California has been at the forefront of the destruction of some really excellent things in this country since 1978. That was the year that Proposition 13 passed, which has led directly to our current obsession with austerity. Today, it’s destroying the Cal State system, which might just be the canary in the higher education coal mine.
Thank God there was a student reporter present at a forum where this dude from Cal State-Fullerton actually laid out their evil plan on the record:
The discussion began with Keith Boyum, CSUF interim executive assistant to the president who gave an overview of online learning in the U.S., with some special reference to the CSUF campus.
“This university, as every university, is embracing online learning, and we simply don’t know where it’s going to go in the future,” said Boyum.
Boyum outlined the different types of education a student can receive. From traditional learning, which includes absolutely no online activity, to online learning, where 80 percent of learning is via the internet.
“It is a great opportunity, we think, for enhancing learning and shedding costs … Online learning is an essential part of our future. It will grow,” Boyum said.
His specific example was the library, but yes he also discussed faculty labor costs:
Presently, the delivery of online instruction is not cheaper in the terms of faculty labor costs, it appears to be more expensive,” Boyum said. “At the same time, other costs may be diminished, and we owe ourselves and the taxpayers a healthy investigation of exact ways to do that.”
What does that mean? A sneak attack.
No classroom space? You have to teach online. No money to pay the air conditioning bill? You have to teach online. We spent too much money paying the football coach’s salary? You have to teach online. Don’t like it, then you can teach somewhere else or quit. You think tenure and academic freedom will protect you? You can keep your job and say anything you want in class. You just have to say it online.
Online education is only the future at Cal State and every other school in the country it resembles as long as we let administrators keep saying it is over and over again and go completely unchallenged. I hate to be a downer here people, but rolling strikes aren’t going to stop this trainwreck. If they could, then Boyum wouldn’t have been willing to say anything publicly about what the future holds for Cal State-Fullerton.
In order to fight this, you have to shout to the hilltops that there are alternatives to the fatal combination of online education and permanent austerity. Take higher taxes on the rich, for example. That could allow any state to keep public education public. This seems like the most obvious solution to just about everything that ails us today, but apparently believing in that makes me a dangerous radical these days.
Maybe it’s time for every professor to find their inner FDRs. The job you save may just be your own.