In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

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In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

At the colleges of last resort, the American ideal of equal opportunity for all

meets the reality that not everyone is suited for higher education. The students aren’t

seeking an education at Yale, Princeton or other Ivy League colleges. Instead, a college

of convenience is preferred. Professor X, an adjunct instructor, quarrels with the idea

that adjunct instructors at these schools act as academic assassin’s, crushing the reality of

unsuitable students as they give them failing grades.

Higher education is seen as the means to a more professional job and, ultimately

higher success. Professor X teaches adult education to adults returning to school after

various amounts of time away from school. Adults have been inspired by their families,

employers, or even the desire to go back for a higher education for a possible career

change, and colleges believe that the more educated people will profit both the

individual and society. The college location must be convenient so the student can

balance their home, work, and school lives. Students taking these required English

courses are optimistic the acquired knowledge and skills will pay off in future endeavors.

Professor X teaches students who often lack the basic fundamentals required to

successfully complete a college course. His students generally do not do well. They often

fail, sometimes repeatedly. Although initially enthusiastic and aspirant, his students are

soon overcome by the depth of work needed to complete these courses. Despite

lacking the writing and technical skills required to succeed in his English classes, they

ignore the assistance that is available to update these skills. The students’ failure is not

only theirs but also a failure of the educational system because it is either unwilling or

unable to recognize that college is not for everyone.

Colleges, like...
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