• November 1, 2014
November 01, 2014, 6:24:05 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: For all you tweeters, follow The Chronicle on Twitter.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
  Print  
Author Topic: Another CHE article on class in higher ed  (Read 24662 times)
anisogamy
Inordinately pleased to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,735


« on: March 30, 2012, 8:46:54 PM »

Should working class people get B.A.'s & Ph.D.'s?

I relate to this article a bit more than is comfortable, both due to my own working class background and the age gap between myself and my own sister (who is currently an undergraduate, and has had her own comparatively-minor struggles with the advising that she has received).  I am the first college graduate in our family and she will be the second.

I remain a bit confused about the crushing student debt discussed in this article and comments, as well as in other sources I've read recently.  I had presumed that most student loans were federal direct loans and eligible for income-based repayment if sufficiently burdensome (and that new college students who were particularly worried about their future debt burden could be sure to apply for federal direct loans rather than loans from other lenders).  Perhaps I was mistaken.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 8:47:35 PM by anisogamy » Logged

A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
daniel_von_flanagan
<redacted>
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,291

Works all day. Posts all night. Needs sleep.


« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 12:28:38 AM »

Here is a working link.

Neither was limited by their class status; they are being all victimy here.

Higher education remains one of the best ways to move between classes in the American system.  It gives you the opportunity to interact with people from many walks of life and to remake yourself into whatever you like, limited only by your talent and hard work.  What it won't do is magic opportunities out of thin air, or eliminate the need for you to find a place in the world rather than have the world create a place for you.

My father was a high-school dropout; my mother did some college over her lifetime, but never earned a degree.  My sibling and I both managed to get advanced degrees and successful careers without going into excessive debt by carefully thinking through our choice of school and program.  I can't imagine any route to my current socioeconomic class (and concomitant worldview) other than through higher education. 

The older sister doesn't say if she paid her own way through Princeton.  If so, then the moral is to not do that, especially in a glutted field, unless you have money to burn.  If she had a free ride then I'm not sure what her complaint is.

As for the other sister: I'm not sure a 20-year-old is a good judge of the value of higher education. - DvF
Logged

The U.S. Education Department is establishing a new national research center to study colleges' ability to successfully educate the country's growing numbers of academically underprepared administrators.
wet_blanket
Some kind of
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,025


« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 12:39:52 AM »

Higher education remains one of the best ways to move between classes in the American system.  It gives you the opportunity to interact with people from many walks of life and to remake yourself into whatever you like, limited only by your talent and hard work.  What it won't do is magic opportunities out of thin air, or eliminate the need for you to find a place in the world rather than have the world create a place for you.

I dunno that I agree with the bolded part.  I would maybe say that education gives you the best chance of that being true.
Logged

Let us let wet_blanket have the last word.
daniel_von_flanagan
<redacted>
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,291

Works all day. Posts all night. Needs sleep.


« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 3:13:12 AM »

I dunno that I agree with the bolded part.  I would maybe say that education gives you the best chance of that being true.
Well, consider the elder sister.  Through hard work she transformed herself into a Doctor of Philosophy in English.  That was something under her control, and apparently within her ability.  She doesn't have a TT job, but that is something external to her.  - DvF
Logged

The U.S. Education Department is establishing a new national research center to study colleges' ability to successfully educate the country's growing numbers of academically underprepared administrators.
olddrone
Junior member
**
Posts: 55


« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 7:39:43 AM »

"But after a couple of quarters she discovered that, because of the poor academic advising she had received, none of the introductory courses she had taken were actually required for her degree. Her AP credits from high school should have qualified her to start as a sophomore, but she was mistakenly placed in freshman-level courses."

Asking our students to shoot the moving target, aren't we?

Introductory courses, such as Foundation 101 (aka "BS 101"), and GenEd courses are cash-cows for all institutions, a bread and butter sweat shop where you and I slave till retirement.

As far as I know nobody has been fired for mis-advising. 

Such lack of accountability on the part of the advisors allows the academia to exploit, however inadvertently, and maintain the hyperboles of the status quo, among other tricks. 

However, the simple and cold fact is this: the student has wasted her time and money, both irrecoverable and irreparable.  As others have already commented, I concur the student should sue the school so that the institutions/advisors should be more serious about the importance of giving correct advice: no more moving targets. 

When found/proven guilty, the advisors who misled the student's academic process/progress should, out of their salary, pay the damage since it was THEIR responsibility for misleading the student, and not the student's, as some would have it.

Had this been the policy, there could have been fewer cases of screwing up, and going on business as usual.  These same "advisors" will go to class and lecture the importance of honesty and integrity and sincerity and compassion . . . . and then complain about poor retention and graduation rates, blaming students.

Logged
betterslac
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,923


« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 8:06:15 AM »

"But after a couple of quarters she discovered that, because of the poor academic advising she had received, none of the introductory courses she had taken were actually required for her degree. Her AP credits from high school should have qualified her to start as a sophomore, but she was mistakenly placed in freshman-level courses."

Asking our students to shoot the moving target, aren't we?

Introductory courses, such as Foundation 101 (aka "BS 101"), and GenEd courses are cash-cows for all institutions, a bread and butter sweat shop where you and I slave till retirement.

As far as I know nobody has been fired for mis-advising. 

Such lack of accountability on the part of the advisors allows the academia to exploit, however inadvertently, and maintain the hyperboles of the status quo, among other tricks. 

However, the simple and cold fact is this: the student has wasted her time and money, both irrecoverable and irreparable.  As others have already commented, I concur the student should sue the school so that the institutions/advisors should be more serious about the importance of giving correct advice: no more moving targets. 

When found/proven guilty, the advisors who misled the student's academic process/progress should, out of their salary, pay the damage since it was THEIR responsibility for misleading the student, and not the student's, as some would have it.

Had this been the policy, there could have been fewer cases of screwing up, and going on business as usual.  These same "advisors" will go to class and lecture the importance of honesty and integrity and sincerity and compassion . . . . and then complain about poor retention and graduation rates, blaming students.



I think she was probably well advised. I grade AP government exams. Students who pass that exam are not, on the basis of the instruction they have received in their AP classes, ready for sophomore level political science classes. It is not higher education that is the ripoff; it is, unfortunately, the AP scheme.
Logged
zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,567


« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2012, 8:47:52 AM »


Based on the facts of the story, I have to wonder about the HS guidance counselors, particularly at the younger sister's HS.   A working class honors student at a Jesuit HS would have done well in scholarships/financial aid at a good (maybe not tippy top national rep) Catholic SLAC.

Logged

__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
anisogamy
Inordinately pleased to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,735


« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 8:50:07 AM »

I apologize for the garbled link.  Thanks for the correction, dvf.
Logged

A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
scienceprof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,929


« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 2:25:08 PM »


Based on the facts of the story, I have to wonder about the HS guidance counselors, particularly at the younger sister's HS.   A working class honors student at a Jesuit HS would have done well in scholarships/financial aid at a good (maybe not tippy top national rep) Catholic SLAC.



I wondered about this also.
Logged

The plural of anecdote is not data
daniel_von_flanagan
<redacted>
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,291

Works all day. Posts all night. Needs sleep.


« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 7:45:38 PM »

Based on the facts of the story, I have to wonder about the HS guidance counselors, particularly at the younger sister's HS.   A working class honors student at a Jesuit HS would have done well in scholarships/financial aid at a good (maybe not tippy top national rep) Catholic SLAC.
Or any number of decent secular schools.  It is harder to get a full free ride at college than it used to be (says a father looking this week at his college-bound child's financial aid offers), but a good student can still attain this (and her parents - whatever their "class" - seem to have stable jobs and should be able to help a bit).

She made the decision, based on short-term cost, to not enroll directly into a 4-year institution.  She needs to take ownership of that decision. 

The most transformative aspect of higher education comes from the immersion in a diverse community that is significantly different from one's own.  Many regulars on the CHE fora have done this, as witnessed by the numerous threads here in which people discuss the problems of no longer sharing their parents' culture or set of values.  Big sister also seems to understand this aspect of her experience, and I wonder if the "lively and sometimes painful conversation" that provoked the article isn't exactly the discussion that so many of us have had with our families after going through the school experience.  Younger sister and family should accept and embrace the fact that big sister has transcended the class barrier, and that her children will be growing up middle class or better.  If they are giving her a hard time because she has to work hard for moderate wages and carries debt, they are not looking at the big picture.  Big sister should take pride in her accomplishments, keep looking for a TT job, and stop wasting her time and words blogging when she could be cranking out more papers. - DvF
Logged

