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Lower 9th Ward: March 2006

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    These are photos and stills captured from video taken August 2006 of the Lower 9th Ward specifically the area between N. Claiborne, Florida Ave, Tupelo and Tennessee.

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November 30, 2012


As a multiple degree holding/former professor who ran away from higher ed because of exactly the situation you describe all too clearly, I salute you.

It was somewhere in my second semester in front of a class that I realized that I had to instruct the students in the purpose of college, to stop them thinking it was all about the credentials and the grades. After another couple of years of consciously designing classes that rewarded learning I just burned out and realized that there is no reward for being a good teacher in higher ed (aside from knowing you have changed people's lives, but changing people's lives is not a metric used in evaluating you for tenure).

I admire anyone who remains committed to the real mission of education in this environment. I just want to say thanks for keeping up the fight.

There's a name for taking just classes in your major in order to get a degree to perform a skill. It is called Associate's. Likewise there are research Masters vs professional Masters with the later being narrowly focused and more for the purpose of building job credentials.

What is odd is how the colleges smell money in it and are falling all over themselves to turn themselves into Walmart. (Ironically, the right side of the web page is showing an ad for APU Online.)

Some are laughable (such as I seem to be getting a lot of web ads of Sarah Pallin endorsing an online degree for College of the Ozarks ). Don't know where I visited to get the ads, but there is a school with a top level domain of .me offering fully online programs for (surely you want either one to have some hands on don't you ?) Also saw where a school offers a certified Midwife online.

From the students' standpoint, I hope the people applying have verified that their degree is both eligible via Department of Education (me suspects that a lot of these are simply scams to get folks to owe them a lot of money) and also certified by their professional association (I met many a librarian who first got a degree not approved by the American Library Asssociation and therefore not even worth the cost of burning the paper. I know a person who got an online Bachelor of Social Work not knowing that you really need the Masters to do anything in the field and preferably the doctorate - although don't get me talking about degree inflation requiring everyone to get the doctorate and essentially making a new creature of a doctorate degree that isn't research but more a professional credential).

Even the reputable schools are jumping on the online degree bandwagon as a new kind of Walmart.

Worked for the D. O. school here. Last time I looked (a couple of years ago), their online M. Health Admin worked by paying adjunct faculty $ 1,500 for teaching a 3 credit hour course (traditional formula would be 3 hours a week class for 12 weeks plus study at least 6 hours a week outside of class). Being online, students would contact the prof who apparently was on a 24/7 schedule.

Really odd is that they didn't develop their own class. The classes were already outlined / scripted. The prof just presented the class (didn't you just love listening to the lectures from a disinterested prof who felt no ownership).

Financially, think of the associate prof trying to pay off the cost of their doctorate - even if they could teach on a quarter system at 12 hours per quarter (a massively heavy load that I doubt anyone could do without it negatively impacting their performance) they would get 24 k a year. Fortunately, there are often folks accomplished in their field looking to pick up a little spare cash in a slack period in their calendar which sometimes allows getting higher tier profs.

Oddly, on many occaisions I heard the higher ups talk about how wonderful it is to copy Grand Canyon. I never dared point out that Grand Canyon had some problems with the powers that be.

Thank you for this. It describes a lot I see at work.

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