Not everyone goes to Harvard: Education is an investment, not a product.

Stephanie Saul reports in this New York Times article:

“In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.’s coolest professors.
But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him.

Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.

The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones’s contract.”

At my first full-time teaching post, there was an instructor well-liked by Grades 9 through 11 but disliked by some in Grade 12. The seniors resented taking an in-class quiz and spent the weekend stalking this instructor’s social media looking for dirt. They then staged a walk out to protest this instructor’s “abusive” in-class final exam and never completed their final projects. Some cooked up wild stories of this teacher’s behavior and conduct. The instructor was dismissed. The seniors, some of whom were failing this class, and others, graduated.

Many of the students involved were the children of faculty and staff, one of whom was admitted to an esteemed New England Small College. Apparently, here, A’s and letters of recommendation were considered professional courtesies amongst colleagues and not something a student should strive to earn.

Your education is an investment of time, money, talent and labor. It is not a product and these credentials lose value when they are deemed as such in exchange.

Dr. Jones’ firing amid the students’ inability to accept the outcome of their actions hints at something else, and far more Machiavellian, amongst Gen Z students, while bad grades are absolutely unacceptable (and clearly the result of poor teachers), cheating and getting ahead by any means necessary, like getting a teacher fired is “not a bid deal” as studied by Dr. Carianne Bernadowski.

At this same school where I taught, cheating was so commonplace it was actually more of “how many times” has someone been caught rather than “who got caught”, though as I described earlier the who often determined leniency. Even the so-called smart kids were charging money in exchange for homework assignments. Students used paraphrasing tools to disguise the original texts. Another student copied an entire webpage, up to an including an unrelated advertisement.

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