Designed for dropping out

Both high schools and institutions of higher ed are obviously very effective at getting large numbers of their students to dropout. From my perspective, dropping out must be their intended solution. If those institutions were designed for matriculation and graduation, they would be structured very differently. Institutions for higher learning must be deliberately designed for dropping out and have been proven very effective at achieving that purpose. They send loud and clear messages to their potential dropouts like the following:

  • If you've got self motivation and a passion for individualized learning, you're a misfit here. We rely on grades and grade point averages to incentivize learning. Our extrinsic rewards are known to have a toxic effect on your intrinsic motivation and your sense of a personal mission.
  • If you want to be creative or imagine learning to involve your creativity, you don't belong here. The only outlet for creativity in large classes with machine-graded exams is cheating. Some instructors teaching small classes may allow you to express yourself, formulate your own solutions or think for yourself. However those instructors are not recognized by their peers or given favorable evaluations for teaching like that. You'll find those instructors will drop out of here just as you're inclined to do.
  • If you learn best socially, you will learn next to nothing here. We give grades for individualized performance. The purpose of most group projects is to divide up the workload, not to collaborate or gain from others' perspectives. What you'll learn socially here is the finer points of binge drinking and other expressions of frustration, neediness and insecurities. 
  • If you benefit from getting understood by mentors, perceived as potentially  talented, recognized for your unique attributes, you're in trouble here. We need you to conform to academic rigors, comply with arduous requirements and suppress your idiosyncratic urges to do well here. Only the arts curricula allow you to be flamboyant and defiant of job market requirements.
  • If you admire particular faculty members for their maturity, expertise or exemplary interpersonal conduct, you belong elsewhere. We hire and promote faculty members who work well in silos, thrive on turf battles and compete with their colleagues for power within academic departments, divisions or the faculty senate. Those you admire are losers in our bureaucratic system of academic employment.
  • If you want your experiences to seem meaningful, significant and valuable to you personally, you've come to the wrong place. We deliver a barrage of meaningless experiences to ensure that students remain dependent on the administrative authority figures, compliant with policy requirements and consistently submissive when getting misled, mistreated or misunderstood by their advisors. 
  • If you want to learn from instructors who take responsibility for their mistakes, listen to other viewpoints and change their minds easily, you'd best dropout and look elsewhere. We encourage our faculty to exhibit patterns of fortress mentalities, blame shifting and hiding behind their job descriptions. We expect our instructors to desperately avoid responsibility, listening or cognitive flexibility when interacting with students or their parents. 

In other words, anyone who drops out has a clue and those who stick it out are dedicated to remaining clueless.

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