Tuesday, February 28, 2017

University of London: Whites Can’t Teach

By Professor Doom

     Just when I think higher education can’t become any more warped…it reaches a new level of dementedness. Let’s take a look:

      People, even very educated people, say some pretty stupid things at times, but how exactly did this level of idiocy actually make it to this level of publicity? Once the stupid thing was said, was there truly nobody down the line of communication who said “Wait. What?”?

     I learned Spanish from a Cuban, and Mandarin from someone born in China, and many of my mathematics courses were taught by people with a different skin than me (they were primarily from India)…it never occurred to me that their ethnicity could possibly prevent me from learning.

      I’ve quoted but one line, above, but it’s such a train wreck that I feel the need to parse it out, the better to highlight on just how many levels this is wrong:


     How bizarre is it that “old” is a slur in reference to a teacher? For thousands of years, it was generally understood that old people were more likely to know things than young people…but now it’s a problem.

Old white

     What has happened to us that this sort of racism is acceptable? Imagine the screeching in the media if someone complained that they couldn’t learn from a black person.

Old white academics

      Again, I’m confused. If you’re learning an academic subject, shouldn’t you learn it from an academic or at least consider that a positive? If I wanted to learn, say, professional wrestling, I’d be very honored to have Hulk Hogan as a teacher, even though he’s an old white wrestler. It’s just nuts how stupid this all is, but the quote continues:

Old white academics are 'unable' to teach

     Beyond the stupidity, the whole “unable to teach” line represents what’s happened in higher education. In times past, the only people on campus were those that were interested in learning. Yes, sure, there were and are bad teachers, but for the most part if a student isn’t learning, it’s the student’s fault. Now if a student isn’t learning it’s because the professor is “unable to teach.” 

     Already, we’ve reduced grading so that an A- is the average grade, we’ve reduced coursework so that many courses require insignificant levels of reading or writing, and we’ve changed campus policies so that students can fail and drop courses for years and yet stay on campus, racking up debts instead of going off to do something productive.

     But, yeah, it’s the teacher’s fault if the student fails in this environment. 

“Old white academics are 'unable' to teach black students…”

    Why is the inherent racism here not a problem? Ok, the rest of quote tries to explain away the racism:

“…because they're potentially racist”

      That’s right, the blatant racism is excused because of potential racism. You know, the people I learned from were potential murderers…it never occurred to me that this means I couldn’t learn from them. 

      If we’re really going to use “potential” as a reason to get rid of people, well, hey, every administrator on campus is a potential child molester, let’s get to it! I know, it doesn’t work that way, I’m just highlighting the intellectual dishonesty here, on top of all the other problems.

     Alexandria, in Africa, was a research center for centuries, starting a few thousand years ago; scholars from throughout the world went there to learn and study...over the course of centuries, the issue of “we can’t learn from people with different skin color” never came up. The learning center in Timbuktu, also in Africa, had 25,000 students, over 500 years ago, and yet, somehow the varying skin colors of the teachers and students were never an issue.

      Seriously, something is wrong with higher ed today. Already way off the rails, the study nevertheless manages to go further into the hinterlands of insanity:

“…under-representation of black people among the teaching staff, relative to the student body, made students feel 'isolated'”


     There are many subgroups of workers on campus where “white males” are under-represented (Hello Mathematics! Hello African Studies! Hello Gender Studies!)…and yet I don’t see any hue and cry to change that. I really can’t accept the people advancing this stuff are being intellectually honest until they start cutting back on the hypocrisy.

      This whole report is just one long smear of racist foolishness, compiled to explain why certain ethnic groups don’t do well on campus. I won’t dare to hazard a guess, but the proposed solution, firing all the white people, is idiocy. 

     A more reasonable solution, by far, is to return to having entrance exams on campus, so that all the students coming in have at least a minimal level of academic training and ability. This won’t happen, of course, as that would cut into growth.

     On the other hand, firing the academics would further undermine education, and thereby further administrative power on campus. It’s no surprise reports like this get written.

      What is surprising is how few people on campus are pointing and laughing. Granted, faculty are too terrorized to laugh, but admin gushes about the great ideas here:

Dr Deborah Johnston, pro-director (Learning and Teaching) at SOAS, said: 'We attach a great deal of importance to our diverse community here at SOAS. It enables a wide range of perspectives to be brought into the classroom, which greatly benefits and enriches the academic debates and discussions. Our diversity is something of which we are very proud.' 

