Sunday, December 11, 2016

 

Amnesia


How hard is it to get into college?

It depends on what you mean by “college.”  If you mean an accredited institution that grants degrees, community colleges and many public four-year colleges are either open-admission or nearly so.  If you mean one of the elite colleges that occupy most of the brainspace in policy talks, then it’s considerably harder.  

Anthony Carnevale uses the language of “separate and unequal” to describe our system -- hearkening back to the language of segregation -- and he’s substantially correct.  Community colleges enroll far higher percentages of students of color than do the Ivies, but the value of the tax exemptions at the Ivies far outstrips the appropriations we get, especially on a per-student basis.  In between falls the state flagship university, which is whiter than the community colleges and better funded, but more diverse than the Ivies and less well funded.

It’s almost as if there’s a...pattern.

Ivies and flagships get caught up in discussions of affirmative action as a way to diversify their student bodies.  The assumption is that there’s a fixed number of seats, and a seat given to one student is denied to another; allocation is a zero-sum game.  WIthin those fixed numbers, setting a preference for one group -- be they legacies, athletes, racial minorities, or whatever -- means de facto raising the bar for everyone else.  The argument is hard to settle because it’s the wrong argument.

If you accept that only about two dozen colleges and universities are, and ever can be, very good, then the question of seat allocation becomes crucial.  But why accept that premise?

Historians tell us that segregation didn’t fall from the sky.  It was consciously built, and maintained, and adjusted over time.  It still is, though generally not by that name.  It’s built into the environment in ways that seem, in the course of daily life, to be natural, inevitable, and unalterable.  But it’s none of those things.
The late Leonard Cohen sang that “there’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”  We’ve seen cracks in the system from time to time.  The CUNY of the 1930’s and 1940’s gave rise to a generation of intellectuals that far outstripped their Ivied contemporaries in depth and impact.  In the Clark Kerr era, the California system was the envy of the world.  Until very recently, Wisconsin boasted a university that could compete with the best in the country.  

It can be done.  We can reject the logic of lifeboating (or “undermatching,” as the wonks call it), and instead decide to make public colleges and universities at all levels worthy of their students.  If we did, we could dial down the pressure on the elites to solve the social engineering problem on their own.  Frankly, they aren’t up to it.

I used to say that the root of the struggle for community colleges is that they were built to create a middle class for a country that doesn’t want one anymore.  I don’t think that’s quite right.  The country has forgotten that middle classes have to be created and recreated; they aren’t the ‘default’ setting of capitalism.  After decades of economic polarization, you’d think that would be obvious, but the power of amnesia is strong.  Ivies and elites are piling up endowments that would have been considered indecent in earlier times, while community colleges suffer cascading rounds of austerity.  It takes conscious effort to reverse that.

The narrowing of opportunity isn’t only a higher ed problem, of course, but it’s vivid and controllable here.  If the public colleges and universities were as strong for a racially mixed generation now as they were for a much whiter generation thirty or forty years ago, the affirmative action debates wouldn’t matter so much.  It’s a solvable problem.


Check out Carnevale’s piece.  It’s timely, accurate, and vital.  Don’t let amnesia claim it.

Comments:
Great column, both his and yours. I thought the most cogent remark in his column was near the end when he wrote "... or the kinds of resources those [elite private] colleges provide, ..." about the issue of access.

I'm glad to see that you are adjusting your view about whether the country wants a middle class. But the problem of putting money where your mouth is persists. I haven't changed my view that providing actually equal resources for teaching freshman and sophomore classes regardless of "rank" would solve many of those problems at a cost that we once were willing to pay. For us, apart from the need to adjust to enrollment variations from semester to semester, we could go to a nearly full-time faculty made up of outstanding PhD and MS faculty who want to teach. We might be able to get the money if we actually brought health care costs under control.

Regarding the point about quality, a number of my high school friends went to an essentially open admission regional four-year university. Although today it might squeak into the top 500 (I didn't bother to look), back then it was definitely a big step down. Yet they did well (middle class) to very well (upper middle and higher) based on that education. Part of that was that they did have access to good resources, mostly in the form of a teaching faculty. I don't dare look to see if that is still the case!
 
Please don't take this the wrong way, but holy crap dude this is just way more woke than I am used to here.

 
Speaking of resources, there was an article late last week that I fully expected to see in Dean Reed's column to start out the week. Leaving aside the $14,000 gap between the $1000 they will pay and the actual cost at one college in Minnesota, the following description got my attention and, I assume, Dean Reed's as well:

“This is best suited for students right out of high school who have shown some academic progress but haven’t demonstrated their full academic potential,” Sullivan said. “This is a program that is going to be very structured and holistic. There won’t be a lot of choices. They’ll be in classes and stay in the cohort model of learning. Our faculty and full-time mentors and coaches are only there for these students.”

