Believing in Free Markets and Exploitation of Labor: A Conundrum

 

I am an adjunct history professor. I love my job. I love teaching. I love students. I love engaging with the material I try to help students understand. I have never minded the paltry sums I am paid because I also believe strongly in free markets and understand the invisible hand passes out checks to labor.

However, I’m starting to reconsider this position.

Yesterday I did a very unhealthy thing. I looked up the salaries of full-time faculty who teach many of the exact same classes that I teach at one of the colleges where I work and who have essentially the same course load that I do. I bothered to find out what some of the administrators make as well, and I noticed the delightful administrative assistant who works for the head of my department makes twice as much money as I do.

Now, I did not start teaching until after I had raised my family. The truth is that I do not have to make a lot of money because I am married, and my husband has carried that load for decades. The reality is that I could–and probably would–teach for free because I am that passionate about education. But I am in a unique position, and I am realizing more and more that all is not right in the ivory tower.

This bastion of progressive babble that houses professors who write screeds about the evils of corporations exploiting employees effectively exploits a large number of workers every semester by requiring them to have advanced degrees while paying them wages equivalent to those made by fast food workers.

For those of you who are not aware, adjunct faculty is contingent faculty. They are “part time” workers who exist on a semester-to-semester contract with absolutely no benefits or job security. They are sometimes uncertain about how many classes they will be able to teach in a term, which is directly tied to their compensation, until a week before that term starts. They also currently make up the majority of the teachers in higher education.

What does this mean?

For one, my free market self acknowledges that there are too many people in the United States with masters degrees and doctorates who saw Dead Poets Society in the eighties and thus want to mold young minds. I accept this, and I understand that I chose to toil away in graduate school so I could teach in college. No one forced me to read monographs or start using words like historiography and intersectionality in day-to-day conversations. If you asked my husband, he’d pay money to remove those words from my vocabulary.

I also understand that I choose to teach for less money now than I made when I was a wee lass in my twenties and working in the private sector because I am willing to accept the terms of my semester-to-semester contracts. But I also wonder about other things the invisible hand is doing in this particular marketplace in which I work.

One reason labor costs are kept low, it seems to me, is that the price of a product is kept low. But students have paid higher and higher tuition rates which have outpaced inflation for decades while adjunct pay has remained largely stagnant.

So what are students buying for this higher price-tag? A better education? How can this be true when they are taught more and more by adjuncts and/or graduate teaching assistants who are eating ramen and struggling to survive rather than giving students detailed feedback on their work? What exactly are students getting for their increased debt if it’s not more attentive instruction in the classroom?

I understand that state governments have subsidized many universities less and less. That could explain the rising costs, right?

Understanding this, I was okay with taking a hit in pay. I accepted that I would not earn much at the end of the day despite the fact that the “product” with which I am engaged keeps costing consumers more and more because of cut-backs. Sure I put in long hours for which I am not compensated, but I once felt that I was in the same boat as all of my colleagues working in the humanities.

After all, I have gone to faculty meetings and looked around at the people in Costco jeans who often seem to have shown up purely for the free sub sandwiches and professional development credit. (A certain bit of the second is required to get our contracts renewed each new term.)

Again, the majority of everyone teaching where I work is adjunct faculty, so it’s not hard to find folks who look a bit haggard. These are people who may not be married like I am, which means they are flying down the highway to jobs on multiple campuses so that colleges can say they are “part time” and still avoid paying for their healthcare or contributing to retirement. Perhaps they are waiting tables at night.

But this is the thing. This feeling I had was not true. Professors are not all in the same boat, and there are vast disparities in pay that are not based on workload, education level, experience, or quality of output.

I was shocked, in fact, when I found out that many of my colleagues who make up the minority of teachers on my main campus have benefits, retirement plans, and make as much as six times more than the rest of us who are doing very similar work. They often teach the exact same classes that adjuncts do, though they have offices and stay on one campus, whereas I keep files in the back of my jeep and travel between three. (This group of full-timers, by the way, does not seem to grow but shrinks when someone dies as they are then replaced by adjuncts.)

If one then turns away from the salaries of various faculty and starts looking at those people called “staff” or “administration,” the resentment really starts to build.

