As the academic job market worsens (was it ever good?), graduate students are angry, according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Don't expect a protest march in the streets burning Ph.D. gowns, but the blinkered view of some tenured faculty about the job market must drive a grad student nuts.
There's a piece in today's Inside Higher Education raising the question of whether more could have been done to prevent the recent shooting rampage in Arizona, that left six dead. In my experience, not untypical of community colleges, I've seen a fair number of students who come because they don't know what else to do, others from dysfunctional family backgrounds, as well as those with drug problems, debt problems, antisocial problems, etc., along with a very tiny few who were a little scary. But I've never seen any potential homicidal psychotics, and haven't figured out how I'd spot one before he actually opened fire.
Our friends at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) have released the first in a 5-part, book-length report called "25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College." NAS applauds this initiative and looks forward to reading the report in its entