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Wed Oct 17, 2012, 07:22 AM

How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps

http://www.alternet.org/how-higher-education-us-was-destroyed-5-basic-steps



***SNIP


Step I: Defund public higher education .

Anna Victoria, writing in Pluck Magazine , discusses this issue in a review of Christopher Newfield’s book, Unmaking the Public University : “In 1971, Lewis Powell (before assuming his post as a Supreme Court Justice) authored a memo, now known as the Powell Memorandum, and sent it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The title of the memo was “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System,” and in it he called on corporate America to take an increased role in shaping politics, law, and education in the United States.” How would they do that? One, by increased lobbying and pressure on legislators to change their priorities. “Funding for public universities comes from, as the term suggests, the state and federal government. Yet starting in the early 1980s, shifting state priorities forced public universities to increasingly rely on other sources of revenue. For example, in the University of Washington school system, state funding for schools decreased as a percentage of total public education budgets from 82% in 1989 to 51% in 2011.” That’s a loss of more than a third of its public funding. But why this shift in priorities? U.C. Berkeley English professor Christopher Newfield, in his new book Unmaking the Public University posits that conservative elites have worked to defund higher education explicitly because of its function in creating a more empowered, democratic, and multiracial middle class. His theory is one that blames explicit cultural concern, not financial woes, for the current decreases in funding. He cites the fact that California public universities were forced to reject 300,000 applicants because of lack of funding. Newfield explains that much of the motive behind conservative advocacy for defunding of public education is racial, pro-corporate and anti-protest in nature.


***SNIP

Step II: Deprofessionalize and impoverish the professors (and continue to create a surplus of underemployed and unemployed Ph.D.s) .

Vice-President Joe Biden, a few months back, said that the reason tuitions are out of control is because of the high price of college faculty. He has no idea what he is talking about. At latest count, we have 1.5 million university professors in this country, 1 million of whom are adjuncts. One million professors in America are hired on short-term contracts, most often for one semester at a time, with no job security whatsoever – which means that they have no idea how much work they will have in any given semester, and that they are often completely unemployed over summer months when work is nearly impossible to find (and many of the unemployed adjuncts do not qualify for unemployment payments). So, one million American university professors are earning, on average, $20K a year gross, with no benefits or healthcare, no unemployment insurance when they are out of work. Keep in mind, too, that many of the more recent Ph.Ds have entered this field often with the burden of six figure student loan debt on their backs.

***SNIP

Step III: M ove in a managerial/administrative class that takes over governance of the university .

This new class takes control of much of the university’s functioning, including funding allocation, curriculum design, course offerings. If you are old enough to remember when medicine was forever changed by the appearance of the HMO model of managed medicine, you will have an idea of what has happened to academia. If you are not old enough – let me tell you that once upon a time, doctors ran hospitals, doctors made decisions on what treatment their patients needed. In the 1970s, during the Nixon administration, HMOs were an idea sold to the American public, said to help rein in medical costs. But once Nixon secured passage of the HMO Act in 1973, the organizations went quickly from operating on a non-profit organization model, focused on high quality health care for controlled costs, to being for-profit organizations, with lots of corporate money funding them – and suddenly the idea of high-quality healthcare was sacrificed in favor of profits – which meant taking in higher and higher premiums and offering less and less service, more denied claims, more limitations placed on doctors, who became a “managed profession.”

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Reply How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps (Original post)
xchrom Oct 2012 OP
no_hypocrisy Oct 2012 #1
LWolf Oct 2012 #2
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #3
We are Devo Oct 2012 #4
GMR Transcription Oct 2012 #5
sulphurdunn Oct 2012 #6
rerevisionist Oct 2012 #7

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 08:06 AM

1. These trends are bleeding into private college education too.

My friend taught as an adjunct faculty in a large private university in Pennsylvania for more than two decades. He was the professor who taught trumpet and brass performance within the music department. He loved it so much that he drove 2-1/2 hours each way between NJ and PA. First it was two days a week and then reduced to once a week, to teach 10 hours in a row with maybe a short break.

First the school took away his benefits. Then it didn't give him COL increases in his salary. Then it delivered the coup de grace: it officially took away music as a major both as performance and music education. That's when he lost his position. There still are students who want to study musical performance but the school just doesn't offer that option.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 08:07 AM

2. Deja Vu. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 11:29 AM

3. kr.

 

the organizations went quickly from operating on a non-profit organization model, focused on high quality health care for controlled costs, to being for-profit organizations,

i remember. and something happened under reagan too, that intensified the trend to privatization.

i wish some knowledgable person would put together a timeline; it's my impression there's been a systematic march through all the state-regulated industries (phones, transports, etc) & professional groups & all the unionized sectors.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 11:40 AM

4. I was just going to post this!

Thanks for doing it, great article

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 05:16 AM

5. How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps

Hi,
Great post and thank you so much for posting this information based on the Higher Education in U.S. This information provided can be beneficial in many ways for the readers of this post.













Thank you once again..

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 08:06 PM

6. My son is enrolled

at Virginia Tech. He is majoring in physics with minors in math and astronomy. He can spend all four years there without ever taking a humanities or social science course. This has troubled me. I am even more troubled after reading this article. I had always assumed that everyone was required to meet a liberal arts distribution to receive an undergraduate degree. I guess I was wrong.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Oct 29, 2012, 02:01 PM

7. Amazingly small number of replies...

Yes... I'm amazed how few replies this thread has had. Incidentally, it appears that the single largest (declared) source of debt in the US is collective debt of ex-students for their loans. Think of other state debts -- loans are bgger.

Maybe dumbing-down has worked well?

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