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robertogreco : communitycolleges   18

Opinion | Can Californians Still Find a Path to Mobility at the State’s Universities? - The New York Times
"As a counter to staggering inequality, the system needs to be more open to the people who actually live in the Golden State."



"Joan Didion described her alma mater, the University of California, as “California’s highest, most articulate idea of itself, the most coherent — perhaps the only coherent — expression of the California possibility.”

That ethos has endured. The University of California has prevailed as both symbol and engine of opportunity, true to the spirit of the state’s founding constitution, which endorsed an accessible, independent institution of higher learning. From admitting women in 1870 to establishing the nation’s first multi-campus research university, and from its string of world-changing scientific breakthroughs to its embrace of undocumented immigrants, the University of California has reflected and nurtured the state’s core values.

The university plays a critical role at a time when the top 1 percent in California draw almost a quarter of the total income while six in 10 children are covered by Medi-Cal. But to be most effective as a force to counter the staggering inequality, the university needs to reshape campuses so they not only look more like California but also again offer what Carol T. Christ, the chancellor of Berkeley, calls “equity of experience” — equal access to science and technology majors, research opportunities, campus life and study abroad.

Berkeley is one of the university’s nine undergraduate campuses, the top tier of a remarkable tripartite public system that educates a majority of California students. The undergraduate universities consistently rank as the most effective schools in the country as drivers of upward economic mobility. More than 40 percent of their undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college. More than half come from families with annual incomes of less than $80,000 and pay no tuition. Berkeley, which enrolls a smaller share of lower-income Pell grant recipients than any other campus, still educates the lower-income students at almost twice the rate of Ivy League schools — and Pell grant recipients graduate at roughly the same high rates as their wealthier classmates.

What has fractured since Ms. Didion graduated in 1956 is the cohesive community, the assumption of shared experience that bound so many generations of alumni, particularly at Berkeley, the university’s flagship and still its best-known brand. Today, Berkeley has cleaved into disparate worlds divided by class, race and major. In its stratification and struggles, it mirrors a complex nation-state with deep divisions and extremes.

The symbiotic relationship between school and state means that Ms. Christ and her counterparts grapple with the consequences of some of California’s most intractable conditions: a housing crisis that forces many students to commute for hours because they cannot afford to live anywhere near the Bay Area; a poverty rate that means some students skip meals and others send financial aid money home; a volatile state budget dependent on the superwealthy and prone to boom-and-bust cycles; and decades of underfunded primary and secondary public schools that strain to educate a diverse student body.

Although Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the state and a majority of the school-age children, they remain underrepresented across the university system, most of all at Berkeley. Only 5 percent of the Berkeley faculty members are Latino. Latino student enrollment has increased to about 14 percent, still far short of reflecting California over all.

Berkeley, the original campus (hence its nickname, Cal), was central to the agreement that shaped California’s system of higher education. The 1960 master plan established jurisdictions for the University of California (which retained its exclusive right to offer graduate programs), California State University and the community colleges. The master plan guaranteed admission to the four-year schools for top high school seniors and envisioned community colleges as feeders for other students. An era of expansion ensued to meet record demand as California passed New York to become the most populous state.

Then came more complicated decades: the Free Speech Movement, which helped propel Ronald Reagan to the governorship; Proposition 13, which slashed state revenues; Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action; and multiple recessions. During the worst years of the Great Recession, the University of California lost a third of its state support, and tuition, once free, rose to $12,000 from about $8,000 per year, for the first time surpassing state aid in total revenue.

For first-generation students, financial obstacles are only the start, especially at Berkeley, where faculty members have long valued research above teaching and the school has reveled in its sink-or-swim culture. Alejandra Tapia, who graduated in the class of 2019 with a major in molecular and cell biology, is both a success story and a cautionary tale. Raised by a single mother who worked in the fields, Ms. Tapia decided to become a doctor after her mother suffered a stroke. She attended four high schools, all in farmworker communities.

Through grit and intelligence, she won a full scholarship to Berkeley. Many days, she wondered if she had made the right choice. She had expected the intellectual challenges; she did not expect to navigate alien academic and social worlds with no support. Often the only Latina in her labs, she juggled pre-med classes, 15 hours a week of work and worries about her family. She came close to leaving. “It has made me better and stronger than what I thought I could ever be,” she said, triumphant that she had persevered. Thinking about the hardships, she began to cry.

The culture of intellectual Darwinism undermines the goal of equity in an era when so many students arrive without the cultural or financial resources once taken for granted. What is needed is more than just an update to the master plan, still the governing covenant. California needs a master plan for equity, a goal that would take a combination of vision, political will and acumen.

“The Master Plan was designed to provide a broadly traditional education to a broadly traditional student body,” the chancellors of the university and the community college system wrote last year in an agreement to formalize paths among the systems. “What is missing is a systemic reimagination of the ends of education in light of 21st-century conditions.”

The unbridled optimism and growth of the 1950s and early ’60s had downsides but nurtured a system that grew based on ideas, with confidence that resources would follow. Decisions now are too often made the other way around. Out-of-state students pay three times as much in tuition as residents; since the financial crises, their numbers soared to 18 percent of the enrollment.

There are signs of progress. One of every three new students at Berkeley is a junior transfer from a community college. They are more likely to be Latino, first generation, from lower-income families and more likely to concentrate in humanities because they lack the prerequisites for science and technology majors. Transfer students will be key for Chancellor Christ to fulfill her goal to make Berkeley a “Hispanic-Serving Institution,” a designation already achieved by six of the university campuses, which requires that a quarter of the students be Latino.

“The University and the State of California are inseparable,” Ansel Adams wrote in the late 1960s, after he had photographed every aspect of the university for its centennial celebration. “The challenge to the University of California today is nothing less than to help bring forth the civilization of the future.” Fifty years later, the future looks very different, but the challenge of its mission remains."
miriampawel  2019  universityofcalifornia  california  communitycolleges  colleges  universities  highered  highereducation  socialmobility  joandidion  access  inequality  funding  tuition  anseladams  society  masterplan  uc 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Middle-Class Families Increasingly Look to Community Colleges - The New York Times
"With college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more middle-class families are looking for ways to spend less for quality education."
communitycolleges  education  highereducation  srg  edg  2018 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Revised Data Shows Community Colleges Have Been Underappreciated - The New York Times
"In other words, Mr. Gunderson had it backward. The new measures suggest that community colleges are much more successful than for-profit colleges, not much less. They are also far cheaper and leave the average student with much less debt."

[via: http://2017trends.hackeducation.com/2017/12/16/more-for-profits ]
communitycolleges  highered  highereducation  2017  education  colleges  universities  kevincarey  forprofit 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Study finds former for-profit students go to two-year colleges
"A new paper finds students don’t leave postsecondary education when the for-profit institution they attend is sanctioned by federal agencies. They move into the public sector."

[via: http://2017trends.hackeducation.com/2017/12/16/more-for-profits ]
communitycolleges  2017  highered  highereducation  colleges  universities  education  forprofit 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Data on Community College Grads Who Earn Graduate Degrees
"The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center this week released new data on the numbers of graduate and professional degree earners who first began their postsecondary studies at a community college."

Roughly one-in-five master's degree earns, 11 percent who earned doctoral degrees and 13 percent of professional degree earners originally began at a two-year college, found the center, which tracks the progress of almost all U.S. college students.

“Community college is typically viewed as a portal to the baccalaureate degree, but this study shows that it also helps many individuals access the lifelong employment benefits associated with a master’s or doctorate,” Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, said in a written statement. “I hope this study will inspire new strategies for helping community college students chart a path to graduate school.”

[via: http://2017trends.hackeducation.com/2017/12/16/more-for-profits ]
communitycolleges  data  2017  colleges  universities  highered  highereducation  gradschool  graduateschool  education 
january 2018 by robertogreco
College For All Act in California
"The College for all Act dedicates more than $3 billion exclusively to student aid by taxing the inheritances of the wealthiest 0.2% of California’s families. It would cover undergraduate tuition for all Californians enrolled in the California Community College, California State University, and University of California systems while also increasing living expense aid for working class students.

Will we prioritize the education of 2,600,000 Californians enrolled in our public colleges or the inheritances of the wealthiest 3,000 families!

