"I am not impressed by the Ivy League establishments. Of course they graduate the best -- it's all they'll take, leaving to others the problem of educating the country. They will give you an education the way the banks will give you money -- provided you can prove to their satisfaction that you don't need it." ~ Peter De Vries
So if you head over to Huffington Post, they have culled together a bunch of academics, researchers, and scallywags to ask them about America's Higher Education Complex. Here's the link to the full article
As the article explains:
When asked to identify the main problem with higher education and offer a possible solution, each said that this was impossible – the system is too large and the complications too intricate to pare down to one cause. But certain points were brought up repeatedly throughout these conversations, and begin to paint a picture of what is wrong with American higher education.
Here are the top 10 problems that created the monster that has become Higher Ed:
1) Focus on "elite" institutions (prestige & going into debt to attain it)
2) Lack of diversity (race & class)
3) Standardized Testing (LSAT & others are bullshit)
4) Rankings (US News & World Report should be shut down)
5) Community & For-Profits are a Scam (Low graduation rates, students don't transfer well)
6) No one finishes a degree (lots of people don't actually graduate, just attend)
7) No accountability (spending money on all kinds of shit, i.e. Nando pointing out Baltimore Law spending a shit ton on a fancy new dwelling place)
8) No one cares about teaching/learning anything (everyone's concerned with the money game)
9) Lack of leadership (When you bring CEO types in & pay them CEO salaries shit gets fucked up)
10) Research overtakes teaching (producing PhDs, publishing articles, trying to create a "product")
Here's a perfect sum up from Claudia Dreifus:
"But, the whole system is built on a premise of status and hierarchy. It's profoundly undemocratic...instead of being a system that creates more democracy through knowledge, it's a system that's creating more striation."
And two from Sigal Alon:
"What is not getting attention is that since the 1980s class inequality in higher education is rising,[as a result of rising] tuition and declining financial aid, but also because of the polarization between the classes."
"Rankings are indirectly contributing to the inequality. Maybe even directly.
Kids in 5th grade already know the rankings, which started in the mid-80s -- which is exactly the time when class inequality [started to rise]."
Or as Mark Taylor points out:
"Standardized test are biased. The unfortunate part is that institutions still rely heavily on them, which limits access for students of color."
This is essentially the exact same list of criticisms that my brethren scam bloggers have been writing about for years. It's also the reason that the "transparency" or "reform" movement is a joke (at least in my opinion). You can't change something that has become, at its core, a social evil.
I would add the following problems to the law school scam.
1) It's a scam designed primarily to generate money for the university (literally I have had people in the middle tier of administration of my school admit as much to me)
2) Law school focuses on abstract multi-jurisdictional, overviews of the law (lots of bullshit that doesn't even apply to real practice anymore, no focus on "lawyering")
3) It's entirely beholden to US News & World Reports ranking (Bob Morse, need I say more?)
4) Anyone read the story about the "merit scholarship" bait and switch? Related to number 3.
5) The law as practiced is inherently negative leading to all kinds of problems (just search for lawyers with depression, state bar lawyer assistance programs, drop out rates in the profession even back in the "good years").
6) It exacerbates and aggravates the problems listed in the article, focus on race, class, prestige, ranking, lack of accountability, etc.
Any other suggestions on the problems with Law Schools? I have a general suggestion for them (*See Below)
Till Next Time!!! Students of the world unite!!!