12 December 2002

Hyperactive parents

There's a trend in higher education, apparently, for parents to call professors to complain about their children's poor grades.

According to this article, part of the rationale behind the complaints is the amount parents are paying for higher education. Despite the fact that one must pay for college (more or less depending on where one goes), a $25,000 price tag does not buy As. Only hard work will do that. I guess the parents of the me generation are unwilling to admit that.

The other rationale has been to complain about curriculum. I think this is a more insidious form of complaint that goes hand-in-hand with recent attempts by the right-wing to censor books at public universities and to use public funding to manipulate course requirements. (One example of this is the recent lawsuit by the Family Policy Network against the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for teaching an edited version of the Koran to incoming freshmen, which also led the FPN to sponsor legislation requiring that religion classes be offered at UNC only if ALL religions be given equal time. I've written elsewhere about this assault on academic freedom but unfortunately my archives are messed up and I can't link to it.)

I haven't received any complaints from the parents of my students...yet, although I have heard horror stories. College students are adults. Parents should stop the handholding (and the censoring!) and let their kids fend for themselves. There's no better time to learn self-reliance and accountability.


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