Tunnel Vision Tunnel Vision

I haven’t written much about my favorite right-wing professional organization in while (American Council of Trustees and Alumni), but I feel compelled to comment on what seems to me to be a classic case of what my mom would call “the pot calling the kettle black.” The ACTA is one of those organizations that tires to create a smokescreen of reason behind which they can hide their interest in promoting a very narrow agenda supporting the current administrative status qua.

Or, rather, they support what might be called the ‘traditional or reactionary wing’ of the current status qua. So it’s fascinating to hear their support for a critic who bemoans, “Out of control tuition inflation … watered-down educational product that fails to teach graduates the skills they need… excessive hand holding — with grade inflation, deteriorating degree requirements, a growing number of non-academic degrees being offered and ever-increasing student services…”

Whatever we think about these issues, isn’t it the very policies of the members of the ACTA that have created these problems? Are we to suppose that ACTA members have labored long and hard at trustee and administrative meetings to resist tuition increases? Have ACTA members fought the ‘consumer’ model of education that has created a culture in which education is a service and grades an entitlement? Have they fought against the use of student evaluations in teacher assessment?

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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