I can't say I love either school. Then again, I can't say I love any school at this point. I'm not bitter at not being re-hired at York; rather, I feel it is a sort of "dues" I paid for some things I've learned. What I know now probably won't help me to get a job in another school, or anywhere else for that matter. But I am glad to have learned it, if sad that I have to know it.
What I have learned is this: Most academic institutions, for all of their pretensions of serving some higher cause like bringing enlightenment to the human race, are really nothing more than corrupt, poorly-run businesses. They will bring in the students that they believe will bring them the most money.
That is why, in contrast to what their self-serving propaganda says, they don't take very many, if at all, bright kids from poor backgrounds, or highly-motivated people who've just gotten away from substances they abused or spouses that abused them. What they admit, instead, are the ones who have more loan (or other kinds of) money than skill or talent. Even at the schools that don't have open-admissions policies, you will find scores, even hundreds or thousands, of students who have guaranteed loans or whose tuition and fees are being paid by some program or another, but who have virtually no chance of making the grades they need.
Along with those students, you will also find international students--for whom, at many institutions, tuition is even higher than it is for out-of-state residents. For many of them, tuition is being paid by the governments of their countries but whose level of English will get them through, at most, a telephone directory. Those students are admitted on the basis of Test of English as a Foreign Language, a.k.a. TOEFL, scores they "earned" in countries where cheating on exams is considered about as much an offense as spitting on the sidewalk, if it's not openly encouraged. They then "compensate" for their lack of English proficiency by going into majors and programs that require more numerical or technical than linguistic skill. Then they "pass", or even "do well" with, shall we say, some help from their friends.
If you catch such a student in a plagiarism, if you're lucky, you'll get a lecture about how that student's cultural values are different, and that you as an educator must be tolerant and understanding, and help that student find his way in this harsh, unforgiving system. If you're not lucky, you might find yourself in a hearing over your supposed cultural insensitivity, and if you're not tenured or on the tenure track, there's a good chance you won't get hired for the upcoming term.
Right now, I have one class full of students who don't understand anything I say beyond "Good evening." Don't get me wrong: They seem like nice enough people. But I simply don't see how they're going to complete much of anything even in that community college, which has an open-admissions policy.
Next year, that college and others will most likely admit even more such students than were admitted last year or in other previous years. And that is what those schools will continue to do as long as other governments are willing to pay to send students here, and as long as those who graduated high school without any real skills have access to loan or grant money. Actually, the students themselves don't have access to the money, as it's (in most cases) paid directly to the schools, which charge students "processing fees" that can amount to as much as twenty percent of the loan.
Being one of the people who has to know what I've described really sucks sometimes. The academic administrators who are complicit in it really must know how to "compartmentalize;" otherwise, how could they sleep or look themselves in the mirror? Many other faculty members know of what I speak: I've heard some say the same things. What I don't understand, though, is why the ones who have tenure don't speak up about it. In fact, most tenured faculty members I've seen don't speak up about much of anything. Maybe the ability to do so was beaten out of them.
But, as I said, I am thankful that I know what I've mentioned. For one thing, it helps to make me all but immune, at this point in my life, to any sort of institutional loyalty, and helps me to remember why the only loyalties I want to have are those to people I love, to the truth and whatever moral values and principles I am learning from it. Those things outlast institutions, anyway.
For another, knowing what I've learned has shown me the fallacy of "working within" for "change." As long as you are working for someone (or some group of people, which is what an institution is) whose motivation is money, there is simply no way to keep a job except to aid that end. And, when you cooperate in such a way, they want more of the same. That's how you end up teaching more students with fewer skills for less money (in real dollars, anyway) with each passing year. And, to paraphrase someone who writes better than I ever could, if you're not stupid or full of yourself, you can't fail to see that it's not doing the students--or you--any good.
If knowing what I've said in this post makes leads me not to love--or feel any loyalty to--any school or other institution, it makes me value education more than I ever did. Real education, that is: It's as much a survival skill as anything is.