NAU you're talkin'

In this morning’s newspaper headline reads NAU fires president, eliminates sports program.   The article is about how the Rapid City campus of National American University has, well, fired its president and is eliminating its sports (specifically, volleyball, rodeo, and equestrian) programs next academic year.

Now, I don’t have an opinion on this either way — I only bring it up here to highlight on excerpt from the article:

NAU’s business decision has just turned Tabitha Unhjem’s world upside down.   “If  [the acting president of the University] is  a businessman, then technically we’re his customers.   You’d think he’d want to bring us in, not kick us out.”

I find this mentality extraordinarily frustrating: education is not a consumer product.   A college education is not something you purchase and haggle on like a used car or a garage-sale kitchen appliance; nor should it be something so generic or mundane that everyone should get one.   A college education is something that must be earned through hard work and a combination of  exceptional ability and dedication.

In any event, students are not customers of education.   I know this because,  if college education was indeed a customer product, then “the customer is always right.”   However,  one need only look at my most recent pile of calculus exams to find all the counterexamples to this that they require.

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