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Hillary Backs Obama’s Community College Scheme
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  • Scott Morgan

    Can you provide the source for the statement that US elementary schools don’t bring “80 percent of young kids to functional literacy”?

    • MartyH

      Per this article in the HuffPo, 19% of US high school graduates can’t read:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html

      They cite the US Dept of Education as the original source. The article is from last December, but I can’t quickly find the primary data.

      • Scott Morgan

        Thanks for the link. That’s interesting but saying 19% of high school graduates can’t read does not translate into 80% of elementary “graduates” not at “functional literacy.”

        • MartyH

          In 2013, the NCES evaluated almost 200,000 fourth graders and rated 42% as proficient or better in math, and 35% as proficient or better in reading. Almost one third had “below basic” reading skills.

          80% of elementary students functioning at grade level is probably wildly optimistic.

          (link added) http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/publications/main2013/pdf/2014451.pdf

          • Scott Morgan

            Thanks again. Grade level is not equivalent to functional literacy. However, I think I may be one of the functionally illiterate. I took the sentence “has not built an elementary school system that gets even 80 percent of young kids to functional literacy” as meaning only 20% or so were functional literates. The word “even” changes it to what you took it to mean and is likely what the author meant. I think there is a cleaner way to write that but then again there is probably a “cleaner” way for me to read. Thanks for walking me through it.

    • Kevin

      I think you and the other commenters have a different conception of the minimum requirements for functional literacy. The definitions I’ve seen stress the ability to read and write well enough to accomplish basic tasks necessary for being a contributing member of society in one’s environment including those necessary for gainful employment. I’m pretty sure more than 20% of six graders lack strong enough reading scores to be employable in today’s labor market at rates that would pay their own way. If your reading and writing skills are so low as to prevent you acquiring a job where you do not depend on government benefits then you are functionally illiterate.

      Functional literacy is actually a very high bar to clear, not a low one.

  • Boritz

    “That plan allows part-time and full-time students who maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 …”

    Ok as long as students don’t put teachers in an awkward position by pleading that they will lose their funding if the teacher doesn’t give them a break on their grade.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Of course not….that would NEVER happen
      Happens all the time at the university level, you can bet upon it happening here too. And their PARENTS….

  • jeburke

    Besides all that, for nearly all students who cannot afford community college, it’s already free because Pell Grants cover the fairly modest cost of these institutions. The Obama scheme would benefit those able to afford at least part of the cost. One obvious result would be students who otherwise would matriculate at four year colleges enrolling at community colleges for their first two years and then transferring.

    • Anthony

      Sounds good to me. Most of the courses students take in the first two
      years are just general requirements, and should be taken at a cheaper
      community college. Also, some community colleges have honors programs
      (and those that don’t have them should have them) if students are
      worried about quality. From the standpoint of taxpayers, even free
      community college is better than sending kids to a four year school for
      the full four years, since community colleges have much less overhead.

  • Frank Natoli

    “make the first two years of community college free”

    Nothing is free. The question is who pays for it. In this case, there will be three classes of players, the students, the teachers and administrative staff and the taxpayers. Formerly, payment went from students to teachers and administrative staff. Democrats wish to require payment from taxpayers, who get nothing in the deal, to teachers and administrative staff, who collect in all cases.

    “regulators encouraged bankers to stretch a point to make a loan”

    Right. Just like when the Mob visits a shop and says “nice business you got there, pity if there was a fire or something”.

  • Andrew Allison

    So over half of community college students require remedial classes and 80% of them don’t complete the remedial coursework. Doesn’t this suggest that roughly half of community college students shouldn’t be? Enrolling ever-more destined to fail students in community colleges is not the answer. The problem is not accessibility but, as the authors of the post point out, elementary and secondary education.

    • f1b0nacc1

      The real problem is the cargo cult that has grown up around higher education. Until we dispel that myth, nothing is going to work…

      • Andrew Allison

        Did you mean that students thinking that obtaining a (worthless) college degree will provide them with a good job is a cargo cult? If so, I agree. My point, however, was that it’s primary and secondary, not higher, education that’s the problem, and increasing college admissions won’t solve it.
        There’s a different issue which, IMNHO, is not receiving nearly enough attention, namely the impact of failing to obtain a degree on people who have been convinced that it’s a requirement to succeed in life.

        • f1b0nacc1

          The problem isn’t with the students (worthless drones, most of them…the ones who aren’t haven’t been fooled in the first place), but their parents. The parents are the ones who pay for this silliness, and who vote for politicians who support it, AND (quite importantly) starve primary and secondary education to support the farce that is modern higher ed.
          We agree on much of what needs to be done, but as long as the parents of these drones believe that by given their darling snowflakes a new certificate that they will somehow magically be educated (as opposed to credentialed), none of this will improve.

