Community college information

david52 Zone 6May 23, 2013

The linked column has some interesting information on community colleges that I wasn't aware of.

"WASHINGTON : Community colleges have received a declining share of government spending on higher education over the last decade even as their student bodies have become poorer and more heavily African-American and Latino, according to a report to be released Thursday.

“Many community colleges end up receiving minimal federal support,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, which is publishing the report. “The kids with the greatest needs receive the fewest resources.”

The report argues that colleges have become increasingly separate and unequal, evoking the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, which barred racial segregation in elementary and secondary schools. Higher education today, the report says, is stratified between four-year colleges with high graduation rates that serve largely affluent students and community colleges with often dismal graduation rates that serve mostly low-income students.

In 2009, community colleges spent $9,300 per student on educational resources, virtually unchanged from 1999 once inflation was taken into account. Public research universities spent $16,700, up 11 percent from 1999, and private research universities spent $41,000, an increase of 31 percent.


Community colleges, which enroll about 44 percent of the nation’s college students, will play a major role in determining how quickly educational attainment rises in the United States, experts say. While the United States once led the world in educational attainment by a wide margin, it has fallen behind some other rich countries over the past generation.

President Obama has called for the country to regain its lead by 2020, and community colleges would probably have to improve significantly for that goal to be met.

Although 81 percent of new students at community colleges say they want to transfer to a four-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree, only 12 percent do so within six years, according to the report. Most entering students also fail to receive a two-year degree, although some community colleges have compiled an impressive record of graduating low-income students.

-snip -

The report describes a network of federal and state educational policies that has failed to keep pace with the increasing enrollment of lower-income students in higher education. The largest federal financial aid program - Pell grants, which go to lower-income students to offset tuition - does relatively little to help community colleges because their tuition tends to be low.


Community colleges and four-year colleges have both suffered in recent years from state budget cuts, said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. But four-year colleges have made up some of the shortfall through tuition increases, while community colleges have not increased tuition as rapidly.

The financing gap, Ms. Goldrick-Rab said, “is contributing to really appalling completion rates.”

The report recommended a series of policy changes, including more transparency about who benefits from federal education spending; more outcome-based financing, to reward colleges that do the best job with challenging students; and programs to make community colleges economically diverse. Community colleges could create more honors programs, including classes for high school students, and four-year colleges could set aside more slots for community college transfers, the authors said.

Other research has found that poor students tend to fare worse, all else equal, when enrolled in a school made up mostly of poor students. Yet over the last generation, higher education appears to have become more stratified.

In 2006, 28 percent of community college students came from the bottom quartile of the socioeconomic distribution, up from 21 percent in 1982. Only 16 percent of community college students came from the top quartile in 2006, down from 24 percent in 1982.

By comparison, only about 5 percent of students at the 200 most selective four-year colleges came from the bottom quartile in 2006, according to Anthony P. Carnevale and Jeff Strohl, of the Center on Education and the Workforce, at Georgetown University. end quote

So the Pell Grants help the kids with tuition, but because the tuition remains so low, combined with declining state support, they're seriously short on funds.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

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David, This is why we need to apply the Obamacare model to higher education. It's called rationing. We have to weigh the costs and benefits.

Government plans to use age to sort out who gets what medical treatments, if any.

Government can use IQ scores to decide who gets what, if any, education. Think of the benefits to society!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:48AM
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david52 Zone 6

I thought you were the one telling us how great a community college education was, how its a perfectly reasonable and equitable substitution for state and private universities.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:17PM
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"I thought you were the one telling us how great a community college education was, how its a perfectly reasonable and equitable substitution for state and private universities."

You're right! But your past posts demeaning community colleges and the quality of students who attend them has persuaded me to align my position with yours.

Your own kids, as you pleaded with us to understand, could only receive the education they deserve by starting out at a four year college, with large taxpayer grants. I've finally seen the light.

I now understand that by taking a page from Obamacare, government can fairly ration education dollars the same way it rations medical care. It all starts with measuring an individual's worth with standardized tools. The older the person, the fewer dollars they get for medical treatments. and the lower the person's IQ the fewer dollars they get for education.
Everyone should be as outspoken as you and this administration have been, and just admit that some people are more equal than others.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:13AM
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David, it's been my experience, when it comes to persons unable to afford the more prestigious colleges, that only those who know how to work the various systems are able to access the grant and loan money necessary to attend many of the higher learning institutions, and must also have maintained decent GPA's, and attained some scholarships, and must have done other necessary things... to gain access... unless one can outright afford the enormous costs incurred in attending, or are the descendants of persons who have attended such prestigious establishments.

