Of late I’ve been reading a book by an Australian academic, which details the collapse and fraud of Australia’s higher education system.
I should point out, what he sees there and I (and many others) see here isn’t really a result of higher education, per se. It’s quite common in institutional systems for administrators and bureaucrats to take over. It happened with many US corporations (especially in the area of Detroit), where bloated middle management sank company after company.
There are some differences, though the most important from the view of the taxpayer is that the wild inefficiencies created by too much management no longer lead to bankruptcy of a corporation. Instead, they lead to higher tuition, paid for by the taxpayer. That the underlying product, education, is very susceptible to being fraud is just icing on the crap cake that the taxpayers are now forced to buy.
The “titans of industry” running the institutions in Australia, much like here, are degrading the system first by treating the students as customers, rewarding them not for learning, but by simply paying for tuition. The results in Australia are likewise similar to the United States:
The end result of a Student-Centred/Constructivist education is the emergence from our institutions of poorly-educated people with unrealistically high opinions of their abilities. This feature of modern Australian society is something that citizens experience through virtually daily encounters with rank incompetence at every level of the society. …”
The above is so familiar to me. I’m reminded of a student who said he was a “human calculator” but could not function at the 7th grade level in math comes to mind. I’ve stopped asking for “6 ounces of provolone cheese” when I go to the deli…I get a blank look, since the scales are digital. When I instead ask for “.375 of a pound”, I still get a blank look—the counter person really doesn’t understand the decimal system much beyond “1 pound” or “half a pound”. Rather than frustrate myself or confuse the drone behind the counter, I just buy the prepackaged cheese. I see Australia is having the same problem.
“…Without the mental resources that should be acquired as part of a proper education, these products of Australian “Educational
ism” typically blame others for their own failures and expect everyone else to do the hard work…
Again, there were so many people at Occupy Wall Street, just completely clueless what had been done to them, and wanting someone else to bail them out. Indeed, much of what is said in this book is familiar.
The similarities continue:
“…Fortunately for the hapless, Australian universities, with a keen eye on collecting fees from young Australians and foreigners alike, have responded by simplifying their courses and degree curricula so that in many cases they are teaching what previous generations learned, sometimes as far back as primary school. After all, who cares whether our graduates can do long division or write a coherent sentence?…
While the author doesn’t delve into in how the courses got simplified (mainly through bogus Educationist degrees and firing faculty with integrity, as I’ve documented in my blog), what he’s observed in Australia is no different in here. It’s a simple matter to show that 90% of college work is at the high school or lower level, after all. Because all that matters is “butts in seats,” having any challenge or educational material in the courses would be counter-productive.
The rampant greed I’ve shown to dominate educational institutions in the US is also pretty apparent in Australia:
“… Surely all that matters is the amount of money that can be extracted from the consumer of education product (i.e. you or your children)…”
For the most part, the book just shreds all the inane Educationist theories that are being inflicted on Australia’s youth. The author does a fine job of this, but he does have an unfair advantage: the idiotic ideas of Educationists have already failed horribly in America, so he’s got a head start on understanding their failures in Australia.
Most people outside the system truly don’t understand on how many levels Educationist idiocy is harming education, from primary school to higher education. Pointing out all the ways it’s bad is counter-productive. Instead, we just throw the entirety out, and use common sense to realize what should be done. The author makes it easy:
“…If you needed to learn something conceptually challenging, what learning environment would you choose? Most people would choose to have the best physical resources at their disposal, an expert in the relevant area to teach them and a class size of one… “
I’ve certainly pointed out that, throughout human history, humans have learned by standing near an expert. I’ve accomplished in a few months tutoring a student 1 on 1 than what the student learned in years of being in a stuffed classroom. We all know the obvious here.
These are obvious things, and higher education did the best it could for centuries, following the obvious ways for how humans learn and become educated. Modern Educationists have studied education as a scientific endeavor, supposedly, for decades now.
What have they done for education? Have they managed to improve upon the obvious ideas, or have they managed to turn education in the exact opposite direction?
Are our classes well supplied, small, and led by experts? No.
Faculty: “So the dean, vice chancellor, and CFO all told me there’s just no money for glass beakers in my chemistry lab. They each make 100k or more a year. Shut down the lab, and there goes my job. The beakers cost a few hundred bucks…guess I’ll just buy them myself, because there’s no way to teach the lab without them.”
It really is nuts how time and again I can’t get lightbulbs or basic things for my classrooms, and my requirements are pretty minimal. There are college classes with 1,000 enrolled students in them, massive lecture halls filled with students that text or play on their computers while a very distant instructor drones away futilely. Instead of teachers with actual knowledge, time and again I’ve seen Educationists that don’t have a clue take over teaching positions, because their degrees in Education mysteriously qualify them for everything. Even though casual conversation reveals them to be incompetent, they get promoted through the system…to advance more idiotic ideas.
Much like modern drug companies are forever trying to find drugs just as good as aspirin, and ignore aspirin, so too does it seem that Educationists seem to ignore obvious ideas for education, in exchange for bizarre ideas of their own creation. Only one question remains: do they do this out of greed, incompetence, or pure evil?