Saturday, April 25, 2009

We're Shortchanging Our Students!

Just this past week there was news that the University of Idaho sweetened the pot to finally be able to hire a new President. His salary will be $337,000 dollars a year. The football coach at Boise State earns $806,998. What's wrong with this picture?

Universities are raising tuition and cutting budgets and programs to the bone but to what end? And how many athletic programs have been cut in concert with educational cuts? Not nearly enough and not only do the students lose, we, as a nation also lose.

I was stunned to read in this morning's Spokesman Review that Idaho State was cutting four language courses. I was especially shocked to learn which languages were involved: Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Latin. Okay. Latin is hardly a necessity in today's world, but the other three are vital. That there aren't enough students to justify these courses is also distressing.

While French, German and Spanish are also vital, I'll question why only a minor in Japanese is available? Shoshone? In lieu of one of the others? I can only ask why?

Okay, in the interests of local culture, I can tolerate Shoshone. For a University, however, that offers a curriculum in International Studies, exclusion of the others is derelict.

From the University's own web site, I quote:
"We find it too easy to stay in familiar environs and too easy not to sample other cultures, languages, and politics." and "The world is truly an independent place. What happens in any part of the world impacts the lives of people in every other part of the world."
The powers that be need to remind themselves of their own propaganda. As anyone who travels the world knows, once off the beaten path, finding English speaking natives can become difficult if not impossible. China and Saudi hold tremendous amounts of our debt. Who doesn't have an electronic device and/or a car made in Japan? How many opportunities does one have to speak Shoshone?

If I were an employer looking at graduates for jobs in the international arena, I'd not give Idaho State even a passing glance. If they're shortchanging language, I'd suspect other areas of the curriculum may also be lacking.

I've always felt you cannot know a people without understanding their culture. You also cannot know a people if you can't communicate with them. Even "football" means different games in different countries!


Margie's Musings said...

As usual...administrators and sports coaches are paid way too much! Teachers are paid too little.

dunwerkin said...

You are correct. But, coaches bring in more money to the system than teachers and president's.

And you won't see the debate team fill up the stadium..