While I have never once thought that the argument about wage gaps between unskilled factory workers and CEOs has been very compelling because I am fully aware of the differences between these jobs, I don’t mind saying that when I look at the average pay of adjuncts and compare this to the average pay of college presidents, I find myself getting a little queasy. The disparities in higher education strike me as much starker than those found between unskilled labor and management as well because of the credentials that are required for any adjunct to have despite the fact that he/she will earn less than the custodians who work at the same institutions. These disparities are also weirdly uniform across academia.

Do people really believe competent educators are so easily found? Can this system really be sustained?

While I believe I am a good teacher, and I often work sixty hour+ weeks grading papers and changing my courses to make them better for a good deal less than thirty thousand dollars a year in a city where the average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $1245, I do not have to worry about putting groceries in my refrigerator.

How many adjuncts look like me? If I’m to go by the anecdotal experience, the answer is not as many as you think.

So I believe it is only reasonable to think there must be a degradation in the product of education if the people delivering that product are so ill paid that they cannot spend the time that I do on delivering that product, which is getting more and more expensive for the buyers of that product.

I suppose that the invisible hand will eventually make graduate schools pump out fewer teachers, or teachers will refuse to be adjuncts, or students will stop going to college or… what?

I do not want to be a hypocrite. In theory, I do not even believe in minimum wages. But I find myself asking questions about what exploitation even is in the free market. How do we define this term? Does it ever exist in a free market system? If it does, how are adjuncts not exploited? How can exploitation be rectified? How is this current system impacting education outcomes?

Should I just shut up and accept the iron law of wages is what Adam Smith would have envisioned for adjunct professors? Should consumers be fine with paying the people who are actually interacting with them on campuses a fraction of what is paid to the administrators they never see who are busy doing… something?

Where does it all end up?

It’s a conundrum for me that I can’t solve in my own mind.

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  1. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Lois Lane: Do people really believe competent educators are so easily found?

    Evidently they can. If there were a shortage of teachers, the colleges would have to bid for them and the wages would be more.  The question isn’t “Why do colleges pay adjunct professors so little?”  The question is “Why do colleges pay so much for administrators?”  Surely they could find people to do that work for less than they are paying now.

    • #1
  2. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Lois Lane: Now, I did not start teaching until after I had raised my family. The truth is that I do not have to make a lot of money because I am married, and my husband has carried that load for decades. The reality is that I could–and probably would–teach for free because I am that passionate about education. But I am in a unique position…

    A complementarian might point out that perhaps your position should be less unique:

    Perhaps the thing for well-educated women to do is take jobs as adjuncts, secondary to their family and household responsibilities, accepting the lower pay as compensation for not having built the same resume as similarly-educated men of the same age. One could say such an arrangement would allow intelligent women to sate some of their intellectual curiosity while still making it feasible for them to practice hypergamy and putting their family first, which should make them likely to get too “uppity”, if you know what I mean…

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Here is the thing: The market for educators is not a free market. It is a cartel, sanctioned by the government.

    This behavior in the private sector would be punished, either by the marketplace or the government. But this abusive behavior is to advantage of the government, which saves thereby and is insulated from complaints about abuse because it is done at one remove by the educational organization. And as with any educational institution, no matter how badly it delivers service, excesses and failings are excused on the grounds that “it’s for the nation’s youth.”

    Seawriter

    • #3
  4. Arthur Beare Member
    Arthur Beare
    @ArthurBeare

    My wife is in your situaton, more or less.  She works for a community college, doing adult basic education, now confined to math courses.  She is paid by the contact hour, and gets nothing for the time he puts in finding or creating materials for 2&1/2 hour classes.  This out of class time greatly exceeds her in-class time.  In addition, her classes are offered at odd times: this semester she had one that started at 8AM and one thaa met Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30 to 9 PM.  In addition, she is required to make up any time missed due to snow days, which the regular faculty is apparently not.

    Yes, she is exploited.  But we live in one of the most educated communities in the country, so there are scads of people able and willing to replace her (though many of these find out that teaching is not so easy as they thought).

    And the cold hard fact is that this college (and I think many others) could not do nearly as much as it does if they paid the adjuncts better.

    (Apparently fewer or more skimpily paid administrators is not an option.  As an institution depending on federal and state grants with lots of strings attached for many of its programs , there is a huge amount of paperwork that absolutely must be done.)

