Economics Professor Kendrick Morales recently declared that Spelman College fired him because he did not cave to students’ demands for higher grades and easier coursework.
Morales is not alone in claiming he was forced to invent nice-feeling grades for unserious students. In 2022, New York University fired a professor after his students complained about failing his course. In 2020, a Harvard University professor withdrew traditional penalties for academic dishonesty if his students admitted they were sorry for cheating.
But these outcomes are not the worst part of the grade inflation trend. The biggest problem is the students themselves.
Gen Z has proven itself to be a Wasted Generation that throws away opportunities to be challenged and grow as people. Its success at this endeavor is an American tragedy.
Gen Z is indeed charting a future of mediocrity because it would rather settle for less than try and fail at big goals. This aversion to setbacks is a stark contrast to the “world is your oyster” mentality of ambition that generations before them espoused when they struck out into the world.
Gen Z students choose to secure fake grades rather than master new skills because the “adults” on campus enable their entitlement. By doing so, college administrators and students collude to risk America’s future, and the results are terrifying.
The American economy needs a young, energetic workforce with ambition and gumption to innovate and push our country forward. Higher education – victim to the Wasted Generation’s entitled activism that it enables – is robbing America of that continued promise.
We cannot expect to realize the joys and benefits of American excellence when higher education conditions the most “educated” citizens to demand less of themselves and each other.
But Gen Z trends, including “quiet quitting” and “lazy girl jobs,” bleed into American society as unmotivated students graduate and take entry-level positions. Nearly a third of college students do not care about their grades and over 80% of young Americans enjoy the idea of putting the bare minimum into their work.
College is supposed to show young people that there is value to struggle and failure because success is only achievable after experiencing both. Higher education is failing at that mission.
I’m an adjunct professor who has taught at public and private institutions. I have failed multiple students because they were not ready for more advanced work. I have failed freshmen who came to college unprepared because their high school teachers failed them. Failure and struggle are a part of life, and no rewarding life can be built without those experiences.
We recently learned that in 2020, Stanford University students conspired with each other to blacklist professors who did not cancel assignments or give A’s to individuals emotionally invested in the Black Lives Matter riots. Instead of seizing the opportunities that higher education offers, Gen Z protests its way through the path of least resistance and highest comfort. That is the antithesis of pursuing higher education.
Grade inflation only gives the illusion of achievement. It hides how little students know and how much of a waste college is for them.
Ninety-one percent of small business owners now believe that higher education does not produce students who are prepared for life after graduation. Employers are ditching four-year degree requirements because higher education no longer aligns with the preparation young adults need to succeed in society or the workforce, where grade inflation and easy-outs do not exist as options.
At the same time that today’s unserious students bully higher education into accepting them as perfected adults who are contradictorily too fragile for harsh reality, they rack up prohibitive loans that 56% of all borrowers cannot readily repay. What a waste, not just for them, but also for the country.
Gen Z is not trying to build anything. Rather, it is trying to throw out every opportunity it has been given.
I applaud Morales for speaking up. Higher education needs to empower its professors to hold students to high rigorous standards and prohibit leftist administrators from enabling students to demand better grades and easier courses.
If American society is to have a prosperous future, universities need to re-embrace the values of truth and rigor in education and apply them to grading systems.
Young people in the 1920s who lived in a detached existence after the meaningless ravages of World War I were known as the Lost Generation. Now in the wake of COVID-19, Generation Z is proving itself to be the Wasted Generation, and the effort to do so is indeed a waste.