No Professor Left Behind

College_18_College_classroom-300x225 No Professor Left Behind I recently had the opportunity to guest lecture for an American Government class at a private Midwestern college. My friend who teaches the class invited me to share some insights about political theory. While I have taught classes to select groups of motivated students, I was ill prepared for the harrowing experience of addressing the ordinary university student.

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The 25 or so students entered into the classroom and plopped into their seats. I immediately tried my best to connect with them by explaining some basic concepts of government and law. It proved very difficult since most of the students, although polite, were simply not interested in the topic. Some three or four students carried on the class discussion. I thought I had failed miserably until my friend later commented that he was pleased to see how much interest the class had generated.

My experience was hardly unique.

I have spoken with other professors who have had similar experiences. There may be a few fine students who really do want to learn and are highly motivated, but there are also many students who simply don’t want to be in their classes. They are there because they are required to be there to graduate. Moreover, many students feel a university degree is a kind of entitlement that they have the right to claim despite their performance in the classroom.

Anyone who is involved in education will acknowledge the mechanical nature of the modern education process. The university is often focused on granting ever more degrees, securing larger enrollments or raising massive funds. This can lead to the lowering of standards or overlooking problems like cheating and plagiarism in order to keep enrollment numbers high, so as to keep federal funds flowing.

As a result, something very important has been lost in higher education. In our efforts to leave no child behind, we are leaving teachers and professors behind. We are turning our professors into mere monitors of testable information rather than mentors who guide their students to develop character and wisdom. We are asking them to conform to politically correct agendas, instead of giving students a vision of society based on reality and a notion of truth. Professors cannot advance in the practice of doing that which they should be doing: real teaching. They are being left behind.

It is an example of what I call the “frenetic intemperance” of our times where the higher purposes of education are left behind and the concrete results of numbers are highlighted as success. It involves sending people to college for the sake of going to college.

What is particularly tragic about this whole mentality is the obsessive idea that more is better. Those who hold this view believe that if students with degrees earn more than those without, then all students must be granted degrees, any degree, regardless of their abilities or debts contracted.

The recent proposal to grant all students two “free” years of community college is an example of this numbers mindset. It does not get to the core of the matter. Rather, the proposal will end up filling more classrooms with “students” who really don’t want to be there. It will occupy more professors with processing, not teaching, students. It will saddle taxpayers with the bill to pay for the “free” education that fails to educate.

Higher education should be for students who want to be there. It should be for those who Subscription13-300x300 No Professor Left Behindhave a passion for the subjects for which they study. Contrary to so many who now enter the university system, students should have a clear notion of what they are going to do with their degrees…and how they are going to pay for them.

Higher education should also be for professors who want to profess, not monitor. They should be free to communicate their passion for study, knowledge and truth to their students. In our folly, to push students ahead, we must not leave our professors behind.

As seen on,

  • Amen!

  • Kent Courtney

    Enthusiasm seems to be lost by the numbers approach. Students come into a class to get their “ticket punched” and move onto the next class. The goal becomes the graduation where the students’ tickets can be cashed in for a paycheck. This attitude must be stopped at an early age. The loss of the love of learning occurs in elementary schools that must teach a test rather than inspire children to greater thinking.

  • Pichi Escoda

    I believe that the ‘passion for knowledge’ starts at home. If parents themselves are only interested in financial returns, it will be very difficult for professors to initiate it at this late stage.

  • Cole

    I think the issue with a class such as government or history or the other classes students feel forced into is that most college students have had these classes multiple times in primary and secondary education and aren’t learning anything new and therefore are uninterested. Yes, there are larger problems with education, but I think this is what you were experiencing.

  • MaryB435

    This is all true, but what can we DO about it? We are all aware of the frenzy to “keep up with the Joneses”. But, even for those who have no desire to race to keep up, if we DON’T race, we will be trampled in the stampede of everyone ELSE’S racing.

  • peter

    Trouble is, in Australia at any rate, our society has systematically dismantled the family and all other forums of human debate and communication (pub, church, darts evening, saturday night dances) so that we now have children in our schools and uni classes who can barely speak English and even have difficulty grunting articulately to each other. It means that the rest of us, the brighter students and the more dedicated lecturers, are now swamped by morons. The only real university level learning, now takes place at post graduate level. The solution. Open separate graduate schools where training for a trade like the law or medicine is excluded, and where you get no qualification. You simply read and lecture and discuss and publish. For the rest of your life, if needs be. A little cell and a straw paillasse, warm meals of soup and bread and wine, provided free of charge. You receive little in the way of a salary of course. A non electronic campus in most ways, though not in the library search engines. You only get in if you have merit. No free loaders settled on us by politicians.

  • marie

    We are turning our professors into mere monitors of testable information rather than mentors who guide their students to develop character and wisdom. We are asking them to conform to politically correct agendas, instead of giving students a vision of society based on reality and a notion of truth.
    As a recently retired teacher at the elementary level, this is certainly the case! It begins at the lowest levels of entry in our education system. Unfortunately, what was said in the article about the student’s disengaged attitude can also apply to the youngest among us! Teachers are under pressure to see and get results by constant testing beginning in Kindergarten. The students are programmed with agendas that they are too young to understand, etc.
    I have no solution except making people aware of the situation and constant prayer! God help us all!

    • Joan_A

      I have recently been closely examining the impact of Sex Education for pre-primary, primary and secondary school children, and am writing a report. Amongst many authors on this subject, the clearest message comes from Dr Anchell (1985), who has written two vital books on the psychoanalysis of sex education. “Killers of Children” and “Whats wrong with sex education”. Dr Miriam Grossman of International Renown who wrote “You’re Teaching May Child WHAT” and “Unprotected” often refers to his work. Importantly children’s ability to learn is being squashed by politically motivated, unscientific information provided to them from K-12. Pre-school and primary aged chidlren do not need to be given details about the mechanics of sex, their parents should be there educators, providing information little by little, no one else. Primary school represents the child’s latency period when their learning curve is at its highest level. According to Dr Anchell politically motivated sex education stultifies this learning curve as well as the child’s healthy sexual development. Planned Parenthood and SIECUS amongst other organsations, Kinsey and Money have a lot to answer for in their impact on first world nations.

      • Tony Powell

        Hey, Joan! Why is Al Qaeda more compassionate than you?

        The 9/11 hijackers got to die instantly.

  • Foo Bar

    1984, here we come!