Phi Beta Cons

Give Low Grades, Lose Your Job

Inside Higher Ed has a revealing story today about a biology professor at Norfolk State who is being terminated because he awards student the grades they have actually earned. Since that is mostly Ds and Fs, out with the fiend!

I went through pretty much the same thing at the end of my own teaching career in the ’80s.
Here’s the trouble. American colleges and universities want to keep the classrooms full of paying customers, and many of them reach far down into the barrel of high-school graduates to do that. Lots of those students are very ill-prepared and unmotivated. They’re used to a K-12 environment that isn’t demanding and excuses weak performance as a matter of course.
When in college, if they run into someone like Professor Aird, most of them continue with their old habits and find themselves earning D and F grades. How do they react? Most of them do what the political Left encourages: instead of adjusting to the world, expect the world to adjust to you. Complain that the professor is too hard, unfair, unreasonable, out of touch, etc. Anything except improving your performance to meet the standards for a good grade.
When this conflict arises, the administration is apt to side with the students (who are not readily replaced) rather than with the professor (who can be replaced, usually by someone who is more attuned to modern educational realities). Thus do demanding professors become a vanishing species.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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