Flexibility on the Move

The politics of the recession is like a long, slow pendulum swing, wiping out all sorts of hard-won gains until it reaches a peak and then (hopefully) reverses direction. There’s no guarantee that the return swing is going to restore everything, though. If the last three decades are any indication, we’ll never get back to the original starting point. The losses seem to go on and on.

Faculty Fears in Washington” offers a catalog of some of the worst of the ongoing destruction attributed to the recession and suggests that the pendulum has yet to reach its full height. In university level education, the main targets of opportunity now seem to be tenure, on the one hand, and full-time faculty on the other. Each, it seems, is much too expensive for current conditions.

These assaults were underwritten by a recent, earlier stage of direct attacks on public unions; one thing leads to the other. Of course, tenure and full-time faculty were seen as equally expensive in the midst of the late 90’s Clinton era boon. Nothing seems to slow the administrative pursuit of flexible labor and greed. It’s grown so bad that even the Establishment is sometimes embarrassed.

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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