A reader writes in response to a post last night about Diana Senechal’s article on Big Ideas in education. I added that many of the Big Ideas today are driven by the profit motive, and Diana wrote to say that she did not make that point. I did. This reader shares his or her experience with the way profit changes education:
“Yes, your article did not emphasize how the profit motive has skewed what is valued in education today. I value Liberal Arts, but I’m glad Diane mentioned this, because it really needs to be stated and underscored, over and over again, since it’s not just Liberal Arts that are under-valued by today’s profit-driven “reformers”; teachers are not valued either.
“Teachers have no idea how bad it can get for them when profit drives education. Look to higher ed to see what’s been happening to teachers there:
“After teaching for decades (5 years at my current school), this week, I was given a contract indicating that, starting next month, I will be paid $200 per 16 week course. Yes, I am to be paid $12.50 per week. My contract also indicated that I will not be receiving this insulting, unlivable pay until the semester ends, after 4 months. This is a school that just went from being a non-profit to being a for-profit. No faculty members qualify for minimum wage or unemployment compensation either, because 100% of us were hired on a semester basis, so we’re not even really considered employees and we have no benefits or protections whatsoever.
“Profiteers have all kinds of “big ideas” up their sleeves which are intended to serve only their own benefit, and as long as the government allows it, they will continue to exploit whomever they can. So don’t think that being asked to teach for 16 weeks at the pay rate of $12.50 per week could never happen to you, because it just happened to hundreds of teachers at my school.”