09/24/2013 by syrbal-labrys
That phrase, “working poor” likely brings to mind young folks behind the fast food counter, doesn’t it? And you would be shocked to think it could include a 70 year old man with a doctorate in philosophy, a man who graduated from and taught at Princeton. But it did.
Everyone is up in arms about the high cost of college tuitions and the student loans that beggar young graduates. I can tell you where that tuition money is NOT going. It is not going to about 70% of the instructors teaching those students! Because the so-called “adjunct professors” make such poor pay that some daycare workers teaching 3 year olds the alphabet make more. And in age and poor health, they die suffering from poverty.
Teachers at all levels of America’s worsening education system are treated like disposable people. What was once taught in high school (when I was in high school, dodging flying dinosaurs on my way to school) is now what is taught in cheaper colleges…and less of it. Professors who give college level work (100s of pages of reading and papers to be written that are over 2 or 3 pages long) receive lousy “critiques” from students who claim they are “too hard.” So, education is dumbed down.
College level teachers live on literal starvation wages. Many are required to have a Master’s degree, if not a doctorate. My beloved professor taught three classes per week and spent hours on paper grading and lecture preparation and was paid a mere $1000 per month. He could not have made it if he hadn’t lived with an adult child (One whose job as a college administrator paid more!). He is dead now, and beyond the insults to his intelligence that required him to teach philosophy, in the end, without anyone actually reading said philosophers in actual text.
And yet, Americans are indignant that we can’t seem to compete. If you get what you pay for, as the happy capitalist warriors believe? We better decide to pay more to those who try to teach the impossible to the unwilling before it is utterly too late.