Will we continue to provide luxury yachts for the few, or will we provide College for All!"
uc  universityofcalifornia  california  highered  highereducation  education  communitycolleges  calstate  csu  californiastateuniversity 
october 2017 by robertogreco
[Essay] | The Neoliberal Arts, by William Deresiewicz | Harper's Magazine
"I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

A spatial structure, the sentence also suggests a temporal sequence. Thinking clearly, it wants us to recognize, leads to thinking independently. Thinking independently leads to living confidently. Living confidently leads to living courageously. Living courageously leads to living hopefully. And the entire chain begins with a college that recognizes it has an obligation to its students, an obligation to develop their abilities to think and live.

Finally, the sentence is attributed to an individual. It expresses her convictions and ideals. It announces that she is prepared to hold herself accountable for certain responsibilities.

The second text is not a sentence. It is four words floating in space, unconnected to one another or to any other concept. Four words — four slogans, really — whose meaning and function are left undefined, open to whatever interpretation the reader cares to project on them.

Four words, three of which — “leadership,” “service,” and “creativity” — are the loudest buzzwords in contemporary higher education. (“Integrity” is presumably intended as a synonym for the more familiar “character,” which for colleges at this point means nothing more than not cheating.) The text is not the statement of an individual; it is the emanation of a bureaucracy. In this case, a literally anonymous bureaucracy: no one could tell me when this version of the institution’s mission statement was formulated, or by whom. No one could even tell me who had decided to hang those banners all over campus. The sentence from the founder has also long been mounted on the college walls. The other words had just appeared, as if enunciated by the zeitgeist.

But the most important thing to note about the second text is what it doesn’t talk about: thinking or learning. In what it both does and doesn’t say, it therefore constitutes an apt reflection of the current state of higher education. College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.

This is education in the age of neoliberalism. Call it Reaganism or Thatcherism, economism or market fundamentalism, neoliberalism is an ideology that reduces all values to money values. The worth of a thing is the price of the thing. The worth of a person is the wealth of the person. Neoliberalism tells you that you are valuable exclusively in terms of your activity in the marketplace — in Wordsworth’s phrase, your getting and spending.

The purpose of education in a neoliberal age is to produce producers. I published a book last year that said that, by and large, elite American universities no longer provide their students with a real education, one that addresses them as complete human beings rather than as future specialists — that enables them, as I put it, to build a self or (following Keats) to become a soul. Of all the responses the book aroused, the most dismaying was this: that so many individuals associated with those institutions said not, “Of course we provide our students with a real education,” but rather, “What is this ‘real education’ nonsense, anyway?”"



"So what’s so bad about leadership, service, and creativity? What’s bad about them is that, as they’re understood on campus and beyond, they are all encased in neoliberal assumptions. Neoliberalism, which dovetails perfectly with meritocracy, has generated a caste system: “winners and losers,” “makers and takers,” “the best and the brightest,” the whole gospel of Ayn Rand and her Übermenschen. That’s what “leadership” is finally about. There are leaders, and then there is everyone else: the led, presumably — the followers, the little people. Leaders get things done; leaders take command. When colleges promise to make their students leaders, they’re telling them they’re going to be in charge.

“Service” is what the winners engage in when they find themselves in a benevolent mood. Call it Clintonism, by analogy with Reaganism. Bill Clinton not only ratified the neoliberal consensus as president, he has extended its logic as a former president. Reaganism means the affluent have all the money, as well as all the power. Clintonism means they use their money and power, or a bit of it, to help the less fortunate — because the less fortunate (i.e., the losers) can’t help themselves. Hence the Clinton Foundation, hence every philanthropic or altruistic endeavor on the part of highly privileged, highly credentialed, highly resourced elites, including all those nonprofits or socially conscious for-profits that college students start or dream of starting.

“Creativity,” meanwhile, is basically a business concept, aligned with the other clichés that have come to us from the management schools by way of Silicon Valley: “disruption,” “innovation,” “transformation.” “Creativity” is not about becoming an artist. No one wants you to become an artist. It’s about devising “innovative” products, services, and techniques — “solutions,” which imply that you already know the problem. “Creativity” means design thinking, in the terms articulated by the writer Amy Whitaker, not art thinking: getting from A to a predetermined B, not engaging in an open-ended exploratory process in the course of which you discover the B.

Leadership, service, and creativity do not seek fundamental change (remember, fundamental change is out in neoliberalism); they seek technological or technocratic change within a static social framework, within a market framework. Which is really too bad, because the biggest challenges we face — climate change, resource depletion, the disappearance of work in the face of automation — will require nothing less than fundamental change, a new organization of society. If there was ever a time that we needed young people to imagine a different world, that time is now.

We have always been, in the United States, what Lionel Trilling called a business civilization. But we have also always had a range of counterbalancing institutions, countercultural institutions, to advance a different set of values: the churches, the arts, the democratic tradition itself. When the pendulum has swung too far in one direction (and it’s always the same direction), new institutions or movements have emerged, or old ones have renewed their mission. Education in general, and higher education in particular, has always been one of those institutions. But now the market has become so powerful that it’s swallowing the very things that are supposed to keep it in check. Artists are becoming “creatives.” Journalism has become “the media.” Government is bought and paid for. The prosperity gospel has arisen as one of the most prominent movements in American Christianity. And colleges and universities are acting like businesses, and in the service of businesses.

What is to be done? Those very same WASP aristocrats — enough of them, at least, including several presidents of Harvard and Yale — when facing the failure of their own class in the form of the Great Depression, succeeded in superseding themselves and creating a new system, the meritocracy we live with now. But I’m not sure we possess the moral resources to do the same. The WASPs had been taught that leadership meant putting the collective good ahead of your own. But meritocracy means looking out for number one, and neoliberalism doesn’t believe in the collective. As Margaret Thatcher famously said about society, “There’s no such thing. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” As for elite university presidents, they are little more these days than lackeys of the plutocracy, with all the moral stature of the butler in a country house.

Neoliberalism disarms us in another sense as well. For all its rhetoric of freedom and individual initiative, the culture of the market is exceptionally good at inculcating a sense of helplessness. So much of the language around college today, and so much of the negative response to my suggestion that students ought to worry less about pursuing wealth and more about constructing a sense of purpose for themselves, presumes that young people are the passive objects of economic forces. That they have no agency, no options. That they have to do what the market tells them. A Princeton student literally made this argument to me: If the market is incentivizing me to go to Wall Street, he said, then who am I to argue?

I have also had the pleasure, over the past year, of hearing from a lot of people who are pushing back against the dictates of neoliberal education: starting high schools, starting colleges, creating alternatives to high school and college, making documentaries, launching nonprofits, parenting in different ways, conducting their lives in different ways. I welcome these efforts, but none of them address the fundamental problem, which is that we no longer believe in public solutions. We only … [more]
williamderesiewicz  education  highereducation  neoliberalism  capitalism  learning  purpose  stevenpinker  2015  individualism  economics  leadership  missionstatements  courage  confidence  hope  criticalthinking  independence  autonomy  liberalarts  wealth  inequality  citizenship  civics  society  highered  publicpurpose  business  ronaldreagan  billclinton  margaretthatcher  government  media  lioneltrilling  socialgood  creativity  innovation  amywhitaker  service  servicelearning  change  fundamentalchange  systemsthinking  us  civilization  transformation  money  power  aynrand  meritocracy  plutocracy  college  colleges  universities  schools  markets  wallstreet  helplessness  elitism  berniesanders  communitycolleges  aristocracy  reaganism  clintonism  politics  entrepreneurship  volunteerism  rickscott  corporatization  modernity  joshuarothman  greatbooks  1960s  stem  steam  commercialization  davidbrooks 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST)
"Washington’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST) is a nationally recognized model that quickly boosts students’ literacy and work skills so that students can earn credentials, get living wage jobs, and put their talents to work for employers.

I-BEST pairs two instructors in the classroom – one to teach professional/technical or academic content and the other to teach basic skills in reading, math, writing or English language – so students can move through school and into jobs faster. As students progress through the program, they learn basic skills in real-world scenarios offered by the college and career part of the curriculum.

I-BEST challenges the traditional notion that students must complete all basic education before they can even start on a college or career pathway. This approach often discourages students because it takes more time, and the stand-alone basic skills classes do not qualify for college credit. I-BEST students start earning college credits immediately."

[via: http://www.vox.com/2015/3/25/8288495/finland-education-subjects ]
washingtonstate  communitycolleges  education  interdisciplinary  skills  juniorcolleges  i-best  literacy 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Great Escape: How to tunnel your way out of HS and into college | : the readiness is all
"High school can be a prison-of-war like experience for many.You’re stuck in it for a specific time, you don’t get to choose your prison camp leaders (teachers), you don’t get to choose your fellow prison campers etc…

but what can make high school the most prison-like, is this constant push for college readiness. When you make school about what you need to get ready for you do the following:

• You make kids feel that nothing special or important happens until AFTER they graduate.
• You make teachers feel that the purpose of their classroom is to get students ready for something special that happens later.
• You show kids that the end is more important than the means- Immanuel Kant and others are disappointed in this idea."