By “structured” Sullivan means that students will attend the college full time, four days a week and take additional first-year college experience courses that focus on study skills, time management, financial literacy, professional development and etiquette.


There is more, but the cohort approach (both students and faculty) and eliminating any uncertainty about what classes to take are interesting moves.

Here is the story link. Check it out.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/12/09/private-universities-branch-associate-degrees
 
هل تعانون من ضيق الوقت و انشغالكم الذى يعيق تنظيفكم لمنازلكم ، وإهدار الكثير من الأموال على المنظفات و أدوات النظافة التي لا تصل للنتائج الجيدة والكاملة للنظافة ، هل بالرغم من حرصكم على سلامة أسرتكم لا تستطيعون توفير بيئة نظيفة صحية ، هل اتساع المكان يمثل عبء عليكم أثناء التنظيف ولا تستطيعون الوصول لكافة أرجاء المنزل ، هل تريدون شركات للتنظيف تثقوا فى خدماتها وأمانة عملها واحترافية ومن أجل حرصنا على نيل ثقتكم الغالية ، وعملنا على إظهار نتائج تامة صحيحة جيدة لنظافة منازلكم فهذا ما تقوم به شركة تنظيف بالجبيل فهي شركة لديها العاملة الكافية لتنظيف اى مكان سواء كان مؤسسة او شركة او فلل كما اننا نقوم ايضا بتنظيف الشقق والمنازل بجميع محتوياتهم من سجاد ومنب ومجالس وميع المفروشات شركة تنظيف ينبع نقوم دائما بكل ما هو مميز فى عالم التنظيف لذلك اصبحنا من افضل الشركات على مستوى المملكة لاننا نستخدم افضل انواع المنظفات التى تحافظ على المفروشات والاثاث شركة تنظيف بالقطيف ولاننا دائما نتميز بكل ما هو جديد فى عالم التنظيف ذلم بفضل اطلاعنا المستمر على احدث الوسائل والطرق المتبعة فى التنظيف
شركة مكافحة حشرات بابها تعرض لكم بالتفصيل ما تستطيع أن تخدمكم به فى القضاء على الحشرات ،أن شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر عندما تتعاملوا معها ستجدون أنكم تتعاملوا مع ذوى الخبرة والتخصص في مجال مكافحة الحشرات .
تستخدم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقصيم فريق عمل لا يقل في حرفتيه وتخصصه عن أفضل المستويات العالمية ، ويعمل على أداء خدمات المكافحة بكل حرفية شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف لديها افضل انواع الرش للقضاء نهائيا على الحشرات بكافة انواعها حيث انننا قمنا بدراسة كل حشرة على حدى وماهو المبيد الحشرى الاصلح للقضاء علينا لذلك اصبحا افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات بالجبيل بفضل خبراتنا على المدى الطويل واجتهادنا فى عملنا لا تنتظر كثيرا فنحن فى انتظار استقبال مكالماتكم خلال ال24 ساعة
 

شركة نقل عفش بينبع لدينا افضل طقم عمالة مدربة ومجهزة لنقل جميع انواع الاثاث بكل دقة وحرفة متناهية حتى لا بلحق اى اضرار بالعفش او الاثاث الخاص بالعميل نحن داما نتميز عن الاخرون

شركة كشف تسريبات المياه بينبع
تتميز بامتلاكها افضل انواع الاجهزة التى تقوم بارشادانا على مكان التسرب دون داعى لاى كسر داخل المنزل ف
شركة كشف تسريبات المياه بالجبيل
لديها احدث جهاز كشف تسريبات بالمملكة نستطيع من خلال التعرف على مكان التسرب من خلال حدوث اهتزازات وبعض الذبذبات التى من خلال نعرف المكان الصحيح وبذلك فان

شركة كشف تسريبات المياه بالخبر
تعتبر الافضل على مستوى المملكة فى اكتساف مكان التسرب وهذا يتم من خلال خبراء فعند اتصالك ب

شركة كشف تسريبات المياه بالاحساء
نقوم بارسال المندوب الخاص بنا والكشف على مكان التسرب ثم ارسال العمال لصيانة التسري وممعالجته فى اسرع وقت وباقل سعر
انت مع
خدمات مكة
فى امان باذن الله

 
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