Posts Tagged ‘students’
Tags: academy, chart, employment, students, underemployment, unemployment
According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York [pdf],
by historical standards, unemployment rates for recent college graduates have indeed been quite high since the onset of the Great Recession. Moreover, underemployment among recent graduates—a condition defined here as working in jobs that typically do not require a bachelor’s degree—is also on the rise, part of a trend that began with the 2001 recession. To be sure, our comparison of the experience of new graduates today with that of new graduates in earlier periods shows that fairly high unemployment and underemployment are not uncommon for young people just after they obtain their degrees; this pattern arises because college graduates generally require some time to transition into the labor market. However, when we delve further to examine the quality of jobs held by the underemployed, we find that recent graduates are increasingly working in low-wage jobs or working part-time. We conclude that while elevated rates of unemployment and underemploy- ment may be typical for recent college graduates, finding a good job has indeed become more difficult.
Tags: academy, food stamps, inequality, rich, students, United States
Apparently, Sebastian Thrun, the star of Massive Open Online Courses and CEO of MOOC-purveyor Udacity, has admitted his company’s products aren’t very good. The question is, why?
As Rebecca Schuman sees it,
But what is the big deal about Thrun’s pivot, and why are academics and higher-ed writers alternately wary and gleeful about it? On the surface, Thrun appears duly chagrinned that his brainchild, so proudly hailed in neoliberal wet dreams, has failed the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to learn for free. And on the surface, the new direction of Udacity, which is to leave the university environment and focus on corporate training courses, seems appropriate: Sure, go “disrupt” a bunch of corporations, they love that kind of thing.
What’s got the academic Internet’s frayed mom jeans in a bunch, however, is that Thrun’s alleged mea culpa is actually a you-a culpa. For Udacity’s catastrophic failure to teach remedial mathematics at San Jose State University, Thrun blames neither the corporatization of the university nor the MOOC’s use of unqualified “student mentors” in assessment. Instead, he blames the students themselves for being so damn poor.
The way Fast Company has it, Thrun chucks those San Jose State students under the self-driving Google car faster than he chugs up a hill on his custom-made road bike, leaving a panting Max Chafkin in the dust to ponder the following Thrunism: “These were students from difficult neighborhoods, without good access to computers, and with all kinds of challenges in their lives. … It’s a group for which this medium is not a good fit.”
The problem, of course, is that those students represent the precise group MOOCs are meant to serve. “MOOCs were supposed to be the device that would bring higher education to the masses,” Jonathan Rees noted. “However, the masses at San Jose State don’t appear to be ready for the commodified, impersonal higher education that MOOCs offer.” Thrun’s cavalier disregard for the SJSU students reveals his true vision of the target audience for MOOCs: students from the posh suburbs, with 10 tablets apiece and no challenges whatsoever—that is, the exact people who already have access to expensive higher education.
It is more than galling that Thrun blames students for the failure of a medium that was invented to serve them, instead of blaming the medium that, in the storied history of the “correspondence” course (“TV/VCR repair”!), has never worked. For him, MOOCs don’t fail to educate the less privileged because the massive online model is itself a poor tool. No, apparently students fail MOOCs because those students have the gall to be poor, so let’s give up on them and move on to the corporate world, where we don’t have to be accountable to the hoi polloi anymore, or even have to look at them, because gross.
Tags: budget, cartoon, debt, deficit, food stamps, healthcare, Obamacare, Republicans, students
Tags: academy, students, university
The university, as I have discussed many times on this blog, is being dismantled.
The university I’m referring to is the place where critical thinking takes place, where critical ideas are produced and disseminated. And it’s that university generations of working-class students have struggled to enter, to become part of that project of critical inquiry.
But it’s becoming harder and harder for those students to acquire a decent university education, as the barriers to entry go up and the quality of the education they’re receiving is going down. We are therefore facing the destruction of the university.
Debra Leigh Scott [ht: sf] summarizes how the university is being destroyed in five basic steps:
Step I: Defund public higher education.
Step II: Deprofessionalize and impoverish the professors (and continue to create a surplus of underemployed and unemployed Ph.D.s).
Step III: Move in a managerial/administrative class that takes over governance of the university.
Step IV: Move in corporate culture and corporate money.
Step V: Destroy the students.
And there you have it: if this process if allowed to continue, the university as we have known it will be destroyed. Truth be told, the governing elite can’t allow themselves to actually eliminate the institutions of higher education entirely, because they still need to bring students and faculty together (under the command and control of corporate managers, of course) so that job-training and skills can be manufactured and sold to the highest bidder. Those of us who don’t comply, who persist with the idea of what a real university can and should be, will henceforth be forced to stand outside our lecture halls asking students to pay for the bits of insight and knowledge we can offer—$50 for a good idea, $100 for a great one or, alternatively, an article of precious clothing, a barely used knapsack, maybe a freshly baked pie.
As for the rest, it will be a university in name only—unless we do undo the five easy steps outlined above.
And, of course, there are alternatives: like the University of Mondragón [ht: fw].
Tags: Ayn Rand, Forbes, novels, students
Now I understand how so many of my students can, with a straight face, cite Atlas Shrugged as a source of serious economic ideas. Because major-party vice-presidential candidates (like Paul Ryan) and people who get published in major American publications (such as Forbes) do so, too.
And it’s not even a particularly serious argument, because, having started with the proposition that “all proper human interactions are win-win,” Harry Binswanger [ht: sm] then tries to convince us that it’s the “’the community’ that should give back to the wealth-creators” and to cite Any Rand’s novel in support of his case.
I expect even my students to do better than that.
Tags: cartoon, college, debt, fast food, jobs, Labor Day, part-time, students, unemployment, workers