At Denny’s, diners are asked to fill out comment cards. How was your meal? Were you satisfied with the quality of service? Were the restrooms clean?
In universities around the world, semesters end with students filling out similar surveys about their experience in the class and the quality of the teacher.
Student ratings are high-stakes. They come up when faculty are being considered for tenure or promotions. In fact, they’re often the only method a university uses to monitor the quality of teaching.
Recently, a number of faculty members have been publishing research showing that the comment-card approach may not be the best way to measure the central function of higher education.
The same is true of primary and secondary school educators. Why? Because students are willing to make a poor grade to sabotage a teacher who gives them an F or a D or in some cases even a C or a B.
Education has never been, till recently, a popularity contest. But of course it has become precisely that simply because everything about education is now viewed only in utilitarian/ monetary terms. The motto of school administrators today is ‘show me the money’ because the motto of students is ‘show me the money’.
But when money is the god you worship it is only natural that everything else falls to the side. That is, by the way, why the love of money is the root of every sort of evil.
Go ahead, administrators, keep your eye on the purse instead of on your school’s true purpose. You’ll reap what you’ve sown. And you already are.