Friday, December 16, 2005

General College vs. Community College

Where I live, in a northern city -- I teach at what is often (depending on moment-to-moment enrollment) the biggest community college in the area. There are two others that are right up there with us... but, once in a while we can say we are the biggest... so I'm going to claim it.

Also in this northern city is a Big 10 university (sorry I don't know how to use the features that would make the word blink, twirl or give off fireworks -- as they tend to think of themselves that way....). This university is trying to become more elite. I'm happy with that, as hubby goes to school there and the more elite the better for our future...

As University (blink, twirl, fireworks) tried to become more elite, they noticed that they weren't accepting as many minority students as they'd like. They also noticed that, in order to fix this, they'd have to change their standards and didn't want to do that -- as it would compromise their "elite" goal... so, they started General College.

The idea behind General College is that students will get a chance to prove themselves worthy of being admitted to the University (blink, twirl, fireworks) proper. This situaiton went on for quite a while, with two populations on campus... the larger University (blink, twirl, fireworks) and the General College. Several administrators tried to kill General College, but none succeded -- until now.

It is pretty much official, GC is dead -- it is losing it's status as a separate "college" and is now being rolled into the school of education.

This has sparked protests and other rants on behalf of the good liberals at University (blink, twirl, fireworks) --

Now-- you may be thinking that I'm going to say that the University is wrong (ok.. i'll stop the blink, twirl, fireworks bit, as it is getting old)... or that they are being racists/classist etc... but, you'd be wrong.

The thing is, the main complaint of the good liberals at University is that -- wait for it --- those poor students will have to go to COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- oh, the horrors... so sad... I really feel for them...


The thing about GC that many miss is that at least 70% of the students admitted there to "prove themselves" worthy never transisiton to University proper. They stay there, in college (maybe playing sports -- who knows..) -- helping the University's diversity statistics, but they don't end up doing what they intended when entering GC.

The students of GC should be at a community college. That is what their education has prepared them for so far -- a place with the infrastructure to help them escape their sub-standard high school education via remedial reading and math courses. A place that expects you to leave in 2-3 years. A place that will help you transisiton to a school that fits you. A place that says it is ok to leave school with a certificate or an AA/AS.

Frankly, from the student's perspective, they can say they are in school at University -- they can get used to the hassles of going to school on a HUGE campus etc... but, are they really being served by GC in the way it was intended.. probably not.

This isn't the fault of the faculty there -- I know at least one amazing former GC faculty member whose passion and dedication to teaching probably hurt their career -- I think it is the fault of the system itself and for that reason the GC should be closed down.

If I were to check the transcripts of the good liberals who are doing the protsting, I'd guess that they don't have community college classes listed. Until you go to a community college, or teach at one (my first exposure --- I went to University..) you don't understand them, nor could you.

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