229 Comments

Unfortunately, students are trained in high school for just this expectation. It is very hard to fail a student in high school, at least in Texas. Students are all passed along, given multiple opportunities for extra credit, know that they don't have to turn anything in on time, etc. It is hardly surprising they carry this expectation into higher education. Higher education is becoming a fraudulent money grab. Collectively, what are we thinking as a country and how do we think this acceptance of low performance makes the world better? What is the goal of education? And how does letting students feel good about fake grades meet the goal of education?

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Dear friends. If our colleges are this messed up and graduate students that appear to be barely competent, we are so screwed.

That's all I have to say.

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This is a good explanation for the years of mismanagement of our foreign policy.

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Something very similar happened to me almost a decade ago as a teacher in an elite private high school.

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I taught at an elite law school and was pressured by the administration to inflate student scores after they did embarrassingly on the final exam.

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Welcome to the World of the Golf Elite. Golf is just a playground for those who have been “skating by” “winging it.” It seems they have an unspoken club of lazy underperforming people that help promote each other in business. Unspoken agreements to not reveal that they are not “working” even when they are in the office.

The degree’s that my parents generation respect are really just obtained by luck or apparently coercion. It amazing how many people with doctorate degrees can hardly keep up with my layman’s knowledge of their own subjects! I don’t want to out an old friend who is now a manager at Lockheed, self admittedly obtained while playing in their “golf club!” He didn’t even have a college degree only a trade school certification.

No wonder they aren’t progressing in technology on their own but relying on 50+ year designs. Boeing should have won the contract that created the F-22 raptor. At least their aircraft was capable of vertical takeoffs and landing beyond just the prototypes. They couldn’t mount the engine into the box wing section of the aircraft because they didn’t measure it properly or did they work from two different iterations of the blueprints? If you think Lockheed is doing well, that’s just “corporatacracy” in congress awarding them contracts. But don’t worry they have Orion, a plus sized “legacy rocket.

Note:NASA is fascinated by Space-X and they just won an award to spray radiated hydrogen into “space” having been awarded a contract to develop NTP technology. Not very far sighted but what should I expect from the “Golf Illuminate?”

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And the person who developed this Comment section didn’t allow for editing afterwards by the author. Fore!

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With the recent Inside Higher Ed article, I take a more nuanced view of this issue than I once did. When the FP article first came out, I was clearly on the side of Morales. But with the IHE article, it seems a bit more understanding is in order.

To preface, I 100% agree that there is an academic freedom / academic standards argument in favor of Morales' position (and as a life-long academic / academic adjacent professional I share everyone's concerns about the state Higher Ed). But on the issue of whether he was fired for it, I'm not so sure. If the following statement is to be believed, it does sound like there is a reasonable argument for a dereliction on his part. Whether that warranted firing or reprimand is debatable of course, but there does appear to be more to the story and it would be great to have a follow up.

Specifically, quote: [Concerning the faculty review of his last semester course], "'Over 24 semester class meetings, Dr. Morales meets with his students in person for 15 minutes twice a week' was among the reviewers’ comments.

'Dr. Morales MUST [emphasis in original] improve his feedback mechanism and communications in his syllabus,' they wrote. 'Dr. Morales MUST meet for longer periods of time with the students (i.e. for the full 150 minutes of face to face contact hours per week).' They also said he was required to provide frequent assessments of students’ work and use a rubric.

Morales told Inside Higher Ed that he thinks the negative review was to 'set me up for my ultimate dismissal.'"

Ok, they may have "set you up" - and there is an earlier note in the article which states "Morales said he had agreed to teach two thesis sections at the same time that semester" which I guess implies that this was the setup? - but is the charge true? That's a pretty serious disparity.

IHE article available here: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/faculty-issues/academic-freedom/2023/11/28/professor-says-spelman-raised-students-grades-fired

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In the inside higher ed article they mentioned a complaint about 15 minute student meetings in the Senior Thesis class. Do you mind responding to that? (The Inside Higher Ed article writes it as though it was a big problem but that isn't clear from the evidence they present.)

