Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What can we do outside of higher ed - That's still ed?

President Obama's plan for schools includes "college and career readiness." But as I have written elsewhere in the blog, anyone on the front lines of freshman education knows that many, many of the students coming into college are not ready for college-level work, let along career-level work. There is also a over-abundance of underemployed PhD's who have extensive experience with what students are lacking in terms of college readiness. The solution? A PhD (or more!) for every school, whose sole purpose is to ensure college readiness in the students, to assist teachers in teaching the skills that will be needed in college, and to equip as many students as possible to be successful in college.

But, if I wanted to be a high school teacher, I wouldn't have done a PhD! Fine, but what did you do your PhD for? A tenure-track job. In which you would teach. Yes, and do research. But, really, how much research are you doing running from one school to another, preparing courses, correcting a mountain of papers, worrying about how you are going to pay your bills? Teach grad classes? How many of those have your taught lately? What would you really be giving up if you were to get a job like this?

You could live where you wanted to, have a regular-paying job, and still have the opportunity to shape and change lives.

Ed degree? Well, it hasn't guaranteed the ability to teach college readiness. Why not try something different? This could - no, would!- change lives, students' lives who may not have even considered college when they are taught or exposed to a "real" college-level teacher. Students benefit, underemployed PhDs would benefit, schools would benefit, and higher ed would ultimately benefit.

And they would benefit in more ways than one. Suddenly, a whole lot of that cheap, contingent labor they've been relying on will be gone. What will they do then? How will they retain their best teachers and researchers when schools are drawing them away? Hey, try offering us tenure-track jobs.

See, everyone wins.

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