Rantings and tirades of a frustrated economist.
"Ms. Bruninga-Matteau does not blame Yavapai College for her situation but rather the 'systematic defunding of higher education.'"They will NEVER EVER LEARN.
Of the 22 million Americans with master's degrees or higher in 2010, about 360,000 were receiving some kind of public assistance, according to the latest Current Population Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March 2011I wonder how many of those were science degrees and how many were arts degrees.
I have a friend with a M.S. in Economics who works at a bowling alley.He taught community college for seven years without an offer for a full-time job. He was passed over to promote unqualifed women and minorities. Finally he quit.
It's all a matter of supply and demand. There is, of course, a demand for mediaeval studies. Yes, there might be a need even for 2000 people who are expert in it, in the entire US, and who have positions teaching it. And that number is probably going to decrease. Maybe by quite a lot. Those who have positions available can pick and choose; only the best need apply (or friends of the President). The real dirty secret of higher education is not how many teaching assistants, "adjuncts" are on welfare (to speak as a professor myself, who the Hell cares?), but that information on the number of positions of various sorts in academe is very difficult to find.The old German system was the best. Brutal and brilliant. After receiving a doctorate, the would-be faculty would write a second thesis, the Habitilitations-Schrift, and if that was accepted, he became a PrivatDozent. That meant that he was licensed to tutor students. He was paid directly by the students, which meant that he had to be a good teacher. In each discipline there was one full Professor, and Herr Professor would be paid by the state or whatever. Herr Professor was nearly always a fine scholar. So the PrivatDozents couldn't grade-inflate, because it was Herr Professor who set the exams and maintained the standards. Of several PrivatDozents one might be chosen for elevation to the professoriate and a regular salary.This system brought Germany out of the mediaeval period to the scholarly, scientific, and technical leadership of the West in about four generations. It worked exceedingly well - the students were well taught, and academic and scholarly standards were advanced. No grade inflation.Of course, the PrivatDozents died like flies - some of hunger, many of tuberculosis. Ah well. it was all worth it.
"I find it horrifying that someone who stands in front of college classes and teaches is on welfare," she says.There. That is the whole problem in one sentence. Cargo-cult magic. If I get an advanced degree and teach, a wonderful life will unfold like a flower just for meeeeeeee.they never stop to think it through. What subject, how much to pay for the degree, how in demand it will be....Aaron this sort of attitude will never ever learn and your book Worthless would never help her. She is entitled and all.
You guys have forgotten something: when the decline bottoms out, her trebuchet building skills will be at PEAK DEMAND!! She was really just preparing for the future unlike you jokers! :D
In the same article, it's the fifty-something graduate student (and part-time faculty) in film studies that unwittingly puts it best: "As he sat in the WIC office with his family, Mr. Stegall blamed himself. He made a choice, he says, to earn a graduate degree even as he saw the economy collapsing, the humanities under assault, and the academic job market worsening."As a man, I felt like I was a failure. I had devoted myself to the world of cerebral activity. I had learned a practical skill that was elitist," he says. "Perhaps I should have been learning a skill that the economy supports."Yup, reality's a female dog...
You can tell from the picture that she's, um, NOT starving.
My brother in law got a PH.D in Medieval Studies. But it was an Arabist degree, which required a near native fluency in 4 different dialects of Arabic.The alphabet agencies through ten's of thousands of dollars at him.
I found this to be rather revealing: "As a man, I felt like I was a failure. I had devoted myself to the world of cerebral activity. I had learned a practical skill that was elitist," he says. "Perhaps I should have been learning a skill that the economy supports."The difference between the woman on the dole and the man? The man feels shame and blames himself for making a mistake, and seems to have learned something from it. The woman just blames society for the "systematic defunding higher education."
"I find it horrifying that someone who stands in front of college classes and teaches is on welfare" - well, I certainly don't. Keeps their minds sharp. But it is a pity that welfare exists. There used to be a tradition of genteel poverty in academia - the chief professor in a subject area was usually but not always well paid, the rest not. Academia was rather like the Ministry, the poverty of which Aaron has described so eloquently (many eminent German academics and also armed forces members were the sons of Lutheran pastors). It was generally a good idea if some family member could contribute a little. Of course some academics were independently wealthy.Again, it used to be that the officer corps in various armies were not well paid, and it was a good idea for an officer to be independently wealthy (as George Patton was) or provided at least with money for his uniforms by an elder brother.O tempora o mores!
Cap, normally I agree with you, which I why I comment so sparsely. However, as a successful History graduate (not in US), I would have to say that history is the mother of all studies, because without knowing and understanding history we are bound to re-make the same mistakes (cf. Obama). This includes whatever sub-fields you like - war, art, economics, religion, philosophy. Where would you be without knowledge of Smith, Say, Hayek, Keynes etc. In fact, knowledge of history is the pre-requisite of all knowledge, unless we wish to re-invent the wheel every generation. There may an over-supply of Medieval historians, but there should always be some demand for the best ones. But who is the best? The person with the best grades from the best colleges, or some female, "part-Cherokee' quota with a entitlement attitude?
PS, The link didn't work for me, but I should add some thoughts. The Neo-Marxists are winning now not because they conquered the hard sciences, but because they conquered the humanities, especially History, and controlled the discourse. Until all the bulldust fringe studies are removed, you will remain a voice crying in the wilderness. The rot started a century ago with what was then called 'Modernism'. Now, I have to explain to my children that the Nazis were actually National Socialists, the 'Enlightenment' killed more people than the plague, the Democrats supported slavery, and the Bolsheviks named themselves. Truth has to be defended in every generation. It starts with history, and the facts are in our favour.
There's kind of a myth that STEM degrees insulate you from this. I know lots of people with physics PhD's what have had huge problems getting a decent/secure job, and that was before this economic downturn. Some of these have worked at different international labs like CERN and elsewhere. A lot of people in the computer/ programming business turn out to have graduate degrees in physics, chemistry, pharmacology, whatever. In fact, I was once told by someone who tries to recruit students for a renowned research institute (of a multi-national), that a lot of students say to him: "Why should I break my head getting a really hard degree when I can more easily get a job that pays 4x as well by getting an MBA (etc) and being the manager of those scientists."What is more, supply and demand in various fields is hard to predict, so it's not always a matter of foreseeable consequences.
And, then there is this guy...http://finance.yahoo.com/news/even-a-phd-couldn-t-keep-this-man-off-food-stamps.htmlNotice that there is no mention of what he has a Phd in until halfway down the article.
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