I had a few personal and professional goals for “Lower Ed”. I surpassed almost all of them this week. This post is an update and a thank you for everyone who made that possible.
First, some updates.
I visited Trevor Noah at The Daily Show.
It was International Women’s Day. Trevor gave me a chance to share a research narrative that is dear to my heart: how for-profit colleges produce gendered credentials for gendered occupations.
Also? I’m not saying that we look good together but I’m not not saying we look good together.
Writing this book was a challenge. There weren’t many models of what I wanted to do. And, the subject area was simultaneously well-worn but, in my opinion, under-examined. That means everyone thought they knew everything about the subject but I thought we didn’t know nearly enough about the crucial aspects of the subject.
I wrote this damn book thrice. I just kept writing it. I wrote it while writing my dissertation. I wrote it while editing other books. I wrote it while becoming a new professor. I wrote and wrote and wrote it. I was trying to get balance what we know with what I think we should know. I don’t know if I got it exactly right but I did get an incredible review in the New York Times Book Review. Written by the estimable Dana Goldstein, the review suggests that my big points come through.
— Costa Samaras (@CostaSamaras) March 12, 2017
- For-profit colleges are a CATEGORY of credentialing. I call that category lower ed.
- For-profit colleges commodify social inequalities in education, work, income and wealth.
- For-profit colleges reproduce race, class, and gender inequalities.
- Higher education shares responsibility for some of for-profit colleges’ social function, which is why I call it Lower Ed. It is a way to draw clear ideological connections between high-status higher education and low-status higher education.
- For-profit colleges are a social problem because they represent the risk shift of labor market uncertainty from governments and employers to workers and families.
- Even with lower unemployment, without rising wages and declining underemployment risky credentialing schemes will remain financially viable.
I’m on my way to buy lots of copies of this around town, FYI. If you see me, say hey. I’ll be the brown, round lady saying loudly, “oh this? THIS IS JUST A COPY OF THE NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW OF MY BOOK.”
Now a few comments on things that have been happening around this book but that aren’t exactly about this book:
- Betsy DeVos is more of a problem for higher education that some pundits and higher education leaders have been willing to say.
- The real problem may well be with the fact that Jerry Falwell, Jr. is THE most knowledgeable education person with President Trump’s ear.
- The risk shift of credentialing does extend to K-12, mostly through inculcating middle class parents with the responsibility for their children’s eventual college choices.
- Shareholder for-profit colleges anticipate a more favorable regulatory climate, thus their rebounding stocks. But, they also anticipate more favorable social policies from this administration that will continue to make workers feel vulnerable in the new economy. Gutting the American Care Act for health savings accounts is just one example. Those kinds of risk shift degrade job quality and make workers willing to pursue all kinds of credentialing to increase their odds of securing higher quality work.
I am at several book stores in the coming weeks. Come on out and set a while if you’re nearby. Also, catch me discussing Lower Ed on lots of radio programs and podcasts if that’s your kind of thing. If you don’t any of that, please just do me a solid and support a local union, affordable childcare and/or increasing the minimum wage in the locality nearest to you?
Thanks for all the support.