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.