In the State of Florida, K – 12 teachers and State College (formerly community colleges) professors have lost tenure, which is a contractual term meaning you can’t be terminated without due process. For example, without tenure, if your supervisor doesn’t like the clothes you wear, then when your contract expires, you may not have your contract renewed (i.e., terminated or fired). Or, if your success rates aren’t high enough, then you may be fired. The obvious solution for non-tenured faculty is to pass enough students to retain their positions, which creates grade inflation and destroys the institution’s reputation. If schools and colleges are simply granting credentials, then the credential itself becomes meaningless.
We have already experienced credential inflation with the high school diploma. In previous generations, having a high school diploma meant something because not that many people had one. Now, almost 80% of the U.S. population has the credential, which means it is not a very discriminating credential and therefore employers are seeking a B.S. degree where a high school diploma was adequate before. The same is now happening with the BS degree; that is, more than 30% of the U.S. population have a bachelor’s degree or higher and as the percentage of the population holding a BS degree increases, then there will be more pressure to earn advanced degrees (e.g., MS, or PhD), especially if professors pass students to keep their jobs.
I strongly believe in, and support, the right of every citizen to have an OPPORTUNITY to earn a credential through education, but to put pressures on the system to grant those credentials is counterproductive.