--SOAS is the fiefdom that printed the report. Hey look, another admin whose title is twice as long as her (what, you think she’d be an old white male?) name. Recall, titles this long are my standard for positions that can be safely removed with no impact on education and research, the actual purposes of higher education. Does anyone even know what a “pro-director” is, as opposed to just a plain ol’ “director”?

     Luckily, the comments section shows that “deplorable” people can tell what a joke this all is. Let me highlight a few:

If I were to say, a black teacher can not teach or relate to white student's (sic). I would be bagged and tagged a racist, and justly so.

So let me get the right, black students are judging the teaching ability of a teacher by the colour of their skin..is this not the definition of racism?

So are they saying that black people should only be taught by black people? Which must mean that white people must only be taught by white people? Totally racist
What an incredibly racist assertion. Older academics are more likely to be white because when they graduated there were far fewer non white people in the UK. What are they supposed to do retire early to appease PC research like this?

     Isn’t it amazing that everyone else can see what our doctoral-level administrators cannot? Why is that?

     Again, as I see higher education engaging in idiocy that is completely obvious to everyone outside of campus, I’m forced to wonder just how long until the entire system collapses under the sheer weight of the incompetence.
     Not long, I hope.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Two More States Remove Tenure…Retroactively

By Professor Doom

      The mainstream media’s narrative really seems to be that tenure, and not the takeover by administrators (and social justice warriors), is a big part of the collapse of higher education.

     Hey, I realize that “job for life” does sound like it has immense potential for abuse but compared to the abuse administrators already deliver to higher education, every single day, it’s hard to be concerned about tenure.

      It takes at least 7 years of perfect scholarship to even have a chance of tenure, while administrators get endless promotions and pay raises no matter how horrifically they fail. Even if tenure weren’t already a dying institution (most teachers in higher ed are poverty-wage-no-benefits adjuncts as it is), it’s still not a concern, as tenure isn’t “job for life.” Even with decades of service, you can still lose your job in higher ed quite easily, all admin has to do is provide a reason…and the reason can really be as flimsy as “admin doesn’t want you to have a job anymore.” 

     Not content to simply wait for the faculty with tenure to simply die off, states are now terminating the tenure laws, replacing them with, literally a strongman to take over.

     Two more states are looking to kill tenure, retroactively even:

     The usual arguments against tenure are trotted out, with little in the way of counter-argument. Ok, a few counter-arguments are expressed in the comments, but I want to mention some things that just never seem to get said.

     A government representative explains why we need to get rid of tenure:

“If you’re doing the right thing as a professor and teaching students to the best of your ability, why do you need tenure?” asked Representative Rick Brattin,

     This is little different than a usual government request for your private information: if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to hide, right? The problem of course is that private information might someday be used against you by someone unethical, with access to government information.

     Similarly, tenure isn’t necessary when your boss is honest…but that’s a rarity in higher education today. I’ve seen so many honest faculty members, possessing integrity and ethics, blasted off campus for trying to do their job with honor. Sure, yes, doing an honest job with honest bosses would negate the need for tenure but…honest bosses?

      My blog has around two hundred posts now describing administrative corruption in myriads of ways. From fiefdoms with multiple (independent) embezzling schemes occurring in them, from cover-ups of generational academic fraud programs to simple plundering (to give a tiny sample of what goes on)…and this representative says we should just trust admin not to do it anymore?

      Doing the right thing and doing your best work means nothing when you’re working for a guy who makes his money by abusing the vulnerable, whether it be students or faculty. A tiny bit of job protection is too much to ask. Really?

      Next comes a better argument against tenure:

“What other job in the U.S. has protections like that?” Brattin said of tenure.

--this guy serves one term and gets full salary retirement benefits for life. A bit of hypocrisy here, I think. Hey, give me full salary with benefits for life after teaching one year, and I’ll stop defending tenure.

     On the surface, this is a good point but…scholars aren’t the same thing as truck drivers (the most common job in the US), waiters, or burger-flippers. I again point out that tenure is typically rewarded after a decade or so of scholarship…but there’s more to it than that.

      That fast food restaurant on the corner? It probably won’t be there in 30 years, and those big trucks don’t stay in service for 30 years or more, either. Universities, however, are far, far, more enduring, and universities lasting centuries, even a thousand years, are far more common than most every business around. Universities, even more so than governments, have a sense of permanency to them…thus it’s not so unreasonable to give scholars some level of permanency as well.

     But wait, there’s more.

      Universities have (more accurately, “had”) a strong record of integrity to them, and, at least in the past, took their responsibilities to preserve, generate, and spread knowledge very seriously. They honestly helped humanity, and did good work. It’s quite common for people to give huge gifts to universities…say, how often has someone died and left a few million bucks to a local McDonalds?

