Marc Bousquet has an interesting response to Obamba’s initiative to pump some money into higher ed, in particular community colleges. The short of Bousquet’s concerns, which I think is warranted, revolve–for one– around the consequences of the top-down organization of cc’s:
Louisville fails for the same reason many community colleges fail: they put cheap, permanently temporary teachers (students, retirees, moonlighters, folks willing to work for status) in the front lines of first-year courses, and then–desperate to armor-plate the curriculum against the uneven preparation of the faculty–convert the tenure stream into supervisors of the temps. The bribe for the tenured overclass includes being freed to teach only the fraction of students who get through the obstacle course of the first year or two.
But this suckiness is what Obama and Duncan like about community colleges and enterprise universities like the U of L. Not the low graduation rates–they’ll pull at their chins thoughtfully and agree with you there.
What they like–no, love–is the organization of community colleges, the top-down control of curriculum, the tenured management and the disposable teachers. That’s perfect! Community colleges regularly fire union officials and anyone else who gets in their way. Continue reading