    • #4
  5. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    A complementarian might point out that perhaps your position should be less unique:

    Perhaps the thing for well-educated women to do is take jobs as adjuncts, secondary to their family and household responsibilities, accepting the lower pay as compensation for not having built the same resume as similarly-educated men of the same age.

     

    Perhaps, but one’s position as an adjunct is not gender driven.  Many adjuncts have built the exact same resumes as their full-time counterparts.  This situation has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was doing something else from those similarly-educated men of the same age but rather the situation that 70% of all faculty members working in higher education are now contingent faculty.

    Consider this from a piece by a young Ph.d. who was not raising a family but is finally waking up to the reality that going to graduate school had been a mistake:

    “No, you will not get a job—not because, like Kafka’s mouse, you went in the ‘wrong’ direction, but because today’s academic job market is a ‘market’ in the sense that one stall selling fiddlehead ferns in the middle of a strip mall is a ‘farmer’s market.’ In the place of actual jobs are adjunct positions: benefit-free, office-free academic servitude in which you will earn $18,000 a year for the rest of your life.”

    I am not most adjuncts.

     

    • #5
  6. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):
    Yes, she is exploited.

    She sounds exploited.  And I am sure she is actually good at her job.  I guess I posted this in part because I wonder about what this means in the long run.  I have always defended free labor markets, but as you point out, the strings that are attached to paperwork distorts that “free” market.

    While there are plenty of people that would replace your wife, for how long?  Isn’t there churn at her school?

    In our society, doesn’t this impact longterm education outcomes?

    And do we as a people care about exploitation in any labor situation or are we always going to refute to, “Well, supply and demand….”

     

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I think your basic question on exploitation is a fine question to ask, especially among conservatives.

    Seems we are under the impression that exploitation is only possible if the government makes us do it… like slavery.

    Or that market pressures will correct it…

    And I suppose it could, eventually. In your case, only after every industry that demands college credentials collapses as those credentials fail to produce knowledgeable employees. Only then will colleges reform. My husband says making college loans subject to bankruptcy is perhaps the best way to curtail the excesses of academia.

    • #7
  8. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    This behavior in the private sector would be punished, either by the marketplace or the government.

    Thanks, Seawriter.  I’m beginning to feel crazy.  The problem does not seem straightforward to me, and it looks like blatant exploitation, if such a word exists in a “free market” vocabulary.

    • #8
  9. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: Do people really believe competent educators are so easily found?

    Evidently they can. If there were a shortage of teachers, the colleges would have to bid for them and the wages would be more. The question isn’t “Why do colleges pay adjunct professors so little?” The question is “Why do colleges pay so much for administrators?” Surely they could find people to do that work for less than they are paying now.

    Let me ask if the Administrators really do care whether their educators are competent?

    It seems that they are only concerned with having educators who have the proper credentials.

    Likewise, they seem not to care whether the students get educated, they only concern themselves that some “reasonable” percentage of the students obtain the credentials that they sought.

    The whole picture seems tilted such that the true mission and motives of Administrators lie elsewhere than on what is going on in classrooms.   As to the increase in cost, there is a proliferation of bureaucrats at the university who busy themselves with the paperwork involved in Big Education, and a proliferation of placement bureaucrats who help the students who have achieved their desired credentials apply for the very small pool of jobs in their chosen fields.  Also a proliferation of grievance-mongering bureaucrats who track race, sex, gender, national origin, economic class and other parameters of both faculty and staff for Big Education.   Very little of the new bureaucrats support teaching activities.

    • #9
  10. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: Do people really believe competent educators are so easily found?

    Evidently they can. If there were a shortage of teachers, the colleges would have to bid for them and the wages would be more. The question isn’t “Why do colleges pay adjunct professors so little?” The question is “Why do colleges pay so much for administrators?” Surely they could find people to do that work for less than they are paying now.

    So this is the response that I expect from people who believe fully that the invisible hand simply functions.  But I am starting to feel that it’s a bit more complicated.

    Also, I don’t dispute that there is an oversupply of teachers.  I do not agree that good teachers are easily found, and I also believe we have started to see a degradation in the quality of American universities that the entire society should worry about.

    • #10
  11. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Very little of the new bureaucrats support teaching activities.

