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What “Higher Education” Has Come to

Apr 04, 2011 |  George Leef

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What “Higher Education” Has Come to

Apr 04, 2011 | 

George Leef

The current issue of The Chronicle has an illuminating piece by Elayne Clift, an adjunct professor who has taught at several colleges in New England. She writes about the sense of entitlement she finds among her students, leading to complaints about her for demanding too much and outright rudeness from some. "A sense of entitlement now pervades the academy, excellence be damned," she writes. Thinking back on my own experience, she's right. Depressingly right. If you have the paper version, just below Prof. Clift's piece is a letter from Robert Neuman, formerly associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University. He writes about the sorry decline of educational standards in K-12, commenting, "Instead of trying to increase their knowledge and refine their learning skills year to year, they simply 'glide' from one year to the next without effort." Right again. That's the logical result of having turned education over to government bureaucracy. Without any rewards for excellence, most teachers take the path of least resistance and students gladly go along.

Troy Camplin

| April 04, 2011 - 2:25 PM

Indeed, this is my experience as well. It begins in grade school, where you are not supposed to correct them because it will “hurt their self-esteem.” (I correct my 4 yr old all the time, and she still has enough self-esteem to fill a school district—which may in part be because she knows quite a bit of accurate information about quite a number of things already.) Of course, if they do not get correction, they are shocked when they get to college and get it. They tell you things like, “My high school teacher said I was great writer!” (I always respond to that, “Then you ought to go back and sue that teacher, because you’re not.”)

So the question is: how do we solve this when we get them?