Patrick Lichty on Sat, 12 Jun 2010 11:01:27 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> [iDC] A movement of unemployed teachers

This is a terribly complex matter, but I agree with Micha (as I often do).
The movement of the academy towards utilitarian ends (replacing corporate
R&D, Obama's support of technical schools over universities, thus
reinforcing Postman's old ideas on technopoly), as well as privatization of
the financing aspect is simply ridiculous.  In short, the involvement of
market sector agendas merely creates short-term solutions for long term
problems and creates a drastic decimation of public infrastructure as the
private sector sucks the profit out of it.  Yes, I know most public
institutions are not necessarily part of the free market, but in attempting
to assuage legislators and taxpayers, these accounting models come into

Productivity, reliance on quantitative assessment models, and deep
partnerships with the private sector create toxic mixes which ostensibly
serve to suck the life out of the commons, with the academy being part of
that infrastructure.  What is needed is for an understanding that there are
public utilities and infrastructure that are NECESSARY for the maintenance
of society - water, food quality, air quality, education/funding, culture,
health care, environmental care, etc.  The American emphasis on the Dow is
perverse, much like worshipping the users of society.

Secondly, and I may get in trouble in saying so, is that since the 80's,
there has been in the US a race toward degree inflation.  When I got my
engineering degree on 1990, we had a 15-20% retainment ratio.  Now, at my
college, I want to keep standards, but with the recession, I also realize
that I have to let a certain number through in order to keep our program's
numbers up.  My colleagues might say that I can keep retainment up by being
a superior teacher, but at an almost open enrollment college, this is more
valid for Juniors and Seniors.  Therefore, the academic is torn between the
will to retain and the will to standards.

However, the other problem is that there is a feeling towards entitlement to
a degree in order to get a job, even at the graduate level.  This feeds the
whole machine of the academic puppy mill, the
educational/industrial/financial complex, and honestly, not so many people
should have degrees (if they don?t really deserve them).  But then this
challenges the idea of the systemic "House that Jack Built".  At the moment
one sees flat growth numbers, the system shudders and the administrators
slash budgets, while often not taking cuts of their own.

Part of the problem with the mass of unemployed teachers is that far too
many MFAs have been awarded to people - far more than the system can
support.  But then, to criticize the student for not understanding this is
similar to the bank criticizing the credit card holder for overspending when
the bank offers lavish offers of low introductory rates and extras then
raises them upon getting hooked on the system.  It is, in my opinion, the
fault of the academy for over-graduating, but as it has partially
privatized, it means to raise tuition or spiral in a race to the bottom.
There has to be a public commons for education.

Question is: are we to a point where we are ready to strike? I mean really,
really strike?  Personally, I'm not sure most are, but we should!

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