Monday, November 26, 2012

How much do we value education?

I was saddened to read an article recently confirming what a retired professor and friend had told me about the pathetic wages of adjunct college and university professors.  The article Working for change in higher education: The abysmal state of adjunct teacher pay, notes how in a state like Florida those teaching at a state or community college level make under $2,000 per class.  That means for someone teaching eight classes a year he/she would annually make a grand total of $16,000, and likely have few if any benefits. My guess is they would do far better working as a custodian at the college or university.

Garrison Keillor, a popular radio personality, used to joke about college english majors having work that involved asking if the customer wanted fries with their meals.  Seems that even if those same english majors were to find full-time work as adjunct professors they might be paid about the same as those flipping burgers or serving coffee.  This has to be a harsh reality for those who have labored so hard to get a masters or doctorate degree AND who have likely taken out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. So, if you are a student interested in teaching at the university level, caveat emptor, let the buyer/student beware, your degree may not be nearly as valuable as your investment.

Please remind me again... how much do we value education in this country?

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