      On the other hand, such gifts to universities are common, and, in the past, the gifts were used to further the university mission. Now, you can literally give $4,000,000 to a university, and administrators will spend $100,000 on the mission, and fritter the rest away into their checking accounts.

      Tenured faculty, bound to the institution, would invest those gifts wisely, because tenured faculty were scholars dedicated to the institution, interested in doing more than merely helping themselves. Our institutions are controlled now by an administrative caste that wanders from institution to institution, plundering as much as they can before moving on. 

     The only thing that’s kept even a small amount of integrity in higher education is the remnant of dying tenured faculty, keeping a death grip on integrity and standards…it’s cutting into the plundering.

      So, yes, tenure isn’t in most other jobs…but other jobs don’t last a thousand years, and don’t do work good enough to generate gifts, which over time can add up to billions.

Joe Gorton, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Northern Iowa, said he thought arguments in favor of either bill betrayed a serious ignorance about how academe works.

“This is a terribly dangerous idea,” he said of eliminating tenure. “Tenure doesn’t prevent termination for just cause, but it prevents the discipline or termination of a faculty member who teaches or conducts research in areas that are controversial or politically unpopular.”

     I’ve seen faculty fired for asking admin to steal even a little bit less, but let’s pretend that’s not, ultimately, what this is about. Tenure is even more important today than it has been in the past.

      Our campuses have turned into echo chambers, reciting fake news as it’s been fed to us by established fake news sources. Because tenure is dying, there’s a culture of terror on campus that tells faculty repeatedly “don’t dare speak out against the echo.” There are literally entire series of articles by academics so terrified to speak out against what’s going on in higher education that they must speak anonymously.

      I suspect that if we brought tenure back to where it used to be common, instead of driving it to extinction, our campuses would return to being places of open discourse and true investigation of actual knowledge…instead of scholars skulking in the shadows secretively doing what little they can.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Higher Ed Corruption: Golden Parachutes

By Professor Doom

     In my decades working in higher education, I’ve noted time and again how administrators seem like they’re trying to get fired. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but their incompetence so often seems deliberate, and I’ve met far too many admin who, first day on the job, are only too happy to explain how their plan is to go somewhere else as soon as possible.

      Inevitably, the job change includes a massive pay raise at the new place, and a golden parachute from the old. When I wrote before of the amazing career of a 1%-er, it really was striking how the guy got disgracefully fired from job after job, only to get a better job with a bigger pay raise, every time.

      Insult to injury, of course, was how every firing included a sweet payoff, a golden parachute that, on a per student basis, usually could account entirely for a given year’s tuition increase. It’s infuriating that that guy’s career is typical of higher ed at the top.
      The UK has been steadily adopting the incredibly corrupt “American style” higher education system, and it really is funny to watch the outrages repeat themselves.

      The latest?


     What other job can you expect to rake in this kind of money for leaving? I’ve covered many golden parachutes; the quarter million above is actually on the small side, with perhaps the largest being for the Poo Bah who oversaw the Penn State scandal getting $2.4 million in severance, plus another $600,000 a year for life.

      Even with this “tiny” jackpot, one really needs to do the math here. A typical Poo Bah or upper level administrator (the vice chancellor above wasn’t even a Poo Bah!) works at or rules over 4, quite possibly more, institutions over the course of a career. Thus, in addition to a ridiculously robust salary and offensively luxurious benefits (including personal restaurants, personal plane, four star travel vacations, mansions, and other obscene perks), the typical administrator can expect to get a $1,000,000 or more in firing bonuses over the course of his career. Meanwhile, a typical college graduate might not get that much in salary over the course of a 30 year career. 

     It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned it, but the big priority in higher education should be to fix accreditation, make it legitimately address whether a school is in it for education, or to just plunder tax dollars. Making this fix would be difficult, we’d have to overhaul an incredibly corrupted system that has set things up so that it’s impossible for an accreditor to find corruption. It really seems these payouts are for the Poo Bahs to keep quiet on the corruption. That’s the hard fix.

      The easy fix, as always, is to stop the student loan scam. All that money isn’t going to education, it’s just going to the administrative caste, plundering and looting their way from school to school.

      Right now, in the UK, there’s outrage over a measly quarter-million pound payout, but, I promise you, after a few more years of them copying the US system, we’ll see golden parachutes there every bit as extravagant as the everyday displays we see in the United States.

      So, just a short post today. I encourage the gentle reader to click some of the above links, to see I’m really not joking when I talk about just how corrupted our system is…and one needs no crystal ball to guess what the UK system will be if they continue to copy us.