    Amen.  So how do we FIX that?  I mean, I understand I’m working from within the system, but don’t parents have a problem with any of this?  How does it get fixed?  Kids have to go to college to get their sheet of paper to get a job, and this issue is systemic.  How does the “market” change how this all shakes out?

    • #11
  12. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Stina (View Comment):
    I think your basic question on exploitation is a fine question to ask, especially among conservatives.

    I do think it’s one that deserves answering.

    I had a very aggrieved Marxist in class last term who said I understood very little about economics.  This child with the shaved head who is younger than my own son and at a community college seemed to feel she knew more than I do about how the world works.

    I disagreed very much with what I feel is a sophomoric worldview that did not take into account a host of variables when looking at the US economy.

    Yet I think it’s fair to recognize that there are problems within this system, and my own experiences are making me consider them more.

    Exploitation either is or isn’t, and I don’t think conservatives do a good job of tackling that which certainly looks and feels like exploitation.  They seem to think it just doesn’t exist.  Ever.

    • #12
  13. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    The problem does not seem straightforward to me, and it looks like blatant exploitation, if such a word exists in a “free market” vocabulary.

    Blatant exploitation only exists in cartel economies. Cartels can only operate when protected by governments. Adam Smith (and Thomas Sowell) had a lot of sour words about cartels and combines.

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Let me ask if the Administrators really do care whether their educators are competent?

    No. They are only concerned with doing the minimum amount of work to keep their jobs, especially in a not-for-profit environment like a university.

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Very little of the new bureaucrats support teaching activities.

    Amen. So how do we FIX that?

    Since most universities are state-funded, there actually is a simple fix for administrative bloat. Pass legislation limiting the percentage of salaries paid to administrators to some fixed percentage of the total employee compensation budget. And  do a good job of defining administrator in the legislation to prevent shell games. What percentage? How about the percentage spent on administrative salaries back in 1975 – about 25%.

    Seawriter

    • #13
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    How does it get fixed? Kids have to go to college to get their sheet of paper to get a job, and this issue is systemic.

    That is one of the changes that must happen. We currently live with an emperor-has-no-clothes situation in which everyone simultaneously complains about the dismal state of education yet enforces the common standard of college degrees as a minimal requirement for employment.

    For generations, our culture has been ratcheting demands for education symbols without demanding real or professionally relevant knowledge underlie those symbolic papers. First, employers demanded an 8th-grade education, then a high school diploma, then a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and so on. Some professions need proof of technical abilities and degrees truly are a fair representation. But half the professionals I know were educated in a different field than they work in, yet they can only fill those positions because they have degrees.

    There are many problems, both private and political, that contribute to the injustices and absurdities you described. Some of the burden for correction lies with employers.

    But note that an employer who doesn’t want to require degrees might be forced to because the threat of lawsuits requires proof of competence. It’s complicated.

    • #14
  15. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Heinlein once described a school as a log with a teacher at one end, and a pupil at the other.  I’d pay good money to have someone teach me math.

    • #15
  16. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    I taught adjunct for a couple of years and was then hired full time at the CC in our community. (I taught accounting, business law).  I left after two years of full time and went bank into the private market.  No regrets….except maybe that healthcare plan!  Anywho, things I learned in my foray in education…1)  Admin is unconcerned about what goes on in the classroom.  2) admin is only concerned about re-enrollment and new enrollment from semester to semester.  3) Once an admin or support position is added, it never, ever goes away.  4) innovation, dedication, competency in the classroom are not financially rewarded, the only thing that counts is time served  (ah…that is the reason for the published salary schedules.)  I ran into a colleague professor at the local university and she lamented my absence  from the CC in the classes I taught.  She said the students coming in don’t know the sophomore level material  I used to teach and the students are struggling at the university level.  Also, the university is bringing in the international students like crazy to get their enrollment numbers up.  It’s a big con if you ask me.  I recently hired for a paralegal support position at my business, the associate degree students in paralegal studies couldn’t turn in an error-free cover letter. That “degree” was a waste of the student’s time and money!

    • #16
  17. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I’d love to teach high school history.  I have a huge fund of knowledge about WWII.  I’m not willing to go back to college and get the certifications, though.

    • #17
  18. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):

    It’s a big con if you ask me. I recently hired for a paralegal support position at my business, the associate degree students in paralegal studies couldn’t turn in an error-free cover letter. That “degree” was a waste of the student’s time and money!

