I can’t get this off my mind, though I wish I could. That’s hard to do when it’s staring you in the face.
I unfolded this morning’s LA Times to see a picture of students at UCLA protesting fee hikes. One is carrying a sign that says, ” California….#1 in Prison Spending #48 in Education.” I think that’s true; and it’s something to ponder. I don’t know how we got into this situation. I guess I wasn’t paying attention.
But apparently, the fee hikes will take place. Up 32% by next fall, tripling the cost of UC education since 2000. 32% equals $2,500 dollars, meaning that overall students will pay $10,302 in fees. Then, for many, add in books, room and board; that’s estimated at around $16,000. For a grand total of about $26,000 per year.
That’s nothing, I know, compared to many private schools. But the UC is not supposed to be private institution. It used to be a way for the less affluent to get a quality, affordable education. Obviously it is becoming less affordable, and at the same time the quality is going way, way down.
All of this has palpable affect upon the classroom teaching experience. My students seem distracted this quarter; attendance has been very variable–not up to the usual levels. Part of that is the flu. I have a lot of sick people; one student broke her elbow. Another has bronchitis. And many are now working. I asked one class, are you working, and three quarters of the hands went up. I know of two students in my classes who are working full time and one of these told me she is taking 19 units.
People are being graduated–or so they tell me–$20,000 to $30,000 in debt.
When I was in college–those many, many years ago–I was in college. I read, I wrote, I took the tests. I over did it, I know. But I studied a good 40 hours a week. While I was in college I thought college was my job.
A 2006 study of the UC undergraduate experience found that UC students study on average 12 hours a week.
All of this enters the classroom in the form of students; it alters their relationship to me and my relationship to them
I don’t know what to say about it really, except that it makes me sad.