A Festivus miracle, and associated grievances to be aired

Okay, there really wasn’t one. The closest thing to a miracle was that my wife was able to walk around with cane both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, after having spent the day before in a wheelchair. We got through the Airing of the Grievances. It simply could not all be done on the 23rd. The lists were long, and not without argument.

Somehow, we never got to mine. So, thus this post. I have a lot of grievances with you people!

1) Every time policy-wonks and do-gooders talk about reforming college costs, they look at me blankly when I suggest the first step is to take parental resources out of the equation. It’s too much like talking to an addict that can’t imagine giving up the clean, blue rush of a heroin (so I’ve read it described).

2) You still haven’t agreed who is responsible for paying for what and how much. Everything else you are talking about is just useless noise.


You were not quite half so proud when I found you broken on the beach
Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach
And the band, they played the homecoming theme as I caressed your cheek
That ragged, jagged melody, she still clings to me like a leech
But that medal you wore on your chest always got in the way
Like a little girl with a trophy so soft to buy her way
We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar
Of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore

4. You still keep trying to sell the Common Core without honesty or integrity.

5. You keep telling USED to publish better data and information, but you fail to recognize (or accept) that it doesn’t have anything else useful about postsecondary education – and you prevent the Department from collecting what could be much better and more useful.

6. You continued to ignore your conflicts, or outright lie about them, while destroying the history of your greatness. All in the name of pushing your for-profit school over your newspaper.

7. Too many of you still do not understand student debt and the nature of the alleged or pending crisis, using big numbers without understanding.

8. You promised us a Ratings System in the fall, but the best you could do is give us a draft plan on the last business day of fall. When you asked for advice, we told you this was hard. But did you listen?

9. You continued to gripe and groan and whine about the IPEDS Graduation Rate and its limitation on first-time, full-time undergrad students but you never did anything more until APLU and others put together the Student Achievement Metric project. You also forget that you blocked more meaningful rates for two decades, and the current measure represents the collective obstruction of presidential associations and other special interests.

10. You supported the ratings idea as an expression of your anger with higher ed hoping they would do more good than harm while you also bemoaned the likely cost of the ratings on campus. In the end, you were right, and wrong.

11. You paid lip-service to all special snowflakes, but you never noticed the rainbows, nor could you describe them.

12. You STILL don’t really understand the cost of student debt, nor the cost of forgiveness and pay-as-you-earn. It’s like the law of conservation mass-energy: the total mass-energy of a system is constant. Only the phases change. Likewise with paying for college, the spend is still the same for a year, we just keep shifting around who pays…except some shifts cause real costs to grow over time in terms of opportunity costs elsewhere.

13. I am afraid you still don’t understand that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

14. You still haven’t responded to the fact that I have told you how to rate colleges – for Title IV eligibility only – and made it as simple as possible. Especially since the theater of college presidents and association lobbyists appearing before Congress to argue that a 20% graduation rate is too high of a standard to obtain is just too delightful to miss.

15. You take delight in the negative. My most read posts are about a worst college and student debt.

16. You are STILL whining about the students you enrolled.

17. Will you accreditors ever take action against an institution for poor learning outcomes, or will it remain for fiscal reasons only?

18. You embarrass us all when a college of one dean and a dozen faculty can’t get in a room and talk things out. I’m not sure if this is a statement of Christianity’s inability to affect education, or education’s ability to affect Christianity. I am sure the devil is in the details somewhere.

19. You pissed me off and made me write defenses of liberal arts and liberal education. Those things should not be left to me.

20. You’ve made me negotiate narrow hallways, inappropriately small examining rooms and waiting, poorly constructed ramps, unmaintained sidewalks, and hard to open doors while pushing a wheelchair. You fail to understand that the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act are MINIMUM standards and we should be thinking about the differently-abled.

21. You have been so focused on your area of specialization, you have far too often forgotten the patient.

22. You have done so many dumb things, that I could compare you to incompetent, wannabe mercenaries. And I didn’t feel bad about doing so.

23. Despite your lofty goals and ideas, you still see education as the filling of buckets.

24. You drank the Kool-Aid, came to the meetings, and still you don’t know you are a cultist. An elitist sure, though you deny it publicly, but a cultist nonetheless.

25. The new phonebooks were delivered and you found your name, or at least your fingerprints, and still you want to believe in the Holy Grail.

26. Despite all the criticisms of PIRS, like the Black Knight, with blood spurting from the stumps of both arms and both legs, you insist, “It’s just a flesh wound.”

27. You didn’t click on each link above and drive my page views higher.

Okay, those are my grievances against you, at least those I am willing to air publicly.

Let’s see what you make me say in 2015.

One thought on “A Festivus miracle, and associated grievances to be aired

  1. Pingback: Where are the Dancing Horses? | random data from a tumored head

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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