Karl Miller responds to Kevin Sutton:
>>So, I say again, since the public pays for public radio, they should
>>get what they want.
>Since the public pays for education should the public determine the
>content of education?
Unfortunately, there is a thriving subculture of the education bidness
who subscribe to the "student as customer" model. Gag me with a spoon:
the vast majority of our students want to be spoon fed and gag at the
mere sight of a full course meal, especially if it has an entree they
haven't ever heard of.
Here is how this customer model fails:
1. The customers are not always right (to put it mildly; I teach
2. To be more serious, my customers love to be ripped off. First,
the less you give them for their money, the happier they are. Second,
if your business is closed for the day, they are happy to pay anyway.
"Hey, Mister, can you sub-size that?" Heck, they might even pay extra
to have classes cancelled. Not that I blame them --- I was a student,
too. (Come to think of it, I have been at concerts that I couldn't wait
to end, even when I thought they were good, and even when I was enjoying
them and had paid a hefty sum! Weird.)
3. The biggest ripoffs in the "bidness" get the greatest rewards.
I'm speaking of the spoon and pablum feeders, who get great student
evaluations (and raises, thereby) for being extremely easy. No, this
isn't sour grapes.
4. Students are more product than customer. Most of them aren't paying
anyway, or at least it is a very small chunk of the cost.
Hmm, maybe #3 shows that education IS becoming a business, but maybe
that's the point.
Have I digressed? Well, it just reminds me of the current discussion.
"Customers" in our culture are taught to be happy with less and less.
Somebody gave a great quote to that effect, something like, "What the
people get, the people want". Even when it makes them fat, rots their
teeth, atrophies their mind or numbs their senses.
It's funny, those of us who would listen to classical music on our own
pay for it willingly and up-front. We might contribute to public radio,
but we buy concert tickets and CD's. When we try to justify classical
music on the radio being paid for with public money, i.e., taxes, we
speak of it as education. But I wager that most of us don't consider
it to be for our own education, but for others, for the public enlightenment.
So which is it, entertainment or education? If the latter, it makes
sense for the public to pay, but maybe it still makes more sense for it
to be done in the schools. Having lost that battle (have we?) it seems
almost dishonest (well, maybe just sneaky) to do it with public radio.
But that depends on who is allegedly being educated.
On the other hand, I am indeed willing to fork over some taxes in support
of education/arts/entertainment for one and all. I want people to hear
what they haven't heard. I guess it's just a form of proselytising.
I think that makes me one of them [L-word deleted]'s.
But I also want to learn something myself, which is why it aggravates
me to hear "Planets" every other day. If public radio is just playing
requests, it isn't really educational.