COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT
The Department of Education says that the college educational system needs a shake-up. This is not new at all. It has needed it for at least a decade. This draft even blasts the high school educational system as well. Even the PBS documentary Declining by Degrees shows how colleges must change in order for them to work.
The report says that a troubling number of students have to take remedial classes in math and/or English. I have seen those stats only go up over time. This is causing students to not graduate on time or even graduate at all. If the high school educational system is not going to step up to the plate, the college educational system is only going to suffer.
The draft says that rising college costs and a crappy financial aid system leaves some students at times with a dubious quality when it comes to having a quality college education. I will say this is true as well, but sometimes the colleges are at fault. The National Center for Teacher Quality blasted teacher colleges on the out of date curriculum they used to train students on reading skills.
They say students enter the workforce without the skills needed for employers. Employers say they want better writing skills, problem solving, and critical thinking skills out of the workers that they hire. That is a good thing, but how many workers lack skills such as showing up on time, getting work done on time, getting along with other employees, etc…. Is that problem even bigger than problem solving skills???
The draft says that only 22% of low-income, but college-qualified do not attend college. That is way to many students that could be going to college. They also say that 9.7% of young people in the bottom socioeconomic quartile will graduate from college. This is sad and certainly shows that cost and remedial classes as killers for this group of people.
I agree with the report that colleges are not curbing costs. Even salaries at the top at some of these colleges are way to high. I have seen some college that think they must have everything under the sun in order to attract a student and that only drives up cost for you the student.
I do think that financial aid programs are confusing like the report says. I will also say that seventeen different programs are way to many to have as well. Over time these financial aid programs give only a smaller and smaller percentage of the college tuition bill. The Pell Grant used to give 95% of college tuition, now you are lucky if it gives you 50%.
They say that the FAFSA, is longer and more complicated than the federal tax return. The federal tax code is bad enough; we certainly do not need something worse. A complete overhaul like they want is going to have to take place.
They do talk briefly on college grade inflation and I do feel that if you got an F in a class you do not deserve to get a passing grade.
They say a high school degree means they are college or workforce ready. Without a proper curriculum for a high school student this is not going to happen, The No Child Left Behind bill will not fix that part of the educational system.
The report says schools should have better standards for credit transfers. I agree here.
I am not so sure under our current economic model that colleges can exist if they can only raise tuition no higher than family incomes. Getting college costs down big time is vital for our economy to survive though.
They say that early college high schools have considerable cost reduction potential. My whole high school curriculum idea is based around this idea and I 100% know it is going to work in the long run.
In conclusion I do hope that by the time the final version of this report comes out that a new bill is introduced that fixes the college educational system the right way. A bill that cuts the costs of going to college big time and certainly works better than the NCLB bill has.
To comment on my commentary: RichardGinn@myeducationalplan.com
Depart of Education draft report link:
Walsh, Kate , Deborah Glaser and Danielle Dunne
Wilcox " What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching
about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning"
National Center for Teacher Quaility (2006) n. pag. Online.
Internet. May 2006
Declining By Degree Commentary website: http://www.decliningbydegrees.org/