Pot, Meet Kettle

I have to start out with a kind of disclaimer: Marc Bousquet is a friend of mine and he wrote a positive review of my book (it’s on the cover). Even if he hadn’t, though, I think I would still welcome his recent commentary, “Fix Nonprofit Higher Ed First,” for its refreshing reality-based argument about for-profit and non-profit higher education. The for-profit make a too convenient target.

Personally, I think that for rhetorical reasons he overstates the ills of the for-profits (where I work); not all schools are the same, and we do some things just as well as the non-profits. But he’s right to make the obvious point that the non-profit sector is much larger, and so much guiltier. Too often the focus on the non-profits works as a smoke screen for some ugly practices.

In any case, all of higher education needs labor and regulatory reform, not simply the for-profit sector. I’ve certain witnessed my share of what Bousquet calls “slapdash, harebrained systems of hiring and evaluation by administrators.” And it seems obvious that in a democratic society so heavily dependent on technology that higher education should be free. It’s just common sense.

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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation