Peter Smith

Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff

‘In the Basement of the Ivory Tower’

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic.

By Professor X.

A book length version of an article that originally appeared in The Atlantic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/06/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower/306810/

A depressing account by an unknown teacher of writing and literature at a community college. Finding his students largely unresponsive, he wonders whether the common American belief that everyone should go to college is correct. Are there not many jobs which are essential and valuable to society but for which college education is both unnecessary, expensive and time-consuming? Should those who aspire to such jobs (nurse, fireman, policeman, bank teller, etc.) be forced to take a college degree? Many lack the basic skills for academic writing and analysis required to pass his classes, why should they be forced to take them? (and get into debt in so doing). Is he merely an ‘academic hit man’ — ‘teaching and failing the unprepared’ — doing the dirty work on behalf of college administrators who do not think about the morality of ‘admitting so many students to classes they cannot possibly pass’.

A review in NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/books/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower-by-professor-x-review.html?_r=3&

& this: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/bookreview/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2014 by in Education.
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