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Secondary education: a result-oriented field?
Travis Schott
Antelope Staff

Instructors and professors often remark about the “real world.”  What is this real world they speak of?  Often, our professors make comments assuming students are unaware of how the real world works.

Do a mortgage, life insurance and an attorney on retainer finally give one a membership card to the exclusive club known as the real world?

Answer me this.  Do we not all breathe in and out each day, are we not all subject to experience tragedy or the loss of a loved one despite social class, occupation or education?  Can we not all be affected by disease, death and desire?

How is this not the real world?

In contrast, one could very well argue that those among the academic field are no more part of the real world than you or me.  Individuals who choose a career in education often times have never worked outside the business of education or among the private sector, for lack of a better term. It’s one degree after another. It’s undergrad, graduate degrees, a masters and finally a doctorate, and so on.

With that said, is education, especially secondary education, a result-oriented field? I would argue it is not.

However, with the No Child Left Behind Act introduced during the Bush administration, public education systems are now being held accountable for a lack of results, decreasing graduation rates and declining standardized and aptitude test scores.  Penalties are issued via a decrease in funding, even the closing of schools.

Universities are not held accountable in the same way.

University administrations rarely demand quantifiable results. Apparently, faculty evaluation tools are simple fill-in-the-bubble forms ran through a scanner magically giving a rating of one through 10.  Those are utterly ridiculous, a waste of money, and 90 percent of the time, students simply note the same letter throughout in order to leave class a little early.
Graduation rates are surely expected to remain consistent, but if a student doesn’t manage to graduate on time or chooses to drop out, are their instructors and professors held accountable? No, they are not.

A student choosing to leave school was surely not influenced, detracted or put off by an instructor, right? If one asked the university, they might assume the student just didn’t care.

No doubt we have all had an experience with those professors who make us feel as though they are simply trying to make it through the day.  They stick to some predetermined, cookie cutter lecture, regurgitating facts that roll up on their PowerPoint slides. Which, by the way, PowerPoint is slowly destroying teacher-student relationships one click at a time by drastically decreasing the level of student participation. There is hardly any interaction among students and teachers who choose to implement PowerPoint, but that is a rant for another day.

On the other hand, however, in defense of those professors and instructors who truly demonstrate passion, they are primarily the ones most responsible for inspiring us to stay in school, reach for that goal we once felt unattainable and push ourselves to become better and brighter students, guiding us toward a life of more substance.

Some may feel this little diatribe is an attack on all professors.  It is not.  Most instructors illustrate a high level of fervor and enthusiasm for what they do.  Although, there will always be those rare few who treat is as nothing more than a job.

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