          • Andrew Allison

            Do you think that the parents and their offspring care about getting an education, as opposed to participating in the cargo cult of getting a degree?
            On the subject of funding primary and secondary education, it seems to me that it’s what we’re getting for the money (incompetent teachers and ridiculous administrative overhead) rather than its amount.
            We have drifted a bit from the proposition that we should not make community colleges an even greater misuse of resources than they already are by making them free. As an aside, a 2.5 GPA seems like a very low bar.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Most of the parents that I have had contact with are interested in their spawn becoming successful, by which I mean well-compensated professionals. As for actually learning anything, they would happily accept them becoming EVEN STUPIDER (if such a thing was possible) in exchange for them getting a really great job at a Fortune 500. Education is a ‘nice to have’ side effect to them, and most of them are even willing to admit that. A college degree these days is simply seen as a ticket to be punched to join the middle class, and it is less and less useful in even that limited role….
            Once again, we largely agree about the problems with funding education. I would point out that deregulating it (i.e. slashing most of the thicket of regulations and mandates associated with education) would go a long way toward improving the situation. Many (not all, by any means) of the plague of deanlets that you see on university campuses, for instance, are the result of scourges like Title IX and the diversity nonsense, though of course a big chunk are also the result of bureaucratic empire-building. A 50% cut in administrative overhead (followed by a hard freeze, no adjustment for inflation) for at least 5 years would be a good way to begin the necessary reductions. Getting rid of teachers unions (and tenure) would be a huge help as well, along with a complete elimination of the licensing requirements for teachers (and end to Ed-schools would be a huge help here) and their replacement with some basic standards that reflect common sense rather than credentials.
            As far as the GPA issue, anyone in today’s academic environment that cannot get a 3.0 or better isn’t qualified as an organ-donor, much less a college student. That would be a bare minimum, though I stick to my original point that all this will do is encourage even more rampant grade inflation.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Society will work much, much better if we just sell our under-achieving young people handguns instead of “discount knowledge at the junior college, no?

    • Josephbleau

      I think that is a false dichotomy, whether or not a young person purchases a hand gun is not exclusionary for going to a 2 year College.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Over time I’ve noticed that a lot of comment writers here are cynical.
        Soooo, I thought I’d join the party.

        False dichotomy or not, one of our political parties praises guns and knocks heavy support of community colleges at the same time. I thought it would be okay to put those two in a sentence. Why is that not okay?

        • Josephbleau

          Because in the City of Chicago the ones who value and praise the discharge of firearms in the neighborhoods vote Democrat or at least 95% for the Obama/Durbin ticket. This demographic does not value the Chicago Community College System.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Good golly. The inner-city ghetto dwellers value guns over community college support? They could all just move to small towns in red states and everyone would be in happy political agreement, right?

          • Josephbleau

            By their Hypotheses shall you know them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’ve thought that about conservatives, too, but we neither one should be playing around with word substitutions in supposed quotations, especially from the Bible.

    • JR

      America is widely accepted as the most heavily armed country (Swiss may be more, but not sure) in the world it terms of its citizenry. I can find a link but whatever. According to United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, America ranks 111th country in the world by homicide rate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate. A lot of people believe that armed citizenry is the best protection against an overly dictatorial state. Such Republicans like Hitler and Stalin certainly thought so, as have many other dictators. So do a lot of people who given a question asked in “Guns of Brixton” by those radical Koch Brother supporters the Clash choose the “trigger of your gun” option. Those in power want to remain in power and disarming all potential challengers is a good first step. As for the community colleges aspect of it, it all depends on what your definition of success is. From an educational standpoint, the problem is not that community colleges are too expensive, but that we have a system where 99% of teachers are great and yet it keeps producing, to borrow your phrase, under-achieving young people. How this particular boondoggle helps that remains a bit of the mystery to me.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You might be surprised to know that I don’t want you to give up your guns, if you have any. I don’t want to give up mine. I still have the .22 semi-automatic rifle my brother and I bought together when we were 18 and 20 years old. He passed away 15 years ago and I still keep the gun in the original Winchester cardboard box we bought it in as a reminder of our times together. I have the old bullets, too. I suspect to pass away without either the gun or the bullets ever being pointed at anyone or any living thing.

        But I’m having trouble with a party which is glorifying gun-carry while telling young people they are too stupid, too lazy, too un-focused, too unworthy, too expensive, or too something else to bother educating—-or that their teachers are no good. If you keep telling the lower end these things, they will eventually believe you—–while reproducing.

        • JR

          I’m sure you, as an individual, do not want to take away my two pistols. But to borrow once again from one of the few liberals I can talk to, one political party in this country seems to think that a peaceful, armed citizenry is somehow something to be feared and demonized. That has some very troubling historical connotations, all the way back to the Middle Ages when nobles thought that peasants should not be allowed to have means of defending themselves, because pillaging people who are defenseless is just way easier.
          As for your second assertion, I’m sorry, but I don’t see it. Are you seriously contending that our society doesn’t spend enough resources telling our youngsters that they are a beautiful unique snowflake whose every hiccup, intellectual or otherwise, is a monumental occasion. A lot of analysts made a point that dismal results of a lot of community colleges have a lot to do with the lack of knowledge of their students, not with the cost of the college itself. WE are not telling it to them, THEY are telling it to us by their dropout rates. A lot of these students come from primary and secondary schools that are failure factories, with the incumbent teacher unions are resistant to any change despite decades of evidence that change is needed. We are now starting to see that being challenged, via charter schools and lawsuits, like the one in CA challenging teacher seniority rules.
          And to call any proposal whose cost estimates are in tens of millions of dollars initially (wanna bet that number will be higher) as “free” and ignoring the people from whom this money will be taken, (like what Obama does) is just intellectually dishonest.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Research has shown that each new generation is 6 IQ points smarter than the previous generation. Given that fact, the public school system’s stagnate education rates look even worse than they are, and are actually in decline. The problem as I see it, is that the Government Monopoly and the Teachers labor gang Monopoly have combined to make a decaying and corrupt system. It’s the “Feedback of Competition” that forces continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price in free markets. This is why so many parents want a voucher system, to add some competition into the moribund education monopoly. So of course the Teachers and the Leftists they support hate the idea of any competition which would conclusively demonstrate just how corrupt and incompetent they are.

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