The Irony of Education

When you pull out of the drive thru at your local fast food establishment and they left out one of your burgers, what do you do? You go back to get the burger because you deserve what you paid for.

When you buy a book off of Ebay thinking it is new and then it arrives in the mail with the dust jacket torn and heavy highlighting on the inside, what do you do? You send it back and demand a replacement because you deserve what you paid for.

When commodities like burgers and books are purchased in a capitalistic society like America, we expect to get what we paid for. In fact, when we get less than what we paid for, we don’t stand for it.

But as my greek professor Dr. Plummer pointed out in class this week, education is the only economic commodity that people consume where they are excited to receive less than they paid for. What do I mean?

I mean a class full of excitement when a professor cancels class. I mean a class full of relief when a professor removes an assignment. They paid to be educated on the subject, and yet their happiness grows when they get less than they paid for. It’s completely counter-intuitive to the rest of our economic system.

Why does this irony of education exist? It is rooted in people’s perspective of education…they are there to get a grade more than to grow in knowledge. They are there to do the bare minimum rather than pursue excellence.

Until the direction of this perspective on education changes, the irony of education will continue.

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