The Cheapening of Academia

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary As my wife attends college, she has been discovering that the majority of her instructors are part-time. Maybe only two of every ten instructors my wife has is full-time. This comes as no surprise to my wife. The college has been making cutbacks because it is receiving less funding from the state. She noticed that the dinner period had been completely cut out, and that the dining hall for even the lunch hour had been shortened by an hour. Certainly courses have been cut from the curriculum, and the shortage of funding has meant that senior instructors are now being “retired” early. Those senior instructors who are left now have to handle almost twice the workload of classes. Of course, more part-time workers have been hired to fill the growing number of classes due to more people going to college than ever.

The irony is that student enrollment is up, and this means more money for the college. At the same time, the State of Illinois, as well as many other states, have actually been cutting back on funding for providing more teachers and academic staff for state-run colleges and universities. It is estimated that 67 percent of all staff at many colleges and universities are now part-time. This way many academic institutions do not have to pay for health care or pensions. I guess this should come as no surprise given the state of each and every states’ economic outlook. With Illinois having a state debt of $139 billion, lawmakers are cutting at just about every corner. But I have to ask the question whether cutting education is a wise idea? After all, the cutting of funding to our academic institutions will mean our young people will not get the quality education they deserve. Is making due with a lower quality of education better? Will this help our young people be prepared for the workplace? I can only shake my head at this.

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