Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lots Less for Lots More and No One Even Seems to Notice (Or Care)



When I attended college (which of course was many years ago) Semester I began the first week in September and extended to the third week of December during which a one week Christmas vacation was held. After that vacation we returned to school for three additional weeks.
After a one week break Semester II began during the first week of February and continued until mid-June with a one week Spring vacation at mid semester.
Today the college Semester I begins just prior to the first week in September and ends in the first week in December. Some schools even have a break additional to Thanksgiving that they euphemistically call a  “study break”.
(I kind of thought students were supposed to be studying throughout the entire semester?)
Semester II doesn’t begin until the last week in January and ends during the first week of May with a Spring break during March or early April.
Now I’ve done some calculations and based on my figures, students today receive a whole year’s less schooling over their four year college career than did students in earlier times.
Keep in mind that this diminished class comes at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than was paid in days prior. (Tens of thousands of dollars in real dollar terms that is).
I know most of you will find this hard to believe but the tuition at Montclair State when I was graduated was $150 per year. I believe the activity fee was $3 per semester!
Today, tuition and fees at MSU are $11,318. That is a 7545% increase for a significantly shortened school year.
I was graduated in 1965. That was 49 years ago. Using the 72 rule and assuming the average inflation rate over that period was 5%, the time for money to double is 14.4 years.  If we divide 49 by 14.4 we get 3.40. This means that $156 (I’m including activity fees) has doubled 3.4 times over the past 49 years to about $1650 (real dollars) not even close to $11,318 !
Why has this happened?
In the past, the State heavily subsidized college costs at its colleges and universities and gave the middle and lower classes a chance at education and success. It seems that this is no longer the case.
It appears that attention is being almost exclusively paid to public elementary and secondary education. Constant discussion of lengthening the school day, lengthening the school year, the cutting of pension costs and berating teachers, public education in general  and the exaltation of private education is in vogue. Nothing about the aforementioned college situation is even suggested.
Could it be that since much of the criticism and proposed improvement plans for public education come from college “experts” that they are at least in part, using all their banter as a distraction from their own failings.
Why is there no overt attempt to transfer public colleges into private ownership? The prevailing theory is that private operations always can be run more efficiently at lower cost and with better results!

Or maybe, the privatization of public elementary and secondary education can yield tons of money for politically connected corporations and investors where privatizing of public colleges cannot. Thus berating public schools is the set up for them being transferred to private hands with lessened public outcry and more profits to be gained.

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