"How about making school less like practice for something amazing coming up later and more like a performance, a production, or a game? Kids would go crazy if they practiced for four years on the football field in the hopes of making a college team without ever getting to play in a game. Let’s make school fun and meaningful NOW rather than just an endless series of preparation: preparing for tests, college and careers."



"Every year I spend time at back-to-school and in class talking to parents and students about how to make the most of their high school experience in preparation for what comes next. I’m writing this blog post as a permanent resource for both parents and students to make sure they won’t miss a thing. I will update this blog post as needed to include the information that you need to maximize the pursuit of your goal.

IMPORTANT FACT: “Approximately 58 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2004 completed a bachelor’s degree at that institution within 6 years.” (From The National Center for Educational Statistics)

Some universities have even LOWER graduation rates and obviously some school have higher graduation rates. The trick isn’t to get INTO a college, it’s to ultimately graduate from a college. People drop out of college for many reasons

• Money
• A lack of academic endurance (either on specific tasks, or just getting through four+ years of a task without their parents bugging them every night… PS dear helicopter parents you aren’t teaching your son/daughter this crucial skill by hand-holding your child through high school- I too struggle with letting my son fail and succeed on his own- let’s all work on that together.)
• Picking the wrong college"

PICKING THE RIGHT COLLEGE:

First of all know this- whichever college you choose, even if it’s not your first or second choice will end up making you happy. Don’t believe me? Just watch this TED talk on the surprising happiness of not getting your number one choice fulfilled."

[Dan Gilbert: “The Surprising Science of Happiness”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q1dgn_C0AU ]



"I think many parents pick colleges based on either what schools they went to, what schools they are familiar with, or what schools they hear about. Kids pick their colleges for many reasons, but the number one reason is this: they want a school that is good enough that their parents will let them leave home. Very few of my students want to go to local college and live at home unless money is a MAJOR issue."



"JUNIOR OR TWO YEAR COLLEGE ADVICE:

There is nothing wrong with going to a Junior College before transferring to a four-year school. I did it and it saved me a ton of money and gave me the time and flexibility to find my passion. There are some pros and cons to the experience- I’ll start with the negative first.

CONS:

• If you pick a JC near your home and show up on the first day surrounded by your former HS classmates you will feel like you never left HS. Depending on who you are this can be disappointed at the least.
• JCs do not have the resources that a four-year university has. They don’t have the same libraries, facilities, access to internships, notable researchers etc…
• When you do go to transfer it will take you at least a quarter to get used to your new school. Everyone else in your upper-division classes will know the ins and outs of the school.
• You won’t have as many friends and won’t have the same connection with your classmates who have been there all four years.
• About four weeks into class half of the students will have dropped the class. Student motivation can be low at a JC and that low motivation can be contagious, trust me I know.

PROS:

• Professors who like to TEACH often find a home at a JC- there is no pressure to do research or constantly publish so they can just teach. That is not to say that there are not published teachers at a JC. My photo teacher Professor John Upton at OCC wrote the photography book that every university used in Photo 101 and Professor Dennis Kelley is pretty famous in his own right, heck I took two classes with the amazing Arthur Taussig and spend a summer with him in the photo developing lab hallways watching Akira Kurosawa films on a TV and VCR that he would wheel in on a cart- that was an awesome summer.
• It’s cheaper so there is less pressure when you make a mistake and need to drop a class or change a major.
• You won’t get stuck with a TA/Grad student teaching your class or running the discussion.
• Most JCs have a community college honors program. With just a 3.1 (your mileage may vary depending on the college) High School GPA and a letter of recommendation you can join their honors program. Many honors programs have a pathway to get you right into a competitive four-year university. Take advantage of this.
• How about getting the experience of living away from home WITHOUT the cost of a four-year. I’ve had friends, family, and students move away from home and attend a JC in the city of their future four-year university. What a great experience without the burden of a $10,000+ tuition charge."
2013  davidtheriault  colleges  universities  admissions  highschool  juniorcolleges  communitycolleges  choice  fulfillment  regret  dangilbert  happiness  education  highered  highereducation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Miseducation of America - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it. "Efficiency," "art-history majors," "kids who graduate with $100,000 in debt," "the college bubble," the whole rhetoric of crisis and collapse: The public discourse is dominated by sound bites, one-liners, hearsay, horror stories, and a very great deal of misinformation.

