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Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education
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St. Martin's Publishing Group 2016
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The cost of a college degree has increased by 1,125% since 1978—four times the rate of inflation. Total student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion. Nearly two thirds of all college students must borrow to study, and the average student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt. Many college graduates under twenty-five years old are unemployed or underemployed. And professors—remember them?—rarely teach undergraduates at many major universities, instead handing off their lecture halls to cheaper teaching assistants.
So, is it worth it? That's the question Charles J. Sykes attempts to answer in Fail U., exploring the staggering costs of a college education, the sharp decline in tenured faculty and teaching loads, the explosion of administrative jobs, the grandiose building plans, and the utter lack of preparedness for the real world that many now graduates face. Fail U. offers a different vision of higher education; one that is affordable, more productive, and better-suited to meet the needs of a diverse range of students—and one that will actually be useful in their future careers and lives.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/09/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250091765
ASIN:
B01ARRWPJ4

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Charles J. Sykes. (2016). Fail U: The False Promise of Higher Education. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Charles J. Sykes. 2016. Fail U: The False Promise of Higher Education. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Charles J. Sykes, Fail U: The False Promise of Higher Education. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Charles J. Sykes. Fail U: The False Promise of Higher Education. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • bioText: Charles J. Sykes is the author of several books on current affairs and education, including Fail U., A Nation of Victims, and Profscam. He has written pieces for the Wall Street Journal and Time.com among others, and in 2016 was featured for his critiques of Donald Trump and conservative media in articles on the front page of The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and NPR. A longtime host of the #1 conservative talk-radio show in Wisconsin, he resigned that position and is now a regular contributor to MSNBC.
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fullDescription

The cost of a college degree has increased by 1,125% since 1978—four times the rate of inflation. Total student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion. Nearly two thirds of all college students must borrow to study, and the average student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt. Many college graduates under twenty-five years old are unemployed or underemployed. And professors—remember them?—rarely teach undergraduates at many major universities, instead handing off their lecture halls to cheaper teaching assistants.
So, is it worth it? That's the question Charles J. Sykes attempts to answer in Fail U., exploring the staggering costs of a college education, the sharp decline in tenured faculty and teaching loads, the explosion of administrative jobs, the grandiose building plans, and the utter lack of preparedness for the real world that many now graduates face. Fail U. offers a different vision of higher education; one that is affordable, more productive, and better-suited to meet the needs of a diverse range of students—and one that will actually be useful in their future careers and lives.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Jack Fowler, Publisher, National Review
      • content: "This is a book for our times and one of its most vexing problems."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 1, 2016
        Ah, college, a time for beer blasts, casual sex, and, ahem, "bizarre cultural intolerances."Talk radio host Sykes has built a literary legacy of alarmed books with titles such as A Nation of Moochers, Dumbing Down Our Kids, and A Nation of Victims, all jeremiad rather than paean. Sure enough, here he finds everything to complain about and nothing to exalt in the once-vaunted American system of higher education, which has fallen victim to corporatization and--well, Sykes wouldn't dare blame the free-market dismantling of what used to be free education and free thought. Instead, he elects as his bad guys the professorial elite, who get paid big bucks not to meet with classes, a cry he sounded in his ProfScam (1988), and who hold an "active contempt for teaching." Granted that this is true of large research universities, where salaries are more often than not the product of soft money--see Hope Jahren's recent book Lab Girl for the grim details--but where teaching is emphasized, Sykes denounces the plethora of tailor-made majors, the dance studies and Anthropology of Play courses and the like, which are, one supposes, less rigorous than the curriculum he would seek to offer in their place. What to do, in a culture of trigger warnings and hyperextended student loans, further entries in Sykes' long list of complaints? Why, let fewer students in the doors, of course, and downsize the modern university, which "has sought to be all things to all people, endlessly multiplying programs, centers, majors, and degrees." Also, let's get rid of tenure, which "creates a class of untouchable aristocrats," a description that most faculty, tenured and otherwise, would find laughable unless ideologically invested otherwise. Though Sykes' Limbaugh-esque project scores some good points along the way, his shrill denunciations don't get at the core of the real problem or at a solution.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2016

        Sykes (senior fellow, Wisconsin Policy Research Inst.) here effectively harnesses the acerbic tone of his 1988 sensational take-down of higher education Profscam to make a case for change along more free-market lines. Professors come in for the harshest criticism, as Sykes portrays them as a bunch of tweed-wearing layabouts who care less about teaching than padding their resumes with "timewasting drivel" (the author's uncharitable term for academic research). Much of Sykes's narrative will have a familiar ring, as he examines already widely covered issues such as unsustainable student debt burdens and accumulating evidence that most students learn relatively little during their college years, as well as more controversial subjects such as rape culture on college campuses and classroom "trigger warnings." Sykes presents several recommendations for how to put higher education back on the right track, including asking professors to "spend more time with students" and holding universities accountable for student learning and graduation rates. Readers who do not subscribe to Sykes's contrarian views may be put off by this volume's strident and snarky tone (e.g., in a chapter devoted to campus rape, he dismisses rules attempting to codify sexual consent as "a conflation of High Victorian prudery and radical feminist theory"). VERDICT Not recommended.--Seth Kershner, Northwestern Connecticut Community Coll. Lib., Winsted

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2016
        Looking back on his years as president of Ohio State University, E. Gordon Gee frankly acknowledged, I didn't think a lot about costs. However, with tuition skyrocketing, studentsand their parentsdo think about the staggering costs, and about the benefits they hope to receive for bearing these costs. As he did in The Hollow Men (1990) and ProfScam (1988), Sykes here poses hard questions about the quality and substance of what the nation's universities now deliver. Too often, Sykes concludes, colleges give their students little but debt to show for their years on campus. As they visit a wide range of schools, readers see how administrators lavish resources on impressive buildings, on powerhouse athletic programs, and on aloof professors who dodge students so they can write unreadable and unread tomes of research. With telling statistics and piquant anecdotes, Sykes indicts higher educators for teaching students little about the humanities, mathematics, or the sciences, while indoctrinating them in rigid new political orthodoxies. Laying out a bold agenda for reform, Sykes calls for a university system smaller and less dependent on government largesse, less politically correct, and more open to online instruction than the one now bankrupting many students and their families. Certain to stimulate a much-needed debate.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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The cost of a college degree has increased by 1,125% since 1978—four times the rate of inflation. Total student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion. Nearly two thirds of all college students must borrow to study, and the average student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt. Many college graduates under twenty-five years old are unemployed or underemployed. And professors—remember them?—rarely teach undergraduates at many major universities, instead handing off their lecture halls to cheaper teaching assistants.
So, is it worth it? That's the question Charles J. Sykes attempts to answer in Fail U., exploring the staggering costs of a college education, the sharp decline in tenured faculty and teaching loads, the explosion of administrative jobs, the grandiose building plans, and the utter lack of preparedness for the real world that many now graduates face. Fail U. offers a different vision of higher education; one that is affordable, more productive, and...

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