The Blogger from “Why We Are Screwed” Has a Comment!!

049The Blogger from “Why We Are Screwed” Has a Comment!!

I am delighted to have found the blog, Why we are screwed. The owner/operator has very kindly given permission to use the comment below. It was made and is still attached to the blog post –

Thank you for visiting my blog but please take an extra few seconds and visit my colleague at “Why we are screwed” and sign up as a follower

James Pilant

The Comment

Thanks for posting these two articles. Although I do realize that the scope of the articles were more on teaching, public funding for science and engineering research has steadily been declining for decades, but teaching and research go hand in hand. When looking at the National Science Foundation (USA) data; however, in terms of private research money available (adjusting for the Recession), things have never been better! And, job security and good salaries are in place for tenured professors in scientific domains. I’m talking about those who are typically male, 50-65ish.

The problem we have now is underemployment for scientists say, under 50 years old in specific domains that don’t ‘suit’ private interests, and with sparse public funding, professors at the top of the pay scale are skimming off the top, leaving less available for new tenure track positions. As such, these ‘younger’ scientists can’t find suitable employment and many are caught in a never ending postdoctoral cycle, of which older generation profs can easily take advantage now more than ever (cheap labor = more publications with better authorship opportunities for the tenured prof). Not all older generation professors have the skills necessary as it is to provide students with the technology skills needed for future employment because the amount of knowledge required and technology available in computing has really been exploding in the past 10 years or so. Yet students are paying more than ever for education.

I wonder what will happen to quality of post secondary education when the older generation of professors retires in effect at the same time? There will be ever more students demanding a quality education in a breadth of subjects which is necessary to maintain a quality education (not just those that are of interest to the private sector) and there will be generally fewer top-notch academic folks around to fill the shoes of these professors.

I suspect at some point the tenure and publicly funded postsecondary systems as we know them will have to be revamped, but this is going to take years.

Higher Education in Crisis

007Higher Education in Crisis

College and University eduction is under attack while at the same time beset by internal crises. The dramatic changes in society over the last decades have changed our class makeups. The economic changes have made colleges more expensive while state and federal aid has declined. And most bizarrely, we are engaged in a debate on whether or not liberal arts education is worthwhile.

Below are two different points of view. Please visit their web sites and read their posts in full.

James Pilant

Leadership From the Ranks

Higher education also is in the midst of a crisis. Both citizenry and a growing number of work environments require the skills to navigate an increasingly rhetorical- and statistics-based world. But the social insistence on more college has expanded the number of student bodies with different needs, as well as redirected higher education’s focus to student retention and graduation rates. On one side, faculty now struggle not merely to deliver course content for diverse learning habits, but also to ensure diverse student engagement and in-depth content assimilation for an improved likelihood of continued student success. On the other side, academic professionals struggle to identify and resolve bottlenecks in the system and reach-out to previously ignored populations who could benefit from more education.

This re-imagining of higher education coincides with an economic crisis in which people need jobs and employers want higher-quality job candidates. In the face of rising student debt, students and their parents, legislators, and potential employers now question the value of higher education. Meanwhile, our computer-infused work environment demands greater technological and critical-thinking skills for even entry-level jobs — yes, even the jobs that can’t pay back the resulting debt. This conflict has resulted in new entrants in the market who then compete with at least the public colleges and universities, which have had to raise tuition to replace diminishing state funds.

From Around the Web.

From the web site, subtext2.

Higher Education has, over the last year, been steadily and increasingly heading toward utter crisis. It is clear that this point has now been reached. Total cuts to university budgets will be over £1.5 billion. It is clear that the disaster set in motion by New Labour is being accelerated by the Conservative Coalition.

The Effects:

These are all stories reported by the BBC during the last five days:

Due to underfunding by Government, it is estimated that at least 250,000 university applicants will be refused a place for economic reasons. Spending cuts have reduced extra university places at a time when there has been a huge surge in demand. The number of applicants not getting a place will have doubled in two years.

Meanwhile, Colleges across Britain are suffering from the huge cuts to funding, from decreased student numbers (due in part to cuts), and from competition from new academies. Why the Conservative Coalition are investing in new buildings and new school colleges and not in exisiting facilities is certainly a cause for bafflement.

In response the Government has suggested (as did New Lab before them), condensing courses into two years. This from the party that, in recent memory, bemoaned “mickey mouse courses”. It seems, when the choice is between HE and big business, the Tories are happy to make fools of us all. UCU has emphatically voted against these “sweatshop” courses, but unfortunately that won’t stop a host of related trends, such as the move toward “distance learning”, “part-time” courses and other such thrift measures, which speak loudly of a lack of Government funding for Universities and of a lack of financial support for increasingly beleaguered students.*

As a result primarily of the financial meltdown, but also of other smaller factors – increased competition, for example – the Golden Promise that HE guarantees better employment has dissolved. At the same time that tuition fees have massively increased (and are set to increase more this year), students are finding that they are unable to find jobs. …


Student Loan Debt a Lifetime Burden for Middle Class but Major Money Maker for Goldman Sachs

Kids today still screwed – Student Loan Debt –

Just in case anyone decided to “scam” themselves some free higher education by going to college and then declaring bankruptcy, Congress decided in 1998 to make sure that student loan debt had no statute of limitations and could not be discharged except in the event of extreme (and effectively unprovable) hardship. Then tuition began skyrocketing, players like Goldman Sachs got into the student lending business, and middle-class job opportunities for people without college degrees disappeared. The result, naturally, has been extremely profitable for certain people (Lally Weymouth) and basically awful for everyone else in America. Now, Eric Pianin is in Lally Weymouth’s Washington Post saying that student loan debt might be “the next debt bomb.

