Ivory Tower starts with a professor’s first steps back onto campus, but these steps aren’t entirely joyful. The narrator’s melancholy is caused by the fact that, if all people who stepped onto their campus for the start of classes became a little less happy, then the students are better off because every year there are new students who remain the same age, while the professor grow one year older.The narrator concludes his introduction by saying that college is, “a way to preserve cultural memory”. the scene intensifies with news clips flashing by as reporters posit, “is college worth it”, state that, “college is a myth”. one of the reporter connects the foreclosure situation to student loans that can only end in defaulting on payments.
The filmmakers highlight the problem with higher education’s cost. The filmmakers seem to be antagonized student debt. One student presented in the film has $140,000 worth of debt. Some students do receive financial aid, the student presented was David who attended Harvard with a scholarship, but not everyone is so lucky. The video states that, “Harvard is among the 1.25% of colleges that provide “full-need” financial aid”, which is substantial considering that over time the State Pell Grant used to be enough to pay for a years tuition at a public college, but now it only covers a fraction of the cost. The problem isn’t entirely school’s fault, considering that the Reagan administration stopped expanding support for higher education. Reagan ran for president with a promise to disassemble the Department of Education. The Reagan administration justified reduced support for higher education because an elevated education benefited the individual, so the individual should finance their own growth.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art received a lot of attention in Ivory Tower. It is a school that offered free tuition to all students. The schools needed a new president, and with new leadership, the idea of charging tuition came up. The students of Cooper Union were outraged and protested tuition, but they seemed to have been set aside. After being ignored, they organized a a new protest located in the school president’s office, a sit in. The empty office was guarded by a single secretary and the group of dozens of students found their way in. The students were told by the Cooper Union’s staff that they were trespassing, and that disciplinary action would be taken on all students involved. The school then called the police but the students stood their ground, and the police stood down and allowed the sit-in to continue. On the 22nd day, which was graduation for the senior class, the students turned their backs to the school’s staff expressing their contempt. The sit-in continued days into the summer when the protesting students reached an agreement with the board of directors. Unfortunately, the board of directors voted for tuition to be introduced.
The underwhelming results from the online courses was unexpected. The Udacity passing rates for the math classes were undesirable when 50.5% of 213 students pass elementary statistics, and about three quarters of student from college algebra and entry level math failed. The students could really benefit from the technological aspects of classes, but not all students can get by learning from a computer. One of the students at Harvard says that there is no replacement for the human contact that helps with the learning process. Community colleges would become test field for hybrid classes where the teachers can give students online lectures from Harvard professors at home and then when the students return to class they can work on and problems. The flipped classroom in which students present their information to the rest of the class allow the teacher to go to students individually.
1. Was Ivory Tower an appropriate title? If so, who is on the top of the tower?
2.How practical would free tuition for all be? How long can you really benefit from it?