The Dead Letter Of Education

David Solway, with a depressing tale of why he quit teaching:

…when I briefly tried to introduce my students to a portion of the paronomastic, multi-lingual Wake for the sheer fun of language at its most exuberant, I was rewarded with blank incomprehension. It is, admittedly, a formidable text, but I felt that with some tutorial guidance students might be intrigued by the multiplex resources of the language, its potential to “maximize modularity,” to use an aeronautical phrase. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did appreciate the following cartoon from a graphically talented student for its cheeky insouciance. Still, it was a sign that students are far more comfortable performing in a visual milieu than in a textual environment, as this student, like the majority of his congeners, experienced significant hardship organizing his thoughts and perceptions both in his verbal presentations and written projects.

I’m still a little rankled by the fact that, with all of the writing I’ve done on the topic, the only journalism award I’ve won from the kids is for animations of space-policy discussion.

Oh, and here’s an example of what a mess things are at my own alma mater in Ann Arbor. And they wonder why I don’t donate to the alumni fund.

5 thoughts on “The Dead Letter Of Education”

  1. Sad. I was really rankled by the description of racism at the school.

    When I attended the UofM I saw only two instances of racism. The first was in the Bursley (sorry I can no longer remember the correct spelling) Hall cafeteria. There was a set of tables that had black enforcers. They made sure that if you were other than black you did not sit there; conversely if you were black they made sure you sat no where else.

    While there my roommate and I did volunteer work at the hospital in Ypsilanti. One winter night, when the weather was beyond atrocious, we offered a lady a ride back to Ann Arbor. She thanked us but declined because she said that if anyone saw a black lady get into a car with two white guys her life would not be worth living.

    The only explanation I can come up with for the current situation, other than PC run amok, is that the student body is now composed of a much lower class of people.

    Glad I went when I did and am really glad I am no longer there. Like you I will not donate to the alumni fund.

  2. I imagine there must be a significant number of allumni who still donate…..

    I cannot imagine why. I don’t donate to ANY of mine, and will not baring a major, tectonic shift in their attitudes.

    I do send Hillsdale College an annual donation, equal to what I might send to the other schools….Hillsdale, and a very few other schools is still legitimately involved in education.

  3. Making innocent high school kids read later (rather than earlier) Joyce?

    That’s cruel and unusual punishment, and it’s no indictment of “education” that they didn’t like Finnegan’s Wake.

    I couldn’t stand it, and I’m a voracious reader who happily took high-level English classes for fun while pursuing an unrelated degree.

  4. Ohio State keeps emailing me and asking if I’d like to register for classes. I finally told them that they’re far too expensive and I’d probably be kicked out for being politically incorrect.

    I doubt I will get a response.

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