I was reading a blog from Swarthmore.edu and found an article by Easily Distracted entitled, Polenta Soup and the Terrible, Awful, No-Good Cost of Higher Education.”
What I thought particularly intriguing was the argument in favor of tenure:
Tenure itself costs little, by the way. Or more precisely, it costs nothing compared to the idea that youâ€™d just keep extending the contracts of strong teachers and researchers until retirement. The cost of tenure is institutional and programmatic, not financial: it keeps a university from responding rapidly to changing trends in knowledge. Arguably, this is a good thing independent of its costs. Some believe that an important responsibility of academia is the conservation of intellectual traditions as opposed to chasing momentary trends. Tenure is only a financial cost if you want to follow the growing norm in white-collar labor of firing people when theyâ€™re in their fifties even if theyâ€™re still doing great work simply to save on their salaries. Maybe that is what some people want, to have everyone in the same miserable situation except for the billionaires. Iâ€™d rather see if the whole society canâ€™t go in the opposite direction and increase job security for most people.
There is more at the original article. It’s an interesting read.