New book on for-profit universities: "Lower Ed"

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by John Bear, Apr 20, 2017.

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  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

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    Lower Ed: the troubling rise of for-profit colleges in the new economy.

    Just published. Gets a long and very good review in NYTimes (""With great compassion and analytical rigor, Cottom questions the fundamental narrative of American education policy, that a postsecondary degree always guarantees a better life..”) The author, sociologist Tressie Cotton, worked as a recruiter for two online colleges. I haven't seen it yet, but plan to.

    From one of the many Amazon reviews: "This book is a page-turner. McMillan Cottom deftly interweaves personal narrative and rigorous social science research in her exploration of for-profit schools. For my nerds out there, this book is data rich, well argued, and nuanced. But that's not all! This book is engaging and empathetic, two qualities that many social science investigations lack. This book is not a one-note condemnation of for profit schools, but instead reveals the myriad social factors which led to the emergence of the for-profit education industry."
     
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    ...and because of that, I'm out.
     
  3. decimon

    decimon Active Member

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  4. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Member

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    Is this what you call a straw man? I can't recall anyone with common sense making that statement. There is no need to shoot down that silly claim with with great compassion and analytical rigor. One sentence should have done it. There are two options for being a bum, an educated bum or an uneducated bum.
     
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    but great title though.
     
  6. TomE

    TomE New Member

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    I have a long plane ride coming up soon. I'll bite the bullet and (hopefully) report back in a timely manner. Certainly looks like an interesting book on a topic that is very popular around these parts!
     
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    It is a cute title. I'll look forward to the review.
     
  8. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Member

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    I wouldn't bee too fast to dismiss Tressie Cottom. I recently heard an interview she did on NPR and she was quite solid.

    Cottom holds her Ph.D. in sociology from Emory U. and is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth U. Not too shabby.
     
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    I've seen what she says in other media. If she's your cup of tea then by all means, enjoy the book.
     
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    Degrees and titles mean little; Bill Cosby has his Ed.D. from UMass-Amherst, but I wouldn't trust him around any of my female friends or relatives.
     
  11. heirophant

    heirophant Member

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  12. Johann

    Johann Active Member

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    Neither would I. But it doesn't follow - even from Cosby's horrible example - that degrees mean little. If they mean so little, why do so many work so hard to attain them? Yes, behavior can ultimately speak 'way louder than credentials, but that doesn't translate into a general disparagement or minimizing of education itself. There are thoroughly bad people with good educations -and vice-versa.

    Degrees do mean plenty, Bruce. Yours included.

    Respectfully,

    J.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  13. Johann

    Johann Active Member

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    In other villainous news, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe holds seven earned degrees - two earned while in prison. Also 11 honorary degrees plus three revoked.

    Not even Mugabe - or Cosby, for that matter - will alter my view on the desirability - or significance - of higher education. Nothing - including education - will redeem either man, but as to higher education itself... Well, I have to believe in it, no two ways about it.

    J.
     
  14. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    You're missing my point; Steve had put forth that we shouldn't dismiss this Tressie Cottom because she has a Ph.D. from a respected school and is a tenured professor at another respected school. Those 2 things alone mean absolutely nothing; I had a professor with a Ph.D. from Harvard who I wouldn't trust with sharp scissors, and another Ph.D. (I forget from where) professor who was one of the biggest anti-white (I should say anti-everything but black) racists I've ever met.

    Degrees and titles aren't pictures into someone's character, their words, writings, and actions are those.
     
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    The issue isn't "degree or no degree". It's not even "Does she have an agenda?" (Everyone has an agenda) or even whether you agree with her or not. The issue is the quality of her writing and research.
     
  16. Johann

    Johann Active Member

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    Agreed - sorry, Bruce. I did miss your point. I took your statement "Degrees and titles mean little" too literally. They do, as you say, mean very little, if anything, about someone's character. And Kizmet is right - everyone has an agenda. Even yours truly.

    J.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  17. Lerner

    Lerner Active Member

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    "...and because of that, I'm out."

    Are we dealing with sharks?
    Shark tank ?
     
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    Maaaaaaaybe. :smile:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    Everyone has an agenda, but who cares? What I care about is whether people can put aside their agenda to conduct disinterested research, whether they still have a mind that can learn and are interested in the thrill of discovery that comes from legitimate academic research, whether they have the emotional maturity to understand that their PhD doesn't give them some special wisdom such that their opinions are suitable for framing and carving in stone.

    I don't know this Emory-educated scholar at VCU from the woman down the street, but if she's one of the all-too-common pseudo scholars with all the right credentials but a mind that just will not function because she's decided on what the truth is and her scholarship is just a vehicle for pushing that, then she's the worst sort of idiot: an idiot whose mind isn't even improved by an elite education. There are a while lot of idiots running around academia like that, they give us all a bad name. Again, no clue if this woman fits that category, she might be the bomb for all I know.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  20. TomE

    TomE New Member

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    I suspect there will be some type of slant to the text; she likely has a good amount of personal interest and a developed opinion on the topic. I think one would be hard-pressed to find a text by an academic (outside of a textbook) that possess some degree of personal bias or slant.
     

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