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The High Price of Consumerism

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  1. Introduction
  2. Succumbing to the market's demands
  3. The true effects of the changes
  4. Student consumerism
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

?Education is not a preparation for the future, it is the future itself,? Read my bold shopping bag from the University Store. It was the first week of school, and nearly every fresh student was proudly sporting one of these bags, oblivious to the notion that their education is subjected to the same economic forces as the store they had just visited. The modernist perspective, which the majority of universities have been founded upon, maintains that language, reason, and the scientific method are the foremost mechanism for arriving at the truth (Delluchi 2002). As tuition increases however, students regard education less as an opportunity for personal growth via the acquisition of reason, and more often as a financial investment, which they expect to be returned with interest. As Barry Schwartz argues in ?The Debasing of Education,? thinking about education economically encourages students to view it instrumentally, thus shifting the student-teacher relationship to that of a customer.

key words- student cusomers, laissez faire

[...] Universities have therefore, under the pressures of economics, buckled and caved into ?northern outposts of club med.? It is rather apparent that the current laissez-faire approach to the invasion of consumerism is detrimental to education. Students now live for simple pleasures, hug the status quo, and are never surprised. On the bright side, there's still a library, a museum, and the occasional teacher with the desire to find things greater than themselves to admire. For now it seems, it remains the responsibility of individuals to make their way against the muddy current [...]

[...] An appropriately named ?shopping? period where students can float in and out of class epitomizes the tendency to serve, rather than challenge students. As a result of universities increasing leeway, students have more power over their teachers. Instead of teachers grading their students, students grade their professors, much like products, via evaluations. One of the dirty secrets of universities is that ?instructors receive higher evaluations when students are required to do less work? (Korgen 2002) Concerned about evaluation feedback, and not wanting to create dissatisfied student-consumers, some teachers (especially those not protected by tenure) shift away from critical pedagogy and free experimentation towards classroom teaching that is low risk, more conservative, and more entertaining. [...]

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