Monday, July 20, 2009

Community College!

"Affordability is way down the list. You can increase student aid a ton and you still won’t have a huge effect on college completion.
What’is important about the Obama initiative is that it doesn’t throw money at the problem. It ties money to reform and has the potential the potential to spur a wave of innovation.
People who work at community colleges deserve all the love we can give them, since they get so little prestige day to day. But the fact is many community colleges do a poor job of getting students through. About half drop out before getting a degree."

David Brooks,"No Size Fits All," The New York Times, July 16, 2009.

Four points. Good review of issues and recognition of the potential power of Obama's community college proposal. Some college produces real payoffs; no wonder enrollments are up. Brooks may be right about the limited effects of more financial aid on graduation, but most community college students are working and thus have more complicated lives in terms of resources and being able to tolerate "one size fits all" in terms of classes, schedules, and timing. So linking federal resources to reform is essential. What Brooks doesn't address is the fact that many students who think they are in college have really ended up in developmental education, remedial courses getting them ready for college. In fact, they can't drop out of college because they are not yet in college, yet they do drop out and too few transition to college-credit courses. No doubt this problem will be a key area for reform.

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