This question can't be given a flat yes or no answer. Faculty in the sciences are paid much more by grants, and faculty in some sciences and the humanities a lot less. And generally the "pay" from a grant is given back to the university to pay your way out of teaching. So I get a half-year's salary grant, and then I give it back to my school to pay them to "replace" me for a half-year. Then I go work on my painting, my medical research, or what-have-you. (Scare quotes on "replace" because the school will sometimes just take the money and not cover all or even some of the classes that the on-leave faculty member would teach.) I can say with great certainty that a very tiny fraction of a faculty member's salary at a US public university is paid by taxpayer monies. Instead it will be mostly from tuition and pay-outs from endowments or grants. The public contribution to public universities is very small these days.
"Middle America" or "Mesoamerica" is a common term for that region, especially in academic circles.
This stupid complaint about profs assigning their own texts, again.... Do you think Henry Ford the 15th (or whatever) should drive a Camry? A prof who has written a textbook no doubt thinks the textbook is the best in the field. And, yep, he or she gets a cut. But it's damn small. More important would be the vote of confidence (or lack of) in his/her book. However, yes, schools do get kickbacks from publishers. Not individual profs, but some companies, Prentice Hall especially, like to offer departments kickbacks to use that publisher's products, perhaps exclusively. My current school used to do that. We used the money for pay for our photocopier budget and some our work-study students. We eventually ditched the publisher because, well, their books suck sweaty crack. Now we run out of copy paper around mid-term, and we don't have any work-study students to answer the phones. Guess it's time to raise tuition again!
Because the Fed intentional manipulates the market to maintain unemployment? Because the working portion of a person's life is bookended by nonworking portions? Because we don't want to take the people who can't work out behind the barn and shoot them? Aside from those reasons, a lot of government spending, the majority of it, goes to people who are working. The government employs quite a few people, most of whose jobs we'd all agree need to be done.
Depends on your perspective, I guess, what middle class means. When you're getting $1,600 a month housing allowance and earning $2,000 a month or better, which is what you get as an airman, not even talking non-com here, much less an officer, you're beating the pay I earn as a professor. If I were in the military, based on my friends with similar degrees, I'd be Navy rank of Lt. Commander. That rating makes 166% of my salary, not including the housing allowance and cheaper benefits. The US military pays pretty well. I'm not sure we can call non-coms and lower middle class, but then again, I'm not sure you can call college profs middle class anymore either. And I suspect that's true of many jobs. The US has been undergoing such a radical shift in income and class structure that I'm confused about what exactly constitutes a class, and I'm actually pretty darn persuaded that we need to come up with new terms because the middle class seems to be vanishing.
I bought a Simple Touch and thought I'd root it. But I didn't because it turns out that I like the way it works, and the simplicity of it suits me fine. I prefer to save my rooting and fiddling around for my phone, where I get more bang for my buck. I can't honestly imagine using the Simple Touch for more than reading because of the screen refresh rate. But, for what it is, it's awesome. One of the best things about it is that my wife no longer nags me about the big stack of books on my night table.
I could agree with you if you replaced most instances of "educators" with "administrators"; teachers generally aren't the ones setting these policies. It's school boards and, more often, politicians. As you note, and as the article says: it's teachers who are sticking up for this kid. And the only people who stand to benefit from this are politicians making hay with the baser elements of their base.
First, I think we've had enough of legislators getting into curricula. Students already spend at least a third of their time prepping for standardized tests. Common Core curricular guidelines are demanding that 70% of English class readings be devoted to nonfiction, specifying things like menus and instruction manuals. Teachers already teach a lot of science fiction. And I'm going to say this as a fan of SF who knows about the "wide range" people are already trotting out: many teachers teach SF/Fantasy for two reasons: one, their own educations did not prepare them to understand, say, Shakespeare or stuff like poetry, and, two, they can't or don't want to take the effort to make that stuff interesting to students. I have actual data I've collected on poetry instruction; almost all teachers I consulted said these three things: they don't teach poetry, they don't read poetry, they don't understand poetry. I'm not saying that poetry is what we need but that this indicative of a problem of effort and education, as well as a system that is based on credentialing teachers based on education courses and not causes in the subject they will teach. It's "worse" at the college level; students can often get thru college lit reqs without ever touching anything more than SF or Fantasy, and often it's not even "high brow" SF/Fantasy but stuff on the order of Orson Scott Card or Harry Potter. I think we would be better served to place some actual intellectual demands on all our future citizens and do our best to give everyone the intellectual tools necessary to enjoy some more difficult reading. No one will like everything, but that's no reason to race toward an "ow my balls!" curriculum designed by President Camacho.
My mod points expired recently, or I'd mod this up. A nice point-by-point analysis of the slow escalation of bullshit in that post.
We teachers provide the necessary 1% inspiration; it's up to students to provide the perspiration.
I responded to a similar sentiment you expressed in reply to me above, but having scrolled down, I realize that maybe I should make it clear what you're asking. The job market for most professorships is very, very bad. The parent above and I are both English profs. A decent tenure-track professor line will get 150 to 800 applications, with the median probably around 250. We're expendable. The situation is the same for math and sciences; though the numbers are probably a bit lower, they're proportionate to the rate of graduation. So, anyway, I'm expendable. If I fail too many students, I might not get tenure. Or I might not get promotion. Or a raise. And I have a family to feed and student loans to service. So, asking me to Just Do the Right Thing is also asking me to cut my own throat and screw over my own children. The reason we're online griping about it is because we'd love to be kicking ass and taking names.
"Get a job at a private university." Oh man. I'm kicking myself. Why didn't I think of that before?
My dean at Appalling State University is famous for saying "Your students deserve a grade." To an extent there was pressure at one big R1 at which I taught, and at another big R1, pressure was, well, here's a story about it: I gave a kid an F, which he richly deserved, for cheating his bright shiny little buns off. His father, Daddy Donor, called up, and the department chair spent half of Friday calling me to apprise me of this, concluding each call with "But there's no pressure." I caved around 2pm. Note: I was teaching on a year-to-year contract and had a wife and a new baby, so I'm moderately proud I stuck it out through several phone calls.
Everything you say is true except for those two words (or one hyphenated word) "tax-funded"; public university these days is tax-supported. The majority of funding no longer comes from the taxpayers but from tuition. That's why tuition is so high and ALSO one reason why schools are inflating grades. We have to keep you enrolled to get your cash. Failing you out means we're cutting our own throat. So, sure, we do all sorts of remediation and development, but we also admit students who simply are very unlikely to make it. (Their money is still green, after all.) AND, we also compete with other schools. So each school tries to be more accommodating than the other, and it ends up in a downward spiral, at least in terms of the demands we make on students. This is an unfortunate outcome of the students-as-consumers model for education. (As opposed to education as a public service, public good, public necessity or whatever noun you want to throw after the adjective public.)
I am serious. As in a colleague left for another place, and the new school issued him a cell phone for his students to use. He's supposed to be available and answering that phone between 8am and 8pm. He doesn't have an office, but a table in a room with other professors. His starting pay is $55k/yr.