Higher ed is not unique in this respect, of course, but it is particularly bad. College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. Americans, as a result, have very little understanding of what college is about—how it works, what it’s for, what larger social benefits it offers—and those employed in higher education have had very little practice in explaining it to them. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it.

Ivory Tower, for the most part, is an honorable exception."



"Ivory Tower shows us why it’s so important that we get this right: that we think with facts, with respect to college costs and what they get you, not emotions. When we cherry pick the scariest stories and numbers, we do two things: We open the door to hucksters selling easy answers, and we forget what college is really for. Apocalypticism leads to messianism. Close behind the anxious parents whom we see on college tours at Wesleyan and NYU—variously blithe or glum adolescents in tow—come, like vultures to a kill, a pair of now-familiar figures: Peter Thiel and Sebastian Thrun."



"The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.

The film recounts the history and recent fate of that idea: its origin among the philanthropists of the industrial age, figures like Peter Cooper, founder of his eponymous Union; its progressive unfolding through the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the GI Bill of 1944, the postwar expansion of the University of California, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, which created the federal student-loan and grant programs; and its deliberate destruction under Ronald Reagan and his ideological heirs.

Free, high-quality higher education (just like free, high-quality school, which we continue to at least pretend to endorse): that is what we used to believe in; that’s what many other countries still believe in; that is what we must believe in once again. The filmmakers undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they chose to show us the moment, during that seminar at Deep Springs, when the students are debating Hegel’s proposition that, as their professor puts it, "you need to have a common identity as citizens, because it creates the bonds of affection." Or in Delbanco’s words, "What kind of society do we want to be?" Cooper Union’s commencement speaker, that tumultuous spring of 2013, turns out to have been none other than Michael Bloomberg. "The debate you’re having really isn’t about whether education is free," we see him tell the students. "It’s really about who can and who is willing to pay for it."

On this the billionaire and I agree. In terms of the "can" (and it’s hard to believe the word could even pass his lips), the answer is clear. Not just the plutocrats, not just the upper class, but the upper middle class, as well. Everybody knows by now that the share of national income that accrues to the famous one percent has risen to about 23 percent, higher than at almost any time since 1928. But the share that accrues to the top 10 percent as a whole, which stayed around 33 percent from the 1950s through the 1970s, has risen to its highest level ever (or at least, since record-keeping started), more than 50 percent. In a $17-trillion economy, the difference represents a premium of nearly $3-trillion a year, about five times the federal deficit and more than enough for this and many other public purposes.

The problem of costs, to be sure, is not a one-way street. Higher education must indeed increase efficiency, but how? Institutions have been willing to spend on everything in recent years except the thing that matters most: instruction. Dorms, deans, sports, but not professors. Piglike presidential salaries, paid for by hiring adjuncts. Now, with MOOCs and other forms of online instruction, the talk is more of the same. My friends, they are coming for you. The professoriate no longer has the luxury of thinking that all this is someone else’s problem. If you want to save your skins, let alone ensure the future of the enterprise, you need to wake up and organize against the people who are organizing against you. The fact is that by focusing exclusively on monetary issues, the current conversation prevents us not only from remembering the higher objectives of an undergraduate education, but also from recognizing just how bad a job our institutions have been doing at fulfilling them. Colleges and universities have a lot to answer for; if they want to regain the support of the larger society, they need to prove that they are worthy of it.

