Monday, December 04, 2006

Push to 2 year, push to failure?

I used to be a big proponent of pushing students towards community colleges. I bought into the whole arguments that kids needed a transition environment, kids needed a cheaper alternative, kids needed to be closer to home, and so on and so forth. Then, about 3 years ago, I realized that pushing kids towards community colleges was pushing kids into doing less. Why did I come to that conclusion?
-Cost: The money for a 4-year university is there, period. I registered with a variety of websites that track scholarship, grant and loan availability and found that there is money all over the place that is dying to be nabbed. What I found is that students don't really want to be bothered by doing the work to nail the funding. They work on college apps, finish the first semester of their Senior year, and then Senioritis sets in. Is a community college cheaper by the unit? Yes. Is it overall costs of community college cheaper? Well, as I will show later, the lost time goofing off and lost possible revenue could cost thousands.
-Transition environment: AKA, expecting less from the students. In the end, pushing kids to a community college makes us less accountable as secondary school teachers, putting the pressure on community colleges for students to succeed. Again, the expectation is of the "kid gloves" type instead of taking the dive into a much more substantial education.

Enter the recent article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The statistics for community college completion rates is astounding.

Roughly 15 percent of full-time community college students eventually transfer to a four-year college; another 3 percent get an associate degree; 3 percent get some other certificate; 79 percent get no credential. Half of entering students never go past the first year.

Because of poor preparation, most need basic-skills courses before they can even begin college-level work. According to Community Colleges Chancellor Mark Drummond, "90 percent can't do college math; 75 percent can't read or write at college level." Many arrive without any idea of what college work requires.


This is another example of expecting little from our students and simply allowing it to continue to happen. Oh, and this isn't just an issue with teachers. Once again it is society that has yet to take education seriously.

I'm back

Well, it just took awhile to get things situated, ok?

I occasionally get this way when I'm just way too over-my-head in work, and I don't go home feeling up to blogging. I go home feeling up to sitting in front of the television and grading papers. But now I'm a bit more caught up, and my bloggosphere is back in business. Plus, I have a dozen newspaper articles that need to be discussed.

I actually got more caught up at a basketball tournament in Fortuna. For those of you outside of the Emerald Triangle (those in Northern California will understand), Fortuna is a little town about 15 miles south of Eureka on the NorCal coast. The town is fine, the JV basketball tourney is better. I can't comment very much on basketball, since the subject is absolutely on the touchy end of the spectrum around here. However, I can say that I'm really enjoying what I'm doing and you can follow my teams progress at my website, What does one do in Fortuna? Well, since I'm there from Thursday night to Saturday night, I end up doing a lot of grading in a little Best Western motel room while I listen to HBO movies in the background. What else? Christmas shopping was attempted, but the only real deal was bottles of Chateau Sovereign 2003 Cabs at Costco for $14. A seriously good wine at a seriously good price. Of course, I couldn't buy them while I was in the situation of being at a basketball tourney. They way things are going, some yahoo would have a fit if I had purchased wine as a Christmas gift for my wife. But don't you let that deal pass up. Go get some!

So the blogging is back. Ready?