    I couldn’t agree with you more, which brings me back to wondering about how it can be fixed.  If you don’t provide a good education, then how will students get one?

    There is an influx of foreign students where I work, too.  (I work at both a community college and a 4 year university.)  One of my kids explained to me that in his country it only matters that you went to an American school.  Some of the students that I get are not even emerging fluent yet, though they tend to drop my courses fairly quickly.

    It’s a many layered problem, and people seem wholly unaware of it.

    • #18
  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    A complementarian might point out that perhaps your position should be less unique:

    Perhaps the thing for well-educated women to do is take jobs as adjuncts, secondary to their family and household responsibilities, accepting the lower pay as compensation for not having built the same resume as similarly-educated men of the same age.

    Perhaps, but one’s position as an adjunct is not gender driven.

    Understood.

    My argument was that complementarians (and I know we have several on Ricochet) might well argue that perhaps the adjunct-vs-full distinction should be gender-driven – that both men and women might be happier that way, perhaps with it even being normal for husbands to be the full professors while their wives are the adjunct professors.

    • #19
  20. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I’d love to teach high school history. I have a huge fund of knowledge about WWII. I’m not willing to go back to college and get the certifications, though.

    The main reason that I don’t teach on the secondary level is that I can’t coach a sport.  History is undervalued in state schools, but football isn’t.  Nothing against coaches because I’ve known a few who were fine educators, but most of them are more concerned about their respective games than the subject matter.  This is another big issue in a republic… looking at history as so unimportant that any knowledge of it is actually secondary to having some expertise in athletics.

    I remember listening to the Three Martini Lunch a few weeks back and the hosts were bemoaning how few Americans knew how many judges sat on the Supreme Court.

    Well, I know why they don’t know.

    You would be really depressed if you conducted a poll and asked who was in charge of Japan during WWII.   I suppose you could call this “trivia,” but the number of people who have no recollection of Hirohito or Tojo would astonish you.

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I’d love to teach high school history. I have a huge fund of knowledge about WWII. I’m not willing to go back to college and get the certifications, though.

    The main reason that I don’t teach on the secondary level is that I can’t coach a sport. History is undervalued in state schools, but football isn’t. Nothing against coaches because I’ve known a few who were fine educators, but most of them are more concerned about their respective games than the subject matter. This is another big issue in a republic… looking at history as so unimportant that any knowledge of IT is actually secondary to having some expertise in athletics.

    I remember listening to the Three Martini Lunch a few weeks back and the hosts were bemoaning how few Americans knew how many judges sat on the Supreme Court.

    Well, I know why they don’t know.

    You would be really depressed if you conducted a poll and asked who was in charge of Japan during WWII. I suppose you could call this “trivia,” but the number of people who have no recollection of Hirohito or Tojo would astonish you.

    But history’s FUN!

    • #21
  22. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’s the guild rules.  If you play your cards right you become a member or the guild and earn the big bucks and teach less, get junkets and extras for speeches.   Guild membership is passed out by guild members who grudgingly hand out tenure to keep their own prices up and their ideas unchallenged.  Where is it heading?  Out. The best will be found on line  and they may or may not be tenured.  Everyone’s salaries will go down except those who, because they are the best on the web, will capture the almost infinite economies of scale.  Those best at developing discussions after the on line lectures  will also be in demand, perhaps on campus perhaps also on line or both. The guilds, as guilds do, are pricing themselves out of the market.

    • #22
  23. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    You have identified the soft underbelly of academia. I really don’t understand why adjuncts like you take these jobs.

    The tenured professor route is one designed for the overacheiver: you have to be tops in your class at undergraduate, tops as a graduate student, then be exceedingly productive for 2 years as a post-doc to get the tenure-track professor offer. Then you have 5-6 years of pre-tenure review where you need to be very productive and make a semi-splash in your field. But then when you get the brass ring of tenure you can kick-back with near complete job security. So the salaries professors are paid is not based on work load, it is based on past stress (and the stress of being on pointless, endless, committees)

    Tenure is the issue.

    As for university Administrators – this is greatest redoubt for cronyism and the Peter principle except for politics.

