James Carlin on higher education

On professors' benefits: They have every fringe benefit ever invented - excellent pension programs, medical benefits, reduced cost parking.... And every seven years they're entitled to a sabbatical. Then they have the most wonderful benefit of all benefits - they have a job guaranteed for life that's called tenure.

On professors' workweeks: I'm not saying all professors are a problem or suggesting that universities abandon research. But I'm suggesting that instead of working 6 to 8 hours a week in the classroom, maybe [professors] should work 10 hours or 12 hours a week teaching.

On remedial instruction in college: It's colleges' and universities' fault because if they declined admission to underprepared students, the parents of these high school kids would go ballistic. They would storm school-committee meetings and the high schools and say: 'My kid couldn't get into ABC school because he's not prepared for four-year work.' You'd see some changes in public high schools and primary schools pretty fast.

On rising tuitions and student loans: Parents work two and three jobs to pay tuition. Parents remortgage their houses to pay tuitions. They invade their 401(k)s to pay tuition. They save for years to accumulate money for tuition - forgoing vacations, furniture.... They forgo a lot. And if it isn't all enough - the admissions officer is sitting there with a stack of loan forms. If the kid can't come up with enough, they slap a loan form in front of him and the kid signs it.... And they spend 15 to 20 years of their lives trying to figure out how to get the loans paid off. They defer getting married, defer having children, defer buying houses, and make career decisions.... It's not a hot-button issue yet. People won't take to the streets over this ... but someday they might.

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