RE: Is There a Doctor In the House?

A few general observations on this milieu:

It’s all one big circlejerk. 

The “Schools of Education” (and every university has one) are a great place to shuttle sub-standard, low-performing students who can’t handle the rigor of fields like science, engineering, or even accounting. And they are enormously profitable. Universities charge the same tuition for a three credit-hour course on “Modern laminating techniques” as they do a three credit hour course in Chemistry.

Those “Schools of Education” exist because they have been deputized by the state Departments of Education as the sole, monopolistic issuer of “credentials”. If you aspire to be a teacher, you are required by law to spend the money to get the credential.

Then it gets even more absurd. For public school teachers, there are three ways of getting a raise. Most school districts have annual cost of living increases. (Or at least semi-annual…those increases come and go a bit. They are frequent targets when budgets are tight.) Then there is longevity. Most districts have some manner of raises based on how long you’ve been teaching. 

Note that as an individual, you really have no control over either of those. They just happen because you are there.

The third is credentials. Most districts have a system where teachers get automatic raises if they get “advanced” degrees. The effect of that is that teachers, having been fleeced by the system in order to get their bachelor’s degree to get a foot in the door, claw their way back by getting “masters” degrees and the automatic raises those imply.

In Omaha, if you get a masters degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the pay-back time is about two years. After that, it’s pure gravy.

In recent years, those masters degrees are increasingly on-line affairs. Spend some number of months pretending to watch mind-numbingly boring lectures on-line, pass a few laughably stupid tests, and BINGO! You’re now a “Master of Education”. Submit your new credential to the school board, and the money flows right in.

The “Schools of Education” are therefore assured of a continued revenue stream of masters students.

The teachers get raises.

The School Board gets to brag about how great their teaching cohort is, with all their advanced degrees.

It’s all perfectly circular and perfectly air tight. Anyone who dares raise a hand and say “You know what? I don’t think any of this is necessary at all. In fact, I think it’s all a waste of time and money. And really, what actual evidence do we have that any of this is serving any measurable purpose or benefit?”…well, that person is accused of “not caring about education” and “not caring about the kids”, etc.

NYU professor Scott Galloway talked about COVID being the “long awaited fist of stone hurtling toward the chin that higher education has been sticking out for decades“, and I think he’s half right. College students (and their parents) are not going to be enthusiastic about spending enormous tuition $$$$ for a sub-standard, on-line experience. The other dimension that he didn’t discuss, however, is that we’re wrapping up a year where parents of elementary students are either (a) disgusted with the absurdity of trying to teach 3rd graders via Zoom or (b) realizing that home-schooling is a viable option.

All that comes on top of the emerging realization over the last 10 or 20 years that for a great number of students, the return on investment associated with a bachelor’s degree is negative.

All of which is to say, the circular, air-tight circlejerk of “BigEducation” is getting rocked in real time, right now.

Getting back to Jill Biden, you know you are “over the target” when (in response to the scathing WSJ oped that kicked this off) the response is “misogyny”. When they retreat into identity politics, you know you’ve got them.

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