Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS


I give the Depressed Old Professor only a B- for his letter explaining why our system of higher education is a mess. The professor does not point out the mechanism that has allowed universities to radically lower their standards


The relentless deterioration of the university system has been caused by the so-called student evaluation of teaching

(From "Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS")


questionnaires. Most universities now force professors to hand out evaluation forms each semester. Obviously, the nice and easy professors gets the highest marks and are considered to the be the "best professors." Why?


You do not call someone stupid by giving low grades (to students) and expect to receive favorable feedback from these same students

(From "Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS")


on an anonymous questionnaire. Thus, if a professor has standards and tries to teach, the students will naturally retaliate by saying the professor is a bad teacher.


Now the administrator has a weapon to force the faculty members to give easy grades.

(From "Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS")


The department head or dean tells the hard professors that they are bad teachers and forces the instructors to improve their teaching. How do most professors try to improve? You guessed it. They inflate their grades and reduce the material covered. This is a never ending cycle because this inflation causes the remaining professors to inflate their grades. By the year 2010, we will not give grades in higher education. We will simply pass everyone.


There is a myth in higher education that students are "customers", and they have a right to manage higher education. Students are not customers. Students are products or inventory.

(From "Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS")


Employers, parents and society are the customers of higher education--not students.

(From "Letter sent to Ann Landers from SFRTAS")


Students come into the university to be educated and trained. How can a freshman student know enough to evaluate a chemistry or business professor?


 Yet each semester we give all students this "gun" called student evaluation of teachers. They select the easier professors, and administrators harass the "bad" professors (the professors with standards). Professors must demand due process in higher education. Faculty labor unions and faculty members must sue department heads and administrators for the right to educate students. We must blame the real villains for the destruction of higher education. Borrowing a phrase from the 1992 presidential campaign, "It's the control system, stupid."




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