Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A System in Crisis.

I have talked about the application of competitive capitalistic models to altruistic systems. Education is a stark reminder of how this fails to meet the goals of system. When Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, decided to reduce the subsidy on education and force the system to compensate by charging tuition, he fundamentally changed the purpose of the system. He grabbed the reigns of a system that had been working towards building communities and developing society, and perverted it into something that parallels private sector service industry.

Today, the system bares many of the hallmarks of a private sector corporation. Social stratification within the organization, with high paid directors and administration, a strong buffer of bureaucratic tangle protecting it, and disenfranchised labor who actually provide the service. The disenfranchised labor class (faculty), strives to provide the best service to the customer base, but the bureaucracy is indifferent at best, and often this places them at odds.

The modern CSU system is a textbook failure of the application of private sector models to public institution. From ballooning executive compensation, to a lack of interoffice communication, and a complete lack of compassion for human interests systemically. Instead of producing citizens who are focused on improving communities, the focus of the system seems to be extracting resources from a stream of raw material as we pass through a cookie cutter ready to support further expansion of the stratified society at large.

The role of education traditionally is exploration and innovation. It is meant to influence artists and scientists so that they can make informed progress, instead of having to reinvent the wheel each generation. Science in particular operates on a system that extends far beyond a single lifetime. If every person had to rediscover everything their predecessors developed, there would have been very little progress to separate humanity from animals.

That places the goal of education in a clear direction, to expand human knowledge, to inform and inspire, and to help the next generation discover the best place to invest their efforts. Once the purpose of a system is corrupted by profit motivation, the first causality is society. Any society that doesn't view education as purely altruistic, or worse as entitlement, is doomed to stagnation.

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