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.
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