Kids today still screwed – Student Loan Debt –

My poor students are getting battered by an economy where there are few jobs in a nation where last year’s college graduates owed an average of $24,000 in student loans.

Other nations do not place the burden of higher education on the students. It is a matter of public expenditure. The United States has long been the leader in college graduates worldwide and no we are fourth. I see no prospect of that getting better but only worse. Education is not a commodity. It is a public good necessary for a successful society.

We can do better than this. We are a better people than this.

James Pilant

Rain On The Parade: Class of 2011, Most Indebted Ever (via iRok Fashion)

And it’s raining hard. The decision made over time to place almost all the financing of education on the backs of the students is contrary to the practice in much of the world. It has had terrible consequences. College graduates are no longer able to make a wide variety of decisions as to what jobs to take, they must take the most profitable or profitable enough to stay even with their debts.

It forces students to choose the most profitable fields of endeavor and imposes horrifying penalties on those that make the wrong vocational choices. If you chose correctional officer as a career over the last two decades you scored, good job prospects, low but steady pay and a good package of benefits (if you avoided working for a private corrections company). But if you chose journalism you are probably eeking out a living as some minor paper shuffling prole. In that case, your debt load is crushing and is never going to go away.

You see, in a very real way, going for a higher education is gambling. There are no guaranteed professions or majors. History, economics and technology can shift winners and losers dramatically in a very few years. You can take many times more financial damage from a wrong choice in a college career than you can in a dozen gambling binge visits to Vegas.

But get this, when do people get to decide this critical decision? Usually when they have the least experience and knowledge – just out of high school.

I would be curious as to what the psychological effects of that kind of debt are over time. This is not just any kind of debt, creditors have power with this kind of debt they have with no other money owed.

They have counseling sessions to warn you about the consequences of student debt, that’s almost nothing compared to what’s needed. What is needed is an explanation of the risks being taken. Students should be told that double majors in different fields will significantly improve their chances of survival in a changing economy. They need to be told that income varies widely not by ability but by geography. It is much easier to pay off student loans with a salary earned on the coast. The more you move toward the center of the United States, the lower your income and the more a burden student loans will be. When I read the estimates of what college graduates will make based on national estimates, I just laugh. The job might have a starting salary of $44,000. Yeah, right. That’s about 65k to 70k in a state like New York and 24k in Kansas or Oklahoma.

We can do this better, but as usual the great intellects of the beltway will scream, “personal responsibility” over and over again. You see, the phrase, personal responsibility, means that no matter how deliberately misinformed, how unfair the deal, how distorted the situation, how manipulated a body of citizens are, it is irrelevant.

There is another word, we use in this country. It seems to have fallen out of favor. It’s called fairness. That means that we have to take into consideration the circumstances of the decision that led to the contract.

That means that when a college prints up thousands of pretty pamphlets selling their very expensive program in broadcast journalism so that you can become a television anchor, a job where there are only a few thousand jobs in the entire nation, we as a society get to ask some tough questions. Questions like “How much are you making selling this program?” “Were these students properly advised?” – that is, were they informed of the job prospects? Is there any data, any data at all, about successful employment out of the program?

Adherence to contracts is important, but so is fairness.

James Pilant

Rain On The Parade: Class of 2011, Most Indebted Ever So when I’m not looking at fashion or music related crap on the internet (and out in the world)…I brush up on my current events. Especially if it pertains to my living conditions in the years to come. I came across an interesting article about the debt for college grads this year (2011). Although the article basically goes on to say that going to college and collecting the student loan debt is ultimately worth it, it does still suck a big one. … Read More

via iRok Fashion

A Lecture by Richard D. Wolff (Concerning Our Current Economic Crisis)

I found these lectures online and very much enjoyed them. These lectures are given by Richard D Wolff.

This quote comes with the video –

These Tuesday evenings will each begin with an update and analysis of major economic events of the last month and their contexts of longer-term economic trends shaping politics and society here and abroad. We will focus on the evolving global capitalist economic crisis and its consequences. We will examine topics such as the social costs effects of the historic long-term US unemployment, national debt crises and “austerity programs” in Greece, Ireland, Spain, and beyond changes in today’s Chinese economy and their global effects, tax reform and the entire tax issue in the US today, continuing crisis in the US housing and credit markets the economics of immigration.

These are the first four

Is Higher Ed Doomed? (Part I): Driving off a cliff near you, the state-run university (via Paul Kiser’s Blog)

This Part 1 is the intriguing first shot across the bow to get our attention. It explains the developing crisis in state run universities.

What Kiser has said so far has definitely caught my interest. I’ve read this one and I’m looking for part 2.

This is going to be interesting. I think you will enjoy it as well. So, read this one and then catch the number 2 article when it comes. While you are at this, it might be a good idea to favorite the site. There might be a part three. Besides, you’d enjoy reading the site regularly. I do.

James Pilant

Is Higher Ed Doomed? (Part I): Driving off a cliff near you, the state-run university by Paul Kiser USA PDT [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679] Article first published as Is Higher Education Doomed (Part I): Driving Off a Cliff Near You – The State-Run University on Part I The average cost of a college degree is rapidly rising. In 2006, the annual average cost for tuition and fees at a state- … Read More

via Paul Kiser’s Blog