Yes, Sara Goldrick-Rab is Irresponsible and Unprofessional–and it’s none of the UW Faculty Senate’s Business….

You should have gone to Penn!

You should have gone to Penn!

In our ongoing saga of academics being called out about twats on the internets we have Sara Goldrick-Rab as the latest victim. Of course, unlike the poor person fired at LSU for doing her job using adult language, I find a few of Goldrick-Rab’s actions to be truly irresponsible and unprofessional, particularly given that she styles herself an expert on educational policy. I’ve never met her, but having perused her vita I really think she should feel exceptionally lucky to be a full professor (promoted after only 9 years with a PhD based on a handful of articles in mostly minor journals and a coauthored book–with Jerry Jacobs….who is known for being quite generous to his students) at what is still the best public university in the nation.

I don’t give a fuck about calling Scott Walker Hitler or any other pithy political statement, party on.  But I hear tell that she implored a bunch of ecstatic future Wisconsin Badgers to  go to school somewhere else. Because, of course, since now Wisconsin may actually see the kind of cuts the rest of the nation has been dealing with since 2000, 17 year olds and prospective faculty should look to go elsewhere. Jesus fuck a bunny in the ass! Do you really study educational policy?! Are you really an expert on helping the disadvantaged get degrees? Do you really think a cut in the most well-funded university system in the nation means that it is irrational for young Wisconsinites to go to Madison? Versus what? You think they can go to Penn? Northwestern? Chicago? Do you think it’s any better to take advantage of the tuition break to go to Illinois. Illinois  has a higher tuition….but gives Wisconsinites in-state tuition, but ILL is suffering the exact same cut imposed by Walker, and let’s face it, U of I sucks compared to Wisconsin.

Acting like the sky has already fallen because Wisconsin is about to get the kind of cuts most of the rest of us having been dealing with for over a decade is conduct unbecoming a serious researcher in the field of educational sociology or educational policy. For those of us struggling at truly disadvantaged universities, it’s downright insulting–particularly coming from someone who never attended a public university. I agree with Rebecca Blank (who is really nice, my spouse used to sometimes run with her at the AEA meetings). Wisconsin is still a great university and the people of Wisconsin should feel lucky to have it in their backyard. They should work to protect it, not to undermine it because of political hysteria. As for Goldrick-Rab, I’d be very surprised if “better” universities will be beating down her door to steal her away. Indeed, given the sorry state of public universities across the country, the only people poaching superstars from Wisconsin and elsewhere are going to be elite private universities, and most of the attrition has already taken place (which is why Duke is now number 1 in sociology).

Notably, it is Blank’s job to respond to shit like that in an informal way, the way she did. It is NOT the job of the muckity mucks in the Faculty Senate to act like official assholes and call her out. This isn’t about sanctions. This is about responding to a public issue. That’s the job of administrators (and gods know we have plenty of them…..), not of quasi-judicial bodies and other assorted kangaroo courts….

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