[Milton-L] What have we become?

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Apr 16 21:48:32 EDT 2007


I don't want to comment on whether or not the good old days were that
good because I don't know, but I do think Carol Barton's description
of a consumerist attitude in our students today is an accurate one.  I
try to work against it by including the following paragraph in my
syllabus:

<<What is a College Class?: I am not a service industry employee and
you are not customers.  An education is not something I have and then
give to you.  This class is an opportunity for you to educate
yourselves under my guidance.  By attending class and completing all
readings and assignments you take that opportunity.  If you do not
attend or do the work you relinquish that opportunity.  The choice is
yours.>>

It's also not clear to me that the recent shootings have anything to
do with changed attitudes.  Nuts with weapons have always been able to
kill lots of people.  In the past this has usually been restricted to
nuts in positions of power or people empowered by them.  In our more
Democratic age, relatively powerless nuts can kill lots of people.  If
they don't have guns, they can use bombs (Oklahoma City bombings,
Unabomber) or chemical or biological agents (remember the anthrax
mailings not too long ago? To my knowledge this case was never
solved).   I don't think it's really that hard to poison a city's
water supply if you're motivated a do a little research.  Nutzo
college students can pull off any of this.

I'm more interested in student attitudes toward their own education
and think it's a more appropriate topic for this list, though.  I
certainly understand the need to vent, though.

Jim R


More information about the Milton-L mailing list