The rising cost of education has been a cause of concern for many policy-makers in the United States because many school graduates find it extremely difficult to pay their tuition fees in college. One of the possible strategies is to invest more money into the education system.
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This argument is challenged by David Levy in his article Do college professors work hard enough? This author argues that educational institutions should reevaluate their employment policies, especially regarding the compensation paid to the faculty. This paper will examine the main points that this author makes and identify the strengths and weaknesses of these claims.
In his article, David Levy discusses the compensation policies of colleges and universities in the United States. He points out that in the past the wages of professors were lower than the compensation of comparably educated workers. However, this trend changed in the seventies when people began to attach more importance to education as a way of climbing social ladder and achieving prosperity.
As a result of this tendency, the cost of tuition began to rise as well as the salaries of professors. In David Levy’s view, the current level of compensation is not justified since it does not reflect the performance of educators. In order to elaborate this claim, he first compares the working hours of college professors against the schedule of other well-paid professionals who are employed in non-academic areas.
In particular, he says that these middle-class employees normally spend at least 2,000 at work per every year. In contrast, educators usually work at most 450 hours per year. The author acknowledges that there are professors who work in research universities. In his opinion, these people greatly contribute to intellectual and technological progress of the United States.
Moreover, he admits that they can work even more than many non-academic employees. Instead, he pays more attention to people who are engaged only in teaching. One of his arguments is that these educators do not actually work 40 hours a week, even if one assumes that they spend time on teaching, preparation for classes, and grading of students’ work.
This is one of the main points that he makes. Overall, David Levy argues that the compensation of college professors should be determined according to their workload. In this way, academic administrators will be able to reduce the cost of education and eventually decrease the cost of tuition. Therefore, more school graduates will be able to get access to education.
As it has been said before, David Levy does not support the idea that the government should invest more public money in educational institutions. In his opinion, such an approach does not improve the inefficiencies of academic organizations, and these policies will not make education more accessible to school graduates. This is why the author advocates the necessity of workload reform that should be at least considered by academic institutions.
The arguments expressed by David Levy should be examined in more detail. In his article, he focuses on quantitative aspects of college professors’ work, especially the hours that they dedicate to teaching, grading, and preparation for classes.
Yet, the writer does not mention that these people also have to be engaged in life-long learning. For instance, they have to spend much time on reading new books, articles or reports that are related to their discipline. In some cases, they have to do it during vacations or sabbaticals. Without these activities, professors will not be able to offer new ideas to students.
The same class taught by a good college professor may differ significantly from one year to another. This aspect of college professors’ performance is not discussed by David Levy in his article. Secondly, one should note that in many universities, students are able to assess their courses. Therefore, these professionals have to compete with one another, especially if they do not have tenure. Moreover, educational institutions have to offer them competitive salaries.
Additionally, the strategies suggested by David Levy are based on the premise that colleges and universities will be willing to adopt new employment and compensation policies. However, these organizations differ in terms of their size, the number of students and endowment.
Some of them may afford to pay higher salaries to professors. If some educational institutions choose to reduce the compensation of professors, many of these teachers may decide to work in universities where they can earn a higher salary. Therefore, many colleges and universities will not be able to recruit the best professors as well as students who attach importance to the quality of education and the competence of their teachers.
These are the main limitations of David Levy’s argument. His views may be considered, but one should look more closely at the implementation of the plan. Nevertheless, one can definitely accept the premise that colleges should find ways of reducing their costs; otherwise education will become more and more inaccessible to students.
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Overall, the performance of college professors may be very difficult to evaluate according to the standards, applied to non-academic professionals. Their work should not be reduced only to quantitative aspects. However, colleges should find ways of reducing their costs, because this problem cannot be resolved only with the help of public money.