Phi Beta Cons

Disruptive Students

Peter Sacks ruminates on the severe displeasure of having to deal with college students who are rude and disruptive in class here. It was bad enough that it drove him away from teaching.

Sacks wrote one of the first iconoclastic books on higher education back in 1996, Generation X Goes to College. Most books about higher ed are written by insiders who teach (if at all) at elite institutions where nearly all the students are motivated to learn or at least polite if they don’t. Sacks wrote about the nether regions of American higher education — non-selective institutions where many of the students have little or no interest in academic work. That is the majority of our colleges and universities.

When people pay their own money for services they want, they are engaged rather than disruptive. The fact that so many American college students are using other people’s money to get “education” that has no intrinsic appeal for them explains not only bad classroom behavior but most of our other higher-ed maladies.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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