In other words, opportunity is not always so equal.

I could not imagine my son as a minority with lesser than a 4.0 GPA trying to gain access to the college of his choice...

The numbers in the report sound about right... I know many people my son's age that simply could not afford to complete even community college...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:53AM
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david52 Zone 6

NIk, have we now flipped the page, so to speak, from the years of amusement watching your hyperbolic fantasies re illegal immigrants to a new chapter of hilarity with completely fabricated, wildly distorted interpretations of Obamacare?

Never mind.

What I thought it was interesting, and new information, was that given the whole panoply of Federal and State aid to higher education does not match up very well to the actual concentration of the students, and where the most needy students are actually going to school.

The article doesn't even mention the significant role of the billions in research funds and grants given to major state universities, while none at all go to community colleges.

Jodik, its getting increasingly difficult, and one of the only paths left is massive student debt. While its nice to remember the good old days when working a part time job or two would see you through college, that just isn't going to happen now.

This post was edited by david52 on Fri, May 24, 13 at 11:02

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:59AM
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There is no doubt, for most people education and eventual occupation is determined primarily by their parent's finances. The exceptions are high-achieving kids from low-income families and those rare mavericks from high-income ones who do not take advantage.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:00AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Statistics from post 2010 period are dismal for community colleges here in So.Cal., here called City Colleges. The State has cut funding as have County and city governments directed toward "adult ed" classes affiliated with City Colleges. Fees are raised again and again to try to make up the shortfalls, pushing more and more poorer students away. In spite of this, Santa Barbara City College has one of the largest enrollments among community colleges in the country.

So while the demand for classes continues to rise, the course offerings and even whole programs are being cut to bring the institutions into balance with available funds. Students become discouraged when core classes are full or not being offered, meaning that the students cannot complete their AA degree programs in reasonable times. THAT is what is truly rationing educational opportunities to a heavily Hispanic clientele.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:15AM
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david52 Zone 6

Bootstrap Universities.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 11:07AM
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The situation is worse than you think-the Quality of the education is frequently terrible. Our local CC hires all the teachers part time-low pay, no benefits and you cant get quality instructors that way-they have gradually phased out the older teachers who were full time. The classes get more and more expensive while the instruction gets more and more pathetic but the kids have no other choice. I took a couple of courses and was appalled that anyone would get college credit for such pap.

Still strangely enough the CC has Edifice Complex-more and bigger puffy buildings(lots of useless interior fluff) keep going up. Some how they can get money to build.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:46PM
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"edifice complex" - that's a good one.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:00PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

So true about the poor quality of instruction at least in my range of fields. When I went for a career change in the early 1970's, I took a few extension courses in horticulture at UCLA, taught by emeritus profs...learned a lot in a short time and hooked up with an old student to form a company. He took additional hort courses at Pierce (formerly Ag) College, complaining about the poor courses compared to our recent experiences and his experience in two of the courses in biogeography I had taught elsewhere.

In the mid-1980's I was running my business in SB and Ventura Counties and teaching part-time at a city college and also adult ed. I quit in the latter 1980's because the new standard was a teaching certificate, not expertise in a specialty. I had already taught in the post HS level for 9 years on two continents and wasn't going to return to school for a teaching degree.

Come mid 1990's, I got special permission to enroll in a couple of CC courses, horticulture and soils. The horticulture course had little class time and lots of "lab" time, meaning much weeding in the CC landscapes. The soil course was so bad that I walked out. The woman teaching the class had no former instruction nor bothered to prepare. This was a required course for an AA decree in Horticulture (and now called Environmental Science.)

I have a good friend who has taught ESL at the same CC for 15 years. His students complain about the quality of other courses and the rising costs per unit to continue.

Edifice Complex hits the proper note; lot easier to raise donations for "naming opportunities" for new facilities than to raise money for quality instruction.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:39PM
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david52 Zone 6

Our local community college..... Ah, the memories......

My oldest daughter, then a senior in high school, took an "advanced placement" English composition course, the purpose of which was to learn to write a research paper. The fool that taught it refused to teach the current MLA standard, sticking with the good old 'ibid' and 'op. cit' with footnotes at the bottom of every page. I haven't seen a paper like that for 50 years. Daughter is there with a word processor using some program like 'end note' wondering what century she suddenly showed up in.

To teach there, you need a Masters Degree. Doesn't matter if its in the subject you teach - I was going to teach French with an MS in biology. The pay? $100 per student per semester. So five kids enrolled to learn conversational French, but one dropped out, putting it below the minimum, so they dropped the course.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 10:10PM
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"The fool that taught it refused to teach the current MLA standard, sticking with the good old 'ibid' and 'op. cit' with footnotes at the bottom of every page."

