The Coltrane Problem: The Crisis in Higher Education, Grad Student Issues (and Their Common Solution)

Why are graduate students at the University of Oregon Ready to go on strike? Read this blog post from Plights of Labor… then share it with others. Thanks!

The Plights of Labor

[The author asserts ‘Creative Commons’ copyright of this article—full rights to share or use in part or whole for noncommercial purposes, with attribution]

While the ‘crisis in education’ in America has been a topic of serious discussion for a long time, its relevance has unfortunately never been greater. Tuition rises, administrative bloat amplifies[i], and universities cut corners cheapening education through growing class sizes and reliance on adjuncts and graduate students rather than tenure track professors[ii].

These changes—universally hurting students alongside faculty, adjuncts, and graduate student instructors but benefitting administrators and often athletic departments—form an educational version (which I will call the Coltrane Problem) of effectively the opposite variant of a classic problem in moral philosophy, known as the Trolley Problem.

The Coltrane Problem (whose namesake and inspiration will become clear in time) provides a specification of an aspect of the crisis in education, illustrated contemporaneously…

View original post 2,957 more words

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