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Fake Education

by Frank Zahn

American higher education continues its downward spiral into a system where the managers (administrators and faculty) nurture the pampered, impulsive, and narcissistic behavior of students. Increasingly, they perceive students as customers who demand an environment free of the conflict created by intellectual diversity. Faculties with liberal bias instill the demand in the students under the guise of critical thinking, which has become a euphemism or code for intolerance of intellectual diversity.

Student control devices include their teaching evaluations of faculty, demonstrations against uncooperative faculty and administrators, identity politics, threats of legal action, anarchy, violence, and destruction of property. A Lord of the Flies, might-makes-right, the-means-justifies-the-end, or fascist mentality prevails where the student perpetrators justify their behavior on grounds they are victims of the conflict created by intellectual diversity.

The cause of the downward spiral is understood once the primary motivation of the higher education managers is understood. Although clothed in efforts to maintain quality, fairness, order, and safety, they are like everyone else. They are motivated by self-interest.

Theoretically, the self-interest of the managers coincides with the self-interest of the people they are charged with providing quality education (the students; their parents; alumni and other donors; and in the case of public universities, state and federal government representatives).

But the reality is the higher education managers (presidents, vice presidents, deans of colleges, department chairpersons, and faculties) manage American higher education similar to that of business managers (presidents, vice presidents, directors, and department heads). Their primary objective is to raise funds to not only finance current operations but also finance expansion or growth in terms of facility (brick, mortar, and technology) and programs (undergraduate and graduate).

Why emphasis on growth? Because it serves their self-interest in terms of reputation, measure of success, and salary much more than merely raising funds to finance current operations. And just as the self-interest of business managers may be at variance with that of those who benefit from it (customers and the people who own the businesses—stockholders in the case of corporations), the self-interest of the higher education managers may be at variance with that of those who benefit from it (students, and more broadly, the American people).

In fact, higher education managers, like business managers, seek to maximize revenue for growth in facilities and programs. The sources of revenue include tuition; donations from alumni and other private sector individuals and institutions; and federal, state, and local governments. To accomplish the goal, they have to maximize enrollments and student credit hours. And to do that, students have to be happy with the university environment. So the higher education managers support an environment that contributes to student happiness. Currently at issue is an environment that is safe and secure from the conflict created by intellectual diversity. The result for the most part is safe, secure, and happy students with fake education.

 

Copyright © 2018 Frank Zahn. Published in Intellectual Conservative August 25, 2018, http://www.intellectualconservative.com/fake-education/

 

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