    • #23
  24. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    The main reason that I don’t teach on the secondary level is that I can’t coach a sport. History is undervalued in state schools, but football isn’t.

    It is not sports, it is that while you are qualified to teach college students you don’t have the credential to teach high school students. Plus, it will be very hard for you to get hired as high school hiring committees are intimidated by intelligent people as evidenced by your Ph.D. Plus, union rules would say because of your Ph.D. you must be paid more which is not in the principal’s budget.

    • #24
  25. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    I really don’t understand why adjuncts like you take these jobs.

    Well, in MY case, I don’t need the money, and I love teaching.  I suppose I am a prototype for @midge‘s vision of gender driven employment, though I can see lots of pitfalls with that vision.

    That said, I don’t know why so many of my fellow adjuncts do this.  I think because they have been churned out of graduate schools with doctorates and want to teach.  No one bothered to tell them that the 98% don’t get jobs or that you truly and really do have to go to Harvard/Columbia/Berkeley/Yale to be considered for tenure in even state universities now.

    I don’t think the desire for me–or them–is tenure, but I am concerned about fair wages and how the lack thereof will impact higher education in the long run.  Perhaps on-line education is the answer, but I’ve taken on-line courses, and… meh.

    Regardless, I don’t think “the market” is working in this case, and I really do feel that the adjunct system is exploitive.

    • #25
  26. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    It is not sports, it is that while you are qualified to teach college students you don’t have the credential to teach high school students. Plus, it will be very hard for you to get hired as high school hiring committees are intimidated by intelligent people as evidenced by your Ph.D. Plus, union rules would say because of your Ph.D. you must be paid more which is not in the principal’s budget.

    I have two masters degrees and am certified to teach in multiple states in two disciplines.  I have, actually, taught high school English in the past.  In the state where I currently reside, there are 17 football coaches at one high school that is within walking distance of my home.  You wanna guess what department they ALL work in?

    • #26
  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    I really don’t understand why adjuncts like you take these jobs.

    Well, in MY case, I don’t need the money, and I love teaching. I suppose I am a prototype for @midge‘s vision of gender driven employment, though I can see lots of pitfalls with that vision.

    Not so much my vision as a vision I’ve witnessed others having. There are some things to be said for it, though also things to be said against it.

    • #27
  28. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    There are some things to be said for it, but also things to be said against it.

    As in all things, I suppose.  I’ve heard the thesis that the fact that competent women could leave pink collar jobs is one of the reasons that education isn’t as good as it used to be.  Once they no longer had to accept lower pay in only a few “gendered” roles in the economy, they moved onto other positions and left behind mediocrity.

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  29. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    It is not sports, it is that while you are qualified to teach college students you don’t have the credential to teach high school students. Plus, it will be very hard for you to get hired as high school hiring committees are intimidated by intelligent people as evidenced by your Ph.D. Plus, union rules would say because of your Ph.D. you must be paid more which is not in the principal’s budget.

    I have two masters degrees and am certified to teach in multiple states in two disciplines. I have, actually, taught high school English in the past. In the state where I currently reside, there are 17 football coaches at one high school that is within walking distance of my home. You wanna guess what department they ALL work in?

    Yeah, I have noticed the correlation between coaching football and teaching history.

    • #29
  30. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):
    I really don’t understand why adjuncts like you take these jobs.

    Well, in MY case, I don’t need the money, and I love teaching. I suppose I am a prototype for @midge‘s vision of gender driven employment, though I can see lots of pitfalls with that vision.

    That said, I don’t know why so many of my fellow adjuncts do this. I think because they have been churned out of graduate schools with doctorates and want to teach. No one bothered to tell them that the 98% don’t get jobs or that you truly and really do have to go to Harvard/Columbia/Berkeley/Yale to be considered for tenure in even state universities now.

    I don’t think the desire for me–or them–is tenure, but I am concerned about fair wages and how the lack thereof will impact higher education in the long run. Perhaps on-line education is the answer, but I’ve taken on-line courses, and… meh.

    Regardless, I don’t think “the market” is working in this case, and I really do feel that the adjunct system is exploitive.

    The market for adjuncts is working fine, there is just too much supply so wages are low.

    It is the market for tenure track professors that isn’t working right, it is a guild and people able to gain entrance into the guild are able to extort high wages.

    • #30
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