The Principles of Scientific Education Management

Feb 14, 2011 |  David Clemens

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The Principles of Scientific Education Management

Feb 14, 2011 | 

David Clemens

The ed-blogosphere overflows with predictions of a “higher education bubble” inflated by worthless degrees, crushing student loans, dumbed-down majors, country club student life, bloated administrations, and throwdowns such as for-profits vs. non-profits, credentialing vs. educating, and tenured Brahmins afloat on the backs of disposable adjuncts.  The bubble produces graduates who spend years “academically adrift” just to be pitched up on the rocky shore of reality waving a diploma which neither signifies anything (knowledge or skill) nor produces anything (higher earnings or happiness).  A search of Instapundit, law professor Glenn Reynolds’s Libertarian poli/tech blog, turns up 24 “higher education bubble” stories in the last month alone.  Google spits out 248,000 occurrences of the phrase.  Still, I find no mention of one thing that epitomizes the whole sorry mess:  the Ed.D. For many Ph.Ds, the Ed.D. represents the ticket to the administrative high life, the white flag to academic scholarship, and the tramp stamp of the compromising careerist.  Back in 1911, Frederick Taylor declared the necessity for an industrial mittlere Führungskraft to deliver the factory owner’s orders to the working proles.  The California State University (CSU) system has a more grandiose, if unintelligible, plan calling for Ed.D. programs that produce

future leaders [who] study and contribute to significant reforms that can result in measurable improvements in student achievement.”

So CSU Sacramento's Ed.D. program offers a

distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum in which classes have integrative connections focused on transformational leadership, critical policy analysis and action, and strategic, informed decision making.”

CSU East Bay offers an Ed.D. in “Educational Leadership for Social Justice” where students

will be engaged in studies, activities and skill building that fosters courageous school leadership that will demonstrate bold, socially responsible leadership to address and resolve issues that have impacted the achievement and success of students of color, and other marginalized students and communities . . . .”

Yes, that does say “fosters leadership that will demonstrate leadership.”  Maybe the “higher education bubble” is really over-inflated from so much pretentious and vaporous doublespeak.  It is the narrator of Pete Dexter’s Spooner who asks, “Can the world ever have enough doctors of education?” California certainly doesn’t think so.


| February 15, 2011 - 8:44 AM

If the average taxpayer could see the day-to-day self-serving behavior of most academics, professors and administrators alike, they would vote to reduce radically public support of “higher” “education.” I spent twenty-five years in the belly of the beast, and what I observed of Ph.D. faculty was rarely better than the easy-to-ridicule Ed.D.s.


| February 15, 2011 - 9:05 AM

As a humanities faculty member I realize we’re at the bottom of the totem pole, except for the Ed.D.s It seems all our admins have “Doctorates” and not a one of them has a clue.

Dee G

| February 15, 2011 - 9:12 AM

Has anyone ever done a study to compare the IQ of run-of-the-mill teachers circa 1954 with today?  It is still a female-dominated profession, but in my mother’s day, if you were smart and female, you became a nurse or a teacher.  Today, if you are a smart female, teaching is NOT your first career choice (compared to doctor, lawyer, accountant, veterinarian, etc.).  If the starter pool of bachelor’s degrees in education are not the top of the line students, is it surprising that those with Ed.D degrees aren’t that top of the line either?  Just curious…


| February 15, 2011 - 9:32 AM

I spent 6 years as a full time university instructor, been back in industry for 3yrs now.  What many—if not most—of the tenured PhDs did was in fact a joke, in ‘research’ (‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ published papers that no one reads as part of the game) and often in the classroom.

It Don’t Take No Ed.D.

| February 15, 2011 - 9:52 AM

[...] Peninsula College English prof David Clemens sums up the recent “higher education bubble” debate and puts his finger on the problem [...]

The Most Worthless Degree? - Transterrestrial Musi

| February 15, 2011 - 10:34 AM

[...] stiff competition, but it may be the Ed.D. If I were king, there would be no colleges of [...]

John Bragg

| February 15, 2011 - 12:31 PM

There is a reason that you don’t hear about EdD’s and the higher education bubble.  You’ve never heard of an unemployed EdD, have you, or an EdD in the genteel poverty of adjunct professorships.  An EdD teaching as an adjunst is an EdD with a day job.  EdD’s have jobs while they work on the degree, and get better jobs after they have it.  Your applicant pool of EdDs may not be doing valuable or valid scholarship, but they’re not investing time and energy for a degree that won’t pay off for them.

That’s why you don’t have a culture of complaint about the EdD system.

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| February 15, 2011 - 1:06 PM

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| February 15, 2011 - 2:11 PM

In the world of religion I view the D.Min (Doctor of Ministry) as equivalent to the Ed.D. - its a inept degree offered by seminaries and divinity schools so that ministers can put Rev. Dr. before their name in a church bulletin.  In some instances, they earn this auspicious degree by writing a 75-80 page tome on some heady, practical issue in ministry.  God Save Us.


| February 15, 2011 - 9:21 PM

> Back in 1911, Frederick Taylor declared the necessity for an industrial mittlere Führungskraft to deliver the factory owner’s orders to the working proles.

Some notes on the need for a Global War on Taylorism.

David Clemens

| February 15, 2011 - 10:25 PM

Marvelous.  Thank you.


| February 17, 2011 - 1:27 AM

See, you are already destined to uselessness; to wit:

There is no such thing as “humanities”. There are instead 7 billion unique, individual humans to study in depth.

Epic Fail.

Give up now, and get a job actually producing goods and services those 7 billion people need, and we’ll all be better off.