Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Liberal Professor who should be applauded

In today's Orlando Sentinel, Valencia College humanities professor, John Scolaro published an Op-Ed piece that is worthy of high praise.  Enjoy....

Reject Student's Feelings of Entitlement

By John Scolaro
Education, on all levels, is in serious trouble today. Valencia College is not exempt from this stark reality.

In fact, a much higher percentage of incoming students now, than when my career at the college began 23 years ago, are mandated into remedial courses without the benefit of college credit.
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What's even worse is that the college also recently proposed that faculty members demonstrate that final grades awarded to students reflect the new grading criteria as defined by the college. Faculty could be severely penalized if too many D's and F's are awarded to students.

What I have described is driven by what I call the mentality of entitlement. Students today want something for nothing. This mentality is reflected in Professor Roberta Borkat's timeless Newsweek article, "A Liberating Curriculum," in 1993. In this article, she referenced her plan to increase student happiness.

She wrote that at the end of the second week of the semester, she would announce that all students enrolled in each course would receive a final grade of A. Here are the obvious benefits of her plan: high grade-point averages would be assured; students would be required to read and write next to nothing; students' complaints about their bad grades would radically decline; their professors would have a lot more free time to devote to their own diverse interests instead of reading countless exams and papers; and college graduation rates would soar.

According to Borkat, she should have faced these facts about the true purpose of education a lot earlier instead of wasting her years of teaching on trivia.

Like Borkat, my own plan to increase student happiness will continue to maintain high standards. I will continue to fend off the statements students send my way, such as:

"I wrote something down. So, don't I get any credit?"
"Are there any extra-credit options so that I might be able to earn a higher grade?"
"Why are rewrites not permitted?"
"Why do you penalize us for our poor writing skills?"

The mentality of entitlement must be rejected on all counts. Students will succeed only when high standards are maintained.


  1. However, the online and offline MBA program is much the same when it comes to curriculum, standard and recognition.

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  2. Not only are professors at Valencia being reprimanded for not giving out good grades, they are being retaliated against and pushed out of their tenured jobs for these actions. It is the administration that has adopted the idea of making the students (customers) happy and then blame the professors when the student complains that they have to actually learn something.

  3. I am wondering when I will get the "knock on the door" for my grades. I have the same standards I had 21 years ago but today my students do not meet them. Some do but most don't make it.