Gradus ad infernum

I’m not up to date on the New School strike and its sequelae. As usual with labor struggles, the respectable media are a lot worse than useless. Last I heard from somebody who was actually a participant – yesterday evening, Sunday 11 December – the adjunct union’s management had accepted an offer from the school’s management, and sent the membership back to work – before ratification, I might add, which seems rather weak.

I suppose the idea is to avoid a railroad-type imbroglio.

My participant/informant told me that the interesting thing was that the students had joined the adjuncts eagerly, militantly. God bless ‘em; the day I stop saying the kids are alright, just shoot me.

But naturally, the students had a beef of their own, and it was all about grading, as far as I could tell. I’d like to know more about this, but we didn’t get a chance to discuss it in depth. So I don’t really know what they’re demanding.

Interestingly, the school’s management was also panicked about grading, and it seems that’s what brought them to the table. The grade, after all, is the school’s product, its commodity par excellence, and it seems that some of the parents were threatening to sue if the grade wasn’t in on time. This is a college in Manhattan, you understand, and I bet a lot of these parents are paying a lot for that grade.

I personally had an Edenic college experience. There weren’t any grades. You passed a course, according to the whim of the teacher, naturally, or you didn’t. If you didn’t, it didn’t appear on your transcript. No penalty for failure; and a point on the board if you scored. You could always go back again – perhaps with a better teacher.

Some years later, I did a stint as an adjunct in an ‘umble community college in New Jersey. I liked my students fine, and as far as I could tell they liked me, but the apple of discord between us was the grade. They always wanted to haggle about the grade.

As for myself, I would have happily given them all “A”s, even the assholes – and there were a few, admittedly. But you can’t do that. So the setup was that I had something to withhold that the kids needed. For some of them, the difference between a B and a C meant keeping or losing a scholarship. (In these cases, I’m proud to say that I conferred A’s indiscriminately.)

But it’s one of the reasons I gave up teaching. (Also, of course, you can’t support yourself on it; at the end of the day, I calculated that I made fifty cents an hour.)

Under the regimen of grading, a teacher is basically a poorhouse cop. What, the boy wants more?

2 thoughts on “Gradus ad infernum

  1. Trump is all Ivy. why doesn’t Wharton have a “Trump School of Casino and Hospitality Management”? You know it’d be well-endowed. (HEYYO!) The Ivies don’t typically advertise their Trumpster Dumpster fire products, but what else is there in their law & business schools? and what outside of those schools isn’t dominated by those two schools’ financial interests and dictates? Medicine is just another business.

    ah, but some are “A” students. “Trump was a ‘C-‘ student!!!!” i’ve had some overachiever types say, trying to explain why he’s an aberration and not the norm and desired outcome, a sociopath.

    anyway, which is more psychologically damaging: to win their spelling bee contests, or to lose them? How many of those kids on strike at NYU have been thru the foster care system? what does “the grading system” do to the millions of kids who, for one example, are in the gigantic CA school system and are homeless? how useful is “the grade” for funneling poorer populations into prison and the military?

    the wise man said, “go to the ant.” leave their classrooms. they are just stealing the labor of youth. what else is debt, but devouring the future of children?

    these kids are only at school right now cuz their parents and society don’t give a shit about them.

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