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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Indeed, "what of the children?"

Eagle-eyed reader N.H. sends in this recent blog posting by our colleagues at edgeofthewest.


Gerry Barnett said...

Short form. UC Davis faculty votes 82% in favor of taking furlough days during instruction. Blog post says, this is good policy and even on reflection good politics, teaching students that taxes = services.

(my gloss: like the students don't know this really keenly and weren't already paying--how does this work again? "We faculty are going to hurt you a bit because we want you to know that we have to do this to make a very public case that we are valiantly trying to help you--so please cry out, we need you to cry out for us--but direct your cries at the administration and the state who made us make this rational and ultimately righteous choice--or you and folks like you will have to pay a lot more for a worser education to support my salary or whoever less qualified replaces me, if anyone will replace me, because I only took this job because UC had a great reputation and offered better pay so I moved out here where it is way expensive to live the dream at least as far as an academic dares dream it which was for the most part better than most anywhere else but now I have a mortgage that gives me the heebie-jeebies and I'm not about to be the patsy in what is shaping up to be a bait and switch because the state is screwed up and I'm not apparently as important as assistant treasurers or prison guards, so we're going to hurt someone I should care about to show how damned upset we really are and this had better work").

The comments thread there reprises a usual split of themes. Loosely,

a)Quality education is expensive and people should pay or see a loss of services deliberately made harsher to prove the point; teaching is as real world as anything else; teachers didn't take a vow of poverty. Crisis or not, we have to hurt someone visibly this time.

b) Economic pain is all around, and despite everything else, teaching is a calling not a self-interested personal money making activity, so faculty should mitigate the effect on students, weak and distasteful as that may be.

FWIW, I think this dichotomy of responses is a symptom not an actual argument, more like reprising a graveside conversation, and the real action is elsewhere.

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