ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Texas Professor Becomes Flashpoint in Education Reform Powder Keg

Updated on April 28, 2015

TAMU Galveston professor Irwin B. Horwitz

TAMU Galveston professor Irwin B. Horwitz
TAMU Galveston professor Irwin B. Horwitz | Source

Irwin Horwitz has gone viral, but not for any video. Rather, the business professor at Texas A&M's Galveston campus has made big news for failing his entire class of some thirty students. In an e-mail, the angry prof accused his pupils of rampant and blatant academic dishonesty, disrespectful behavior, and even threats of violence. He claims that complaints to university administrators did nothing to curb the inappropriate behavior, and that he even had to go as far as to request security for his classroom. According to Inside Higher Ed, Horwitz' controversial actions have become a lightning rod.

Many educators and other folks sympathetic to Horwitz' plight are standing up for the distressed academic, accusing colleges and universities of turning a blind eye to student antics and disrespectful behavior in order to pad their enrollment and graduation statistics. Others sympathize with the students and accuse of Horwitz of extreme overreaction and abuse of power, with some saying the educator lacked the basic ability to control his classroom. While details of Horwitz' allegations are still being examined, it is clear that nobody is happy. TIME reports that students have protested their failure and that the university plans to reverse the angry professor's blanket action.

With the university overruling Horwitz' decision, he is accusing the school of violating its own honor code, reports The Huffington Post.

This story covers several important issues, ranging from student rights to academic freedom to top-down education reform. Do college students have the right to due process in regard to blanket grades? Is it unfair to ever give an entire class an identical grade? Is it unfair to give grades influenced by behavior instead of solely academic performance?

Some academics are upset that Texas A&M is being quick to reverse the professor's grades. Is academic freedom being violated? Are teachers, lecturers, and professors being tacitly instructed to ignore misbehavior and give "acceptable" grades to keep students, parents, and state leaders happy? Are educators losing power and authority, being reduced to babysitters whose task is to keep "customers" happy?

Finally, what does the whole situation say about public education today? Are our teens and twentysomethings running amok in the classroom? Are our schools simply passing the buck and turning a blind eye to academic dishonesty, student apathy, and disrespectful and belligerent behavior?

As a teacher, I anxiously await the final fallout of this event. Many educators can sympathize with wanting to lash out, rant, and give failing grades to a classroom full of miscreants. Fortunately, most of us do not. We regroup and find a way through. Some teachers are lucky enough to only rarely deal with angry, disrespectful, and belligerent students. Some have a natural knack for dealing with such students, while others do not. How much skill in classroom management is expected at each level of public education?

Though some have criticized Horwitz' classroom management skills, does this justify the students' alleged behavior? How much classroom management is expected at the post-secondary level, anyway? Are the students not officially classified as adults? It's not like a prof can send college students to detention!

Pundits on both sides of the debate will seize the unusual event and run with it. Critics of Texas A&M's reaction will assert that we have eschewed school discipline and, in pursuit of profit, filled our college classrooms with students who have no business being there. Critics of the professor will assert that students, who are paying exorbitant tuition and fees, deserve competent, level-headed professors who respect student rights. Policymakers will take notice of this public battle and prepare legislation initiatives accordingly.

When the dust settles, which reforms will be proposed in state and federal legislatures?


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)