ASHA Philosophy of Curriculum Turned Upside Down. 6

Urgent Agenda: 1994

We saw how Dr.Spahr proposed an urgent agenda to improve academic preparation for audiology and speech-language pathology.    “He took a business orientation for ASHA’s future, deferring to employer evaluations as to the deficiencies of SLP graduates.  Employers were dissatisfied with SLP “products. They were unprepared for immediate service. There were signs employers wanted to train their own SLPs, particular in medical settings. SLPs should be trained to understand costs and performance requirements.”

The Colloquy held addressing a monumental change in academic preparation had two characteristics:

1. It was initiated in semi-darkness with only token publicity to the membership.  The program was subsequently submerged as a part of the accreditation process, where CAA claimed to be an autonomous council existing as in a “silo” with marginal oversight by the Board of Directors.

2. It did not present a general context for the non-academic positions taken.  It did not speak to the origins of the business approach launched aggressively in higher education.  No significant evaluation of the business approach was ever taken.  It was institutionalized without comment, assumptions and all.

Context Issue

The context issue is now more critical than ever.  It turns out here in 2015 college graduates in many fields — e. g., psychology, business, education, engineering — are being criticized for not pleasing the expectations of employers.  Urgency still abounds because colleges desperately need to change to support economic outcomes, according to critics.

In an article, Qualified in Their Own Minds (October 29, 2013) by Allie Grasgreen sums up the school to work issue:  “As more students have struggled to find a place in a depressed job market and questions about the employment value of a college degree have intensified, so too has concern that new graduates are not equipped to function in the work place and are not meeting employers’ expectations.”  She writes about a recent Chegg study: “In the report, “Bridge That Gap: Analyzing the Student Skill Index,” only half of college students said they felt very or completely prepared for a job in their field of study. But even fewer employers – 39 percent of those surveyed – said the same about the recent graduates they’d interviewed in the past two years.”

An article published in the Washington Post speaks to the readiness issue. One learns there are several factors influencing learning outcomes. http://www.…/grade…/why-are-so-many-college-students- failing-to-gain-job-skills-before-graduation/‎

The topic of work readiness among others was taken up this summer by the nation’s governors,  NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. The conference emphasized getting results in government. As to higher education, programs should be easily accessed and prepare students for work.… /governors-select-west-virginia-f.html‎


We have here independent verification of the business implications of SLP / Student Readiness for employment.  There is a larger national movement across fields, one which has gone on without ASHA comment, self-study and follow-up.  This movement carries with it a political weight  characteristic of conservative thought and the belief  the purpose of higher education is to prepare students for jobs and profits in the workplace.  It sweeps aside any idea of “The Educated Man” having a role in society.

In my opinion, the work readiness movement is profit driven and anti-intellectual.  It parallels the movement to install core curriculum nationally, whether schools want it or not.  Diane Ravich – The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2010) – shows how corporate entities push behind the scenes.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: