Essay About Government Education

Essay About Government Education-36
As a society we allow -- in fact, condone -- institutional policies, practices, and systems in higher education that, taken together, make good teaching a heroic act performed by truly dedicated faculty members, rather than the universal expectation and norm across campuses.Similarly, we allow the most regressive features of undergraduate culture to undermine the motivation and desire for intellectual growth of many good students; in many ways, being a serious student is also a heroic act.None of this makes for higher learning, nor does it adequately prepare students for employment or citizenship.

As a society we allow -- in fact, condone -- institutional policies, practices, and systems in higher education that, taken together, make good teaching a heroic act performed by truly dedicated faculty members, rather than the universal expectation and norm across campuses.Similarly, we allow the most regressive features of undergraduate culture to undermine the motivation and desire for intellectual growth of many good students; in many ways, being a serious student is also a heroic act.None of this makes for higher learning, nor does it adequately prepare students for employment or citizenship.

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We do not demand enough (doing that would conflict with consumer friendliness, perhaps); our standards are not high enough (setting them higher creates retention worries); we accept half-hearted work from students who do not insist on enough from themselves and do not know how to ask for more from their teachers (doing otherwise would make college more serious; how could it still be “fun”? Degrees have become deliverables because we are no longer willing to make students work hard against high standards to earn them.

A weak educational culture creates all the wrong opportunities.

The leaders of many, if not most, colleges and universities might agree with this assessment of the problem, but would likely argue, with some justice, that no single institution can risk being the only one to change; that restoring attention to the fundamentals, rather than the frills, would put that one institution at serious risk.

Indeed, it is true that this is a collective problem, and that action by many schools, supported by a strong national impetus for change, is a necessary condition for success.

We allow passivity to dominate students’ already slight engagement with courses and faculty.

Collectively Putting Learning First The common lament that higher education has become a business, or that it has emerged from its recent struggles having too much “corporate” character, is not the primary issue.We mean the assumption that retention is just keeping students in school longer, without serious regard for the quality of their learning or their cumulative learning outcomes at graduation.We mean giving priority to intercollegiate sports programs while support for the success of the great majority of students who are not athletes suffers.Resolving the learning crisis will therefore require fundamental, thoroughgoing changes in our colleges and universities.There must be real change -- change beyond simplistic answers such as reducing costs and improving efficiency -- to improve value.In the peer culture, time spent on class work, reading, and reflection must be limited; too much of it becomes a stain on a student’s social value.It has become possible -- even likely -- to survive academically, be retained in school, get passing grades and graduate with a baccalaureate despite long-term patterns of alcohol and other substance abuse that are known to damage the formation of new memories and reduce both the capacity and the readiness to learn.Reconstituting the Culture of Higher Education The current culture -- the shared norms, values, standards, expectations and priorities -- of teaching and learning in the academy is not powerful enough to support true higher learning.As a result, students do not experience the kind of integrated, holistic, developmental, rigorous undergraduate education that must exist as an absolute condition for truly transformative higher learning to occur.We mean the enormous expenditures devoted purely to securing a “better ranking” in the magazine surveys.We mean the progressive reduction in academic, intellectual, and behavioral expectations that has undermined the culture, learning conditions, and civility of so many campus communities.

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