Ivory Tower ends, in the manner of such films today, by referring us to a website. Under the rubric "Take Action," the site encourages us to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass legislation, of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren (and just blocked by Senate Republicans), allowing individuals to refinance their student loans. That would certainly be a good thing, but we need to set our sights a great deal higher. If service workers can demand a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal level, then those who care about higher education can insist on the elimination of tuition and fees at state institutions and their replacement by public funding furnished by taxes on the upper 10 percent. As with the minimum wage, the campaign can be conducted state by state, and it can and should involve a large coalition of interested groups: students, parents, and instructors, to start with. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities now stands at 20 million, on top of another million-plus on the faculty. That’s a formidable voting bloc, should it learn to exercise its power. Since the Occupy movement in 2011, it’s clear that the fight to reverse the tide of growing inequality has been joined. It’s time we joined it."
2014  williamderesiewicz  highered  highereducation  education  policy  politics  finance  money  studentloands  ivorytower  reform  faculty  solidarity  ows  occupywallstreet  inequality  purpose  canon  funding  publicfunding  mooc  moocs  unions  labor  deepspringscollege  colleges  universities  liberalarts  society  learning  criticalthinking  uncollege  dalestephens  peterthiel  sebastianthrun  peterschiff  efficiency  cooperunion  communitycolleges  debt  studentdebt  employment 
june 2014 by robertogreco
An inconvenient truth about higher ed | Al Jazeera America
"As an answer to higher ed’s crisis, the best “Ivory Tower” has to offer are community colleges, where the name on the credential doesn’t mean much, but students at all stages in their lives can acquire skills using online and classroom resources. This might be the best pure deal on the higher education market, but community colleges are unlikely to unseat four-year institutions in prestige or cultural dominance. Like HBCUs and tuition-free hippie schools, some community colleges are fighting for survival. City College of San Francisco, for example, is clinging to accreditation, disputing charges that it lacks a sufficient number of administrators and a secure financial base. Solutions like education hacking and community colleges also ignore the fact that brand-name diplomas and connections are what schools are selling, at least as much as knowledge. If you had to choose between a college credential and a college education, in this job market you’d be a fool to take the latter.

When it comes to reforming four-year nonprofits, there’s no reason to believe pumping in more state money won’t just exacerbate the current problems, rooted in skyrocketing cost. And since state money is earmarked for particular expenses, schools will still need more no-strings-attached tuition money to service institutional debt. If federal regulators were to require schools to cut costs, we know just how these corporate managers would do it: contracting out whatever good jobs are left and doubling the marketing budget so no one notices."
malcolmharris  education  documentary  ivorytower  2014  highered  highereducation  money  communitycolleges  moocs  mooc  deepspringscollege  peterthiel  arizonastateuniversity 
june 2014 by robertogreco
New Plan Will Let High Schoolers Graduate Early - NYTimes.com
"Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but also subjects like science and history. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore."
highschool  education  us  policy  communitycolleges  admissions  schools  learning  assessment  reform  exams  denmark  english  finland  france  singapore 
february 2010 by robertogreco
News: Catching Up to Canada - Inside Higher Ed
"So what might the United States do to catch up to Canada? Or, as Parkin put it, "We're giving you our pointers so that you can help President Obama meet his goal."
canada  us  education  highereducation  international  competition  enrollment  retention  accessibility  rankings  communitycolleges  oecd  income  competitiveness  graduationrates 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Grant McCracken: Community colleges, another view
"Perhaps as a reply to the TV show that now holds the community college up to ridicule, Kay Ryan, the US poet laureate, has this to say: “I simply want to celebrate the fact that right near your home, year in and year out, a community college is quietly—and with very little financial encouragement—saving lives and minds,” said Ryan. “I can’t think of a more efficient, hopeful or egalitarian machine, with the possible exception of the bicycle.”"
education  kayryan  learning  society  efficiency  perception  juniorcolleges  communitycolleges  egalitarian  bikes  biking  ridicule  universities  funding  culture  priorities 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: I Got My BA In IS From the CC
"Community colleges have long been where the bodies are in higher education, but now it’s ridiculous. The economy’s collapse has sent college students’ enrollments rolling downhill - kids who would have gone to expensive private schools are enrolling in moderately priced public universities, the university kids are going to regional colleges, and the regional students to community colleges. If you want to get more students with college degrees, community colleges are a natural place to start...Think about it. Community college students (and teachers and IT departments) today often aren’t as tech-saavy as their university counterparts, but they can innovate in the use of digital technology. In fact, they have to. They don’t have the same physical plant and infrastructure as larger, more expensive schools. They’re unlikely to have folks on campus doing original research. They’re not mainframes. They’re terminals. But there’s a difference between smart and dumb terminals."
communitycolleges  colleges  universities  education  future  flexibility  lcproject  technology  change  reform  adaptive  adaptability  money  recession  learning  snarkmarket  economics  ccs 
july 2009 by robertogreco

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