Different disciplines have different formats for research papers.
What was her research paper about?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:53AM
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david52 Zone 6

Nik, she did her research paper on the harmful effects of ground-level ozone. Later in college and grad school, including her thesis, she's never used this sort of foot-noting - her thesis was done with 'in text' footnotes. No scientific papers or journals or research use much more than numbered references.

Today, I'd think it much more appropriate to teach students how to use computer programs like 'endnote' , because thats what they'll use in their future jobs.

And given that there has been a quantum shift from printed books/magazines over to web-based resourcing, how best to verify the quality of the information you're using. Wikipedia isn't the best. And there are tons of circular referencing going on - people quoting each other as authorities when none of them are.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 2:17PM
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David, What was the name of the style she was taught to use?

I'm guessing she probably already knew MLA by the time she was a senior in high school, and that learning another style will serve her well before she is finished with grad school. What is her major?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 4:07PM
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david52 Zone 6

Nik, the point is that the archaic style they taught in community college was, is, and will be worthless.

She's graduating next month with a MS in hazard planning focusing on costal areas. The combination of storms, floods, sea rise, sewers, elevations, wind, etc etc to better estimate what does/don't get flooded, and how to mitigate the risks. Like Hurricane Sandy.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:10PM
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What a great major! I wish your daughter the best of luck, david. She should do really well in her field since hazard planners will be very much in demand as the climate continues to change.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Edifice complex comes from the book "the Peter Principle"
which is...
"Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence."

this is based on the idea that if you do a good job you get promoted until you dont do a good job and there you stay at your level of incompetnece-when you reach that level you can either allow your co-workers who have not hit their level of incompetence do your job, you can do the last job you had instead of letting the replacement do it(we have all met that person) or you can cover by doing something like building stuff-College presidents are prone to the 'edifice complex' because it gives the illusion that they are efficiently doing their job. When I was in college I had just such a University president-for instance certain fields in the doctoral programs were in danger of being removed from the programs due to a lack of research material in the library-he had a whole new library built but spent not one dime on books or anything else.

I took some bookkeeping and payroll and never got near a computer but who on earth does that sort of thing on paper? I was considering starting a business. I had wasted my money-I could have bought a copy of Quicken much cheaper and learned to use it. The propagation class was so sad-I already knew more about tissue layers than the teacher and students came into the class not knowing plant parts and left in the same condition.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:58PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Higher educations has created its own economic bubble driven towards overbuilding and supported by rapidly rising costs to students burdened in the end with massive debts. This is not sustainable, as described by Robert Kuttner, co-founder and editor of the American Prospect mag.

Here is a link that might be useful: Higher education bubble

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 1:51AM
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"Nik, the point is that the archaic style they taught in community college was, is, and will be worthless."

David, I understand that's the point you're trying to make. But you have yet to name this "archaic" and "worthless" style. I would like to investigate further and see if I can figure out why that particular style was taught in a class that was, nevertheless, approved for advanced placement. You say the instructor "refused" to teach MLA. I'm guessing MLA was not the preferred style because of the subject matter...not because the instructor didn't want to teach it. What style was taught in that class?

By the of luck to your hard working daughter. You must be so proud of her! And she certainly has a right to be proud of herself for all that she has accomplished. Hope she finds her dream job and enjoys the career she worked so hard to prepare for.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:18AM
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david52 Zone 6

Ibid and op.cit. are no longer used in MLA, which is what she was supposed to be teaching.

The teacher insisted that students use this form of footnoting. Even though it is no longer used. So, dozens of hours spent manually typing a line across the bottom of a page, then carefully ibid and op. cit. -ing a dozen references per page, and if you have to add or subtract a reference, or your text shifts over to the next page, then manually changing all the numeration on that page and maybe the next, let alone headed over to the bibliography where every two line entry has to have the second line indented precisely 5 spaces. This a useless skill in today's world - like insisting that college students write perfect cursive.

Word processing technology and software programs do foot noting for you, automatically setting up the bibliography. So it would make more sense to teach students how to use these tools, not teach them how to manually replicate what the tool does automatically.

In actual practice, referencing is done either 'in text' or just numerated for the bibliography.

Today, most of the information sources are online journals, articles, news reports, etc. Its a flood. There is a major issue in determining what is valid info and what isn't.

So, when my kids went to a regular 4 year university, the initial language and research writing courses were primarily about clear and concise language, secondly about finding good sources and how to identify garbage, then how to use the word processing and foot note / bibliography programs.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:41AM
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