Letter from Memphis


Dear Ann Landers: The letter from "Depressed Old Prof in New Orleans" is absolutely correct. As a professor, I can attest to that. As


 colleges and universities admit underprepared students in order to collect their tuition, the pressure is on to give them passing grades.

(From "Letter from Memphis ")


Three years ago, I was called into the dean's office to discuss my performance. Among other things, I was told (and I quote), "I don't care what you have to do. More students must succeed in your classes."The unstated but clear implication was to lower the standards in order to move those students along.

(From "Letter from Memphis ")


The next year, and even greater percentage of students "did not succeed," so I flunked them. I simply could not and would not pass students who had not mastered the material, regardless of the consequences. If I hadn't had tenure, I would surely have been fired.I get no satisfaction out of having a high percentage of my students fail. In fact, it makes me sad when this happens. But that's the way it is today in Tennessee and, I'm sure, in a good many other places. - Old Prof in Memphis


Dear Memphis: Cheers from here for keeping the standards high. It takes courage to swim against the tide and risk alienating the "business as usual" crowd. We need more "Old Profs" like you. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.
November 20, 1995





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