An Academic Culture

If your parents believe that you can pass 15 credit hours’ worth of college level work by merely attending class, they can insist that you also work full time, because 40+15=55. If your parents insist that missing class to drive them to the doctor or babysit your sister’s children should be an “excused absence” from school, you will miss class. If your employer will fire you if you do not take overtime when requested and you need to keep your job, you may miss class to work.

If all of these situations are taking place at once, you will already be failing by the time the drop date rolls around. If, however, you have accepted financial aid and you resign from the university, you must repay this aid. If you have already spent it on the car you need to get to class and therefore cannot repay it, you cannot withdraw, so you must continue to attend and continue to fail. If, however, you are taking courses in departments which need to produce a certain number of student credit hours to keep themselves afloat, you may receive more passing grades than you deserve.

If, furthermore, many of these courses are taught by instructors and assistant professors who need high teaching evaluations to keep their jobs; if they have discovered that serious teaching is impossible in the situation we are describing; and if they have realized that a fast route to high teaching evaluations is high grades, you may receive grades high enough to keep you off probation enough semesters so that you can continue to receive financial aid.

The key to all of this, however, is the endemic belief that mere attendance should mean passing, and that multiple absences should be “excused” if they are undertaken to help the family with some form of housework. I also note that it is as though we and the students were all on welfare. I am opposed to this system and attitude – I think school should be free, and we should also be free to fail more people – but the students and their parents feel entitled to welfare in this form. At the same time they are Republicans opposed to Welfare Queens.


5 thoughts on “An Academic Culture

  1. Republicans (or Liberals in Aus.) love nothing more than emotional welfare — as long as it is given to them and theirs. “Ah! they screech, “Society is degenerating because the members of it will not longer give us our due! We are glorious! We wear hats! We have eyes! We populate the planet, and tell others what to be thinking!”

    If they don’t get the emotional welfare they think they deserve, then the tears begin to flow. Others “lack empathy”, or are full of nasty kinds of resentment, inappropriate to both the class and stations, etc.

    Oh well.

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