Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Ed-Bashing Can't Be Halted.

I’m an assistant professor in humanities at a big, mediocre state school. Since spouses can take classes practically for free, my wife decided to get an MA in Educational Psychology with a Gifted Education focus in my school’s College of Education. It just so happens the program is mostly online.

The horror. The horror.

Some classes have a few legitimate assignments, but even these are designed to be gradable by a robotic “rubric,” lest any actual thoughtful evaluation or feedback occur. Most classes are driven by silly multiple choice quizzes, obviously written by a textbook company robot. Don’t worry -- the profs have put lectures for each chapter online. If only these weren’t laughably bad. A gifted education professor slowly, painstakingly overdiscusses each little point, for example -- exactly the painful spoon-feeding that teachers of gifted students must avoid. Most classes’ lectures were done by a woman who does nothing else but read out textbook chapter sub-headings, inflecting her voice as if she’s explicating and analyzing.

“EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD is very important. Along these lines, ERIKSON’S THEORY on INDUSTRY VS. INFERIORITY involves SELF-UNDERSTANDING and SELF-CONCEPT. Also important is DEVELOPING SELF-ESTEEM. You see, there is HIERARCHICALLY STRUCTURED SELF-ESTEEM; then there is FOSTERING A MASTERY-ORIENTED APPROACH...” Really. It would be embarrassing were it not so criminally lazy.

What infuriates me beyond everything else is that these douche-bag education faculty probably got a huge “quality enhancement” grant to set all this up in the first place, and continue to rake in filthy lucre running hundreds of students through the automated assembly line. Students do more reading, research and writing in one of my undergrad classes than these distance-learning grad students do in a semester. I don’t understand how this program got approved or accredited. And unfortunately, the stereotype that most education majors are rock-dumb applies at my uni, too.

I fantasize about meeting some of these crooks while chatting with the provost at a faculty mixer, cinematically spouting the perfect diatribe to crush them and uncover their sins against education. Oh well. At least I can write about it here. Once I get tenure, I’ll try exposing this more publicly, naming names. I don’t care if this sort of pseudo-education is typical elsewhere, since it’s a travesty that it happens anywhere.