Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk - Forum
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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 3 » Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
LunowDate: Monday, 2012-03-26, 8:26 PM | Message # 1
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"Debunking commonly held notions about the rite of passage known as the college experience, this PBS documentary follows 30 students and their teachers along the path of higher education, from admission to graduation, and exposes the disappointment, disorientation and deflation many students feel -- in both public and private schools. This revealing study also addresses the quality and readiness of America's future work force." - from Netflix

If you enjoyed College, Inc., this movie is for you. It follows different students around the USA through their college years and describes the experiences they have. Some students focused and some slacked. It does provide a fascinating look at where the USA is educationally. I was shocked at many points during the movie, and hope that you enjoy this.
 
RogerDate: Wednesday, 2015-04-08, 6:03 PM | Message # 2
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Roger Nguyen P.6

    "Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk" addresses the culture of college of life, and frankly, I already have strong opinions on this topic, so expect an extremely biased review.
    The big point of this documentary is that the higher education system is broken in respects to how the government has emphasized how every individual is responsible for his/her education, and yet and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.
    The biggest concept that I got from this film is just how corrupt society is. Education is forced down our throats as a way of life when all higher education is just a concept that allows society to label one another as educated or uneducated. Many individuals "cheated" their way through college, and they have probably learned that a high education is $50k-$100k 4 year vacation.
    This film barely touched concepts such as college athletics, trade school, or even the cultural aspects of education.
    Overall, the concepts in this film were appalling and I much more enjoyed the "intellectual" debate in the comment section, the film itself was monotonous, and the scope was very limited. I give this film 5.4/10
 
cathyduong08Date: Wednesday, 2015-06-03, 7:59 PM | Message # 3
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Cathy Duong, P.5

I found this documentary on American College education very interesting. The video made a claim about how flawed the teaching and supervision management becomes in education when students graduate from high school and begin investing money into colleges and universities. According to the movie, US students today are not getting their money's worth. To begin with, teachers don't get paid enough and have no incentive themselves to improve their teaching methods, for all they can do to get promoted is through their own research papers. Because of this, many students show up to college, fully expectant for hard essays because of what their high school teachers had warned them about before...only to find classes too easy. Also, college campuses are just being overcrowded, leading to insufficiency in actually connecting with students and addressing their studying struggles. Without specific attention and being tracked on their academic progress in college, many students end up partying most nights, cramming, and "having fun" since no one's there to make sure they're trying hard. Lastly, "Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk" pinpoints the main contributor to the deteriorating standards of college education: the market. College institutions are now investing more and more of their money not into the quality of educating America's future, but towards beautifying the campus and luxurious gyms, dorms, and cafes for their students. Their main goal is really to attract students and make money off of them, who will have to pay much for tuition. 
With all the evidence that the documentary provides starting from when the American college life began, it seems American's public education system has taken a step back. There was a time in America where college was free and provided for. However, upon the discovery that those who attended colleges had better salaries, colleges suddenly was interpreted by the US government not as a necessity-- rather, it was something one has to afford for oneself in order to achieve a personal higher quality of life. Personally, I was quite shocked-- America had provided free education for students from kindergarten to their senior year of high school-- yet when it comes to college, it's pretty much optional? The documentary really made this flaw apparent, and when teachers were interviewed on their opinions of how they're managing their college jobs as professors, I was even more disappointed. Some professors actually admit that their teaching methods may be not quite there, but they can't fail their students either because then they may at risk of getting fired. All they really want is get a raise, and sometimes all they can do to keep food on the table for themselves is by rushing in lessons, no matter how interactive and effective the way they teach it is, they just have to get it done. Sometimes grading multiple choice tests rather than assign in-depth essays is the preferred options for teachers who care more about a raise. 
The movie may be a bit extreme on the flaws on American college education, but the fact that there is a problem is undeniable. With my knowledge of AP HUG Unit 3 on pop culture, I know the way this generation perceives school and college life plays a part in the actions they take at the school, partying and all. Globalization/privatization of colleges adds tons of monetary value to college education as well. This documentary has helped me review not only the culture unit, but also made me aware of what changes need to be made in higher education before I take my own steps into college.
 
stevenvu3245Date: Saturday, 2016-04-16, 6:51 PM | Message # 4
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Steven Vu- Period 2

This movie describes individual perceptions on American colleges.  It describes the lives of students attending college, and how they feel about their teachers and their school.  The movie starts by having students give their opinions on college.  Most have a negative connotation of it, saying it is much easier than people say, or that the tuition for a particular college is too high, and that they had to take a lesser alternative.  Obviously, judging by the title of the movie, people are not satisfied with the way that education is functioning in America.  Teachers are not teaching students with passion or with much commitment with high performance as before, and they blame this on the poor wages.  As mentioned in the movie, a coach in a sports organization can make a couple million dollars a year while a college professor could be looking at $200,000.  This could be due to the focus/ cultural shift in the American culture.  Popular culture mentioned in Unit 3 is tied into this and it is that students in college are more focused on "fun" activities such as partying and sports, rather than education.  Colleges are more fixed on creating a more complex and beautiful campus rather than using that money to invest in the student's education.  This creates changes in the student's values. in which they are being drawn away from education, and their identity themselves (Unit 3), in which they aren't seeing themselves as scholars but rather as struggling people trying to get through classes.  The film does mention some people who find school easy and excel, particularly in private colleges, where the student to faculty ratio is 1:9.  Overall, this movie really demonstrated the reality of American colleges, in which they aren't as academic focused as they really seem.  I would rate this movie 6/10 since it didn't emphasize too many AP Human Geography themes but it still had some, and the overall focus and idea of it was pretty interesting.  I would recommend this film to and students or parents concerned about the college life and experience.


Message edited by stevenvu3245 - Saturday, 2016-04-16, 6:51 PM
 
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