Implicit Means-Testing, Take Two!

by Will on October 13, 2010

I found myself at the community college this evening ready to attend a 6 p.m. class, only to learn that the instructor was late and would be arriving, the sign averred, in 20 minutes. My response was to turn to my classmates and say, “so he’ll be here in an hour.” To which the older Latino woman in the class replied, “I say an hour and fifteen minutes.”

This never happened once at UC Berkeley. And it’s not that my current instructor is a bad guy — he’s not, though he is a poor instructor and a purveyor of much injustice. It’s just that community college pay isn’t substantial enough for people to live on: he mostly makes his money as a doctor, and does this teaching only as a misguided, fumbling attempt to help others. So of course he’s not going to be on time. And of course he doesn’t get that the testing norms for these entry-level classes are not as rigorous as at med school. As Elvis Costello says, “money talks, and it’s persuasive.”

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