts.

      More and more as I study higher education, I see how the student loan scam has warped it to nearly beyond recognition of the system I went through. A recent post from a reader, carefully going in detail how she’s protecting her child from the predatory higher education administrators we have now, really highlights how the system has changed…and how wrong I was about the missionary zeal I thought I saw in administration. 

     That zeal is more akin to the lust of the pedophile and the greed of the tobacco executive than the righteousness of the missionary.

      Allow me to go over some highlights:

I have a daughter starting college in the fall. Your posts have given me a lot to consider. We are starting our daughter in a 30 unit certificate in general business with a few gen ed classes along the way. This way, if she absolutely does not like college, we have told her she can quit, but not until she at least finishes the business certificate so that she will have some job skills (we will have her take quite a bit of accounting).

     This first paragraph illustrates what the student loan scam has done to higher education. The loans have allowed tuition to soar to ridiculous heights. 50 years ago, a minimum wage worker could earn most of a year’s tuition at an ivy league school in a summer job, while today’s tuition is more than a year’s salary (minus the higher taxation of today) for a professional worker. Back then, pursuing higher education was a personal matter, of no long term concern if the student dropped out. Today most students go deep into permanent debt for their higher education.  Higher education today is a lifelong financial investment at best, and more of a very risky gamble for most kids.

      Because of this, it’s no longer reasonable to pursue knowledge as an end, at least not through going to college. College tuition is now so ridiculously expensive that job skills, not knowledge, are a quite legitimate primary concern of reasonable people entering college fresh out of high school.

      Now, most high school graduates are not “reasonable people”; it falls on the parent now to watch over the child entering higher education, to protect that child from predatory higher education administration…in much the same way a parent must be wary of the machinations of pedophiles and tobacco executives.

     The key takeaway here: parents must care for their children even in college, because administration does not care about its victims any more than a pedophile or tobacco executive. Admin seeks out kids from families that never went to college, because these kids have nobody to warn them about every trap admin sets up

      The parent realizes that college is not set up with the current reality in mind:

“This is backwards to what most college students do. They take their general ed classes first, then start in their majors. But, if they drop out, no one cares (employers) that they took some general ed classes because they don't have any marketable skills.”

     Back when higher education was a personal matter, it was fine that most study was based around the general things that scholars believed educated people should know. We still have these “general education” courses, and administration has front-loaded these courses into degree programs. Most students drop out before getting to any applied courses, leaving college with a few hours of gender studies, a few hours of psychology, a few hours of speech, a few hours of diversity courses…but nothing in anything anyone will actually pay for, just a bunch of isolated introductory courses with material anyone who reads a book can completely master in a few weeks.

Our daughter is not a particularly good student and is young emotionally, so going to a four year college was not an option. If she finishes the business certificate and wants to go on, we will have her transfer to the private college where my husband is an instructor. The school where he teaches does not have the business classes like our local JC, so we want her to start there and gain some job skills because we are not convinced she will be willing to attend college for at least four years.

     Hey, lots of kids come out of high school “young emotionally” and not particularly good students. Higher education used to treat these people with integrity, with enforced “honor codes” and professorial mentors and curfews and study halls and such, especially for “freshman” students who have just arrived on campus. These “draconian” rules kept the young from hurting themselves, and helped them to gain the skills to become a successful adult, and possibly a successful scholar.

      Administration has gotten rid of all those inconvenient rules, because they cut into growth.

Admin, my first year of college more than a generation ago: “You need to report to your faculty advisor, and set up a class schedule with him. You will not be able to register for classes without a signature from him approving your schedule, and certifying that the courses you register for make progress towards your degree.”

--here, the faculty mentor was doing a job with integrity, making sure I navigated the system properly to get my degree.

Admin, 2016: “Log in online and sign up for courses. You get the most amount of money if you sign up for 12 credit hours exactly. Your check will arrive in 6 weeks.”

--here, admin tricks students into a trap. A student taking 12 hours his first semester has no chance of graduating on time...and yet that's the advice given at my community college, like most community colleges.

      Now, administration takes advantage of these young people, screwing them into huge loans for coursework admin knows is of no value, and doesn’t even try to help them learn how to be good students, doesn’t even try to guide them towards success in a degree program.

     More on this next time.

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