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I wish my school had fired my organic chemistry professor. His tests were hard and he graded them tough

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Some universities are frankly abandoning all objective admission standards, so what is the point of trying to impose academic standards that marginal students might not be able to meet? A professor who tries to use grades to incentivize academic excellence is asking for a fight that he cannot win. It is naive to think otherwise. Once grade inflation became widespread, the link between grades and perceived competence was severed for good. Grades are now nearly meaningless. If employers really care what their prospective employees know, they can test them before they hire them. But, for most jobs, what one learned or didn't learn in college--or whether one went to college at all--is unimportant.

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Dear Charles...that's an odd perspective given that SAT and ACT levels are at historic lows...history and English are no longer taught...advanced courses are being eliminated...further my 4 kids range in ages from 42 to 21...I have watched the gradual decline in academic standards and expectations over that time...today's kids are more technologically savvy...more intelligent...mark me as skeptical...g.

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This explains an article I read a few years ago. One of the subjects was an "economist". A woman of color with an advanced degree. Her ignorance about basic economics, think Econ 101, was astounding. They referenced her advisor, a professor I don't recall and their research in some kind of grievance area. But she, and presumably he, didn't understand simple concepts yet are advisors to the government and various NGOs on economic incentives and policies. I don't recall the college she attended but I am sure she did not master econometrics or basic economics but enjoys a successful career as an economist anyway. Well done.

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Glenn Loury needs to read this!

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I came across this horrible situation almost twenty years ago in a community college and was basically told (because of students who whined that my assignments and tests were too hard) to teach to the lowest common denominator. The situation made me physically sick and sick at heart for the future of our youth.

That youthful population, in colleges and universities then, gave birth to the mob the author and others (who have also left this sinking ship) faced or are now facing. These students are part of the same mob that are given extra credit for glorifying terrorists and terrifying other students with whom they politically disagree (see other TFP article about students being rewarded for that behavior by academics and administrators who are, per Jonathan Haidt, “coddling the American mind”).

I wish I could believe that the current defunding of these institutions by some very generous donors (who have FINALLY been awakened from their slumber when they should have taken this stand at the first sign of mob mentality at least ten years ago) will have consequences.

But for the mob who has never been taught the value of that word, it will just turn to the enemy (who has -slowly but methodically- been infiltrating colleges and universities for the last fifty years) to give billions in financial support, as long as the payoffs yield the useful idiots the enemy needs, seeded from mob minded students, frightened academics, and irresponsible administrators.

The only way to win back this theft of consequential thinking (not only of the mob mentality students but also of academics and administrators who have lost their minds, when they aren’t thinking of the consequences of their actions in not upholding standards) is for those, doing the hiring hiring, in major companies, professional firms, hospitals, businesses, and legitimate schools, to give their own tests for proficiency on their relevant subjects, to check backgrounds of social media profiles and “clubs” graduates belonged to, and to then refuse to hire anyone who was a non consequential mob member, because if career invitations are extended to them, despite their actions, their next victims will be the hands that hire/feed them.

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In physics, it was considered routine to have exams with rather low averages. I remember my first mid-term, the average was 47%. The problems were supposed to be hard. Obviously, there was a "curve"; I'm sure 40% counted as a "C" (for example). Where the idea came from that 90-100 = A, I have no idea; it's entirely made-up.

But what confuses me here is this:

When I started teaching physics instead of taking it, I remember the departments had very firm policies on the average grade you could assign. You couldn't give everyone A's & B's even if you wanted to. The department wouldn't let you. As I recall, the policy was that the average letter grade (A=4, B=3, etc) you assigned to all your students could not exceed 2.7. That's a lot of students with C's or worse. No way around it. I think this was fairly universal in all the physics departments I ever worked in. I'd have imagined chemistry and econ had similar policies.

Have policies changed?

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