Essays for Future & Current High School Honor Students (2)

Through a fortuitous coming together of many disparate factors I happened today upon these words:

“If we look at the history of the modern university over the past 200 years since its origins in Berlin, we can see a gradual but exponential shift from the university as being in the service of society and answerable to the state, to the current situation of self-funding, profit-making businesses,” says Rolfe. “There is, I fear, no turning back.”

This quote was taken from the article entitled “The Business of higher Education” in the Metro, a daily paper freely given to commuters here in NYC

 This article expounds upon British author and professor Gary Rolfe’s latest work: University in Dissent: Scholarship in the Corporate University. This work grew out of the new ‘fee-for-degree ‘practice in the UK where students if I understand correctly are paying for a degree.

“[In the U.S.] the focus appears still to be on education and, in some cases, a liberal education. This has all but disappeared in the U.K., apart from the very top schools,” . “Part of the reason for the difference might be that American students have paid up-front for their education [for a long time], and the system has grown up around that idea. Whereas fees were only introduced in the U.K. relatively recently. U.K. students are still adjusting to the idea of education as a purchase and, as a result, attitudes flipped very rapidly from education for its own sake to the idea of education as an investment.”

One of the consequences of this is that learning for the sake of learning has all but disappeared in the UK.

Bursting on Your Bubble

Learning for the sake of learning has disappeared long time ago in the United States. I am a Grad Professor and not once since I began teaching have I encountered a student that wants to learn the material I teach because they are inquisitive and enthused. They all want to get a better paying Job.

Education is a tool for financial and subsequent social advancement while this is a refreshing ramification of our supposed majority rules democracy, and a major component of the American ethos, there is a dark-side to this. Corporations have an unholy alliance with the educational system, they start early shaping the kind of workers they would employ. Students need to know only that subset of knowledge that would make them employable.

This means:

  1. Little if any emphasis is being paid towards usual education as a bring between cultures, people, classes.
  2. Because education is so limited, scare tactics and disinformation become quite common socially.
  3. I means that people are really reduced to corporate or political tools or vehicles for the impositions of ideological goals

So Now Then

My experience as an honor student who came out in the real world was interesting.  I found that individual creativity was frowned upon, and more importance is placed on falling in line. I also found that learning for the sake of learning was ridiculed and generally was the cause in many cases of workplace castigation by management. I have yet to find a job where I “fit” in. Oh were I don’t feel nauseous getting out of bed to go to work.

More to Be said later



2 thoughts on “Essays for Future & Current High School Honor Students (2)

  1. Thanks for commenting on my book. Of course, the article in Metro was greatly edited from what I actually said. My comment was that I wasn’t really aware of what is currently happening in the USA, but my impression from looking at University websites was that the idea of liberal education was still to some extent alive there. I’m sorry to have my bubble burst, but I’m not really that surprised. One of the points I try to make in my book is that there is little we can do as professors on the macro level, but we CAN subvert the system at the personal level and with the few remaining students who are in search of an education rather than simply a degree certificate. – Gary Rolfe


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