The U.S. Education Department is establishing a new national research center to study colleges' ability to successfully educate the country's growing numbers of academically underprepared administrators.
polly_mer
practice makes perfect
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 37,443

Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 8:32:29 PM »

When I read the article, the moral I saw was that people should (1) choose college based on the financial aid package and (2) choose a major based at least partly on job prospects.  The lesson hammered into me as a kid was the most reliable way out of poverty is college, but only if one takes full advantage of the college opportunity to get hooked into the middle-class job network through internships and such instead of assuming that grades and a brand-name degree will somehow magically transform into a job.  Even in rural Wisconsin, we knew that being a poor kid with a doctorate in an oversaturated field meant going back to work a working-class job that family found you instead of moving into the middle class.  Watching a few people do that and return home unable to find a job (unlike people who became apprentice plumbers) is one of the origins of using the term "academic" as a pejorative.
Logged

I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
daniel_von_flanagan
<redacted>
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,291

Works all day. Posts all night. Needs sleep.


« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 9:12:11 PM »

Polly, I have to disagree.  The purpose of higher education - even the advanced degree - is not vocational training.  While someone without money can't afford a self-financed English Ph.D. in much the same way that they can't afford a yacht, if you love an area and are good enough at it that someone will pay you to pursue it, it is a good investment in yourself even if the value is not economic.  If someone with such a degree ends up waiting tables then they have still evolved as a person and transcended their class.  That doesn't mean that it wouldn't have been more practical to become a CPA or a hooker, but the point of a degree need not and should not be understood solely or even mainly in terms of job prospects and salary. 

This works both ways: someone earning a PhD, be it in English or in Chemical Engineering, should not assume that the degree entitles them to a job.  All the degree is is a certification of a certain level of knowledge and intellectual ability, which is to say of self-improvement. - DvF
Logged

The U.S. Education Department is establishing a new national research center to study colleges' ability to successfully educate the country's growing numbers of academically underprepared administrators.
polly_mer
practice makes perfect
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 37,443

Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 9:23:04 PM »

I don't disagree with you in principle.  I've definitely gotten a lot out of the philosophy classes that I took, despite them not qualifying me for a job.

However, if the discussion is whether class mobility is possible via a college degree, then I have to unreservedly say yes.  I see it every day in my students who declare an engineering major as freshmen, realize as sophomores that they are more drawn to English, and figure out how to major in English while positioning themselves to have a job that will earn low-middle-class wages upon graduation.  They buck their families to get an "impractical" degree, but they know the value of education isn't just getting the job training.  Indeed, sometimes we (colleagues in engineering and physics) have to convince the students that changing majors is the smart thing to do and that many humanities people get jobs upon graduation, even if those jobs don't say, "English BA required".
Logged

I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,567


« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 7:52:20 AM »


One factor is keep in mind is the relative importance of college degrees in general, vs. one in a specific professional field.  The older boomers could get decent jobs with liberal arts degrees, like a relative of mine with a BA in history becoming a VP of a bank.  I'm a younger boomer, was a factory supervisor with a liberal arts BA at 25, but by the time we hit Generation X, those liberal arts grads struggled to find professional jobs.  (At least from those I interviewed back in the day.)   

So from a purely financial point of view, unless a kid wants to major in accounting or electrical engineering, or some field with a direct professional career,  it is hard to justify the $50-$100K loan mentioned in the article.  Which I think is a crying shame, but that's how it goes today.
Logged

__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
daniel_von_flanagan
<redacted>
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 13,291

Works all day. Posts all night. Needs sleep.


« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 8:27:49 AM »

So from a purely financial point of view, unless a kid wants to major in accounting or electrical engineering, or some field with a direct professional career,  it is hard to justify the $50-$100K loan mentioned in the article. 
Contrary to all the scare stories in the media these days, the long-term financial benefitof a degree - even in the humanities - remains large enough to justify this cost (and that doesn't include the intangible benefits).  It is harder to get a good job right out of college than it was at some other times, on the other hand it is better now than it was a year ago and might be still better in 4 years. - DvF
Logged

The U.S. Education Department is establishing a new national research center to study colleges' ability to successfully educate the country's growing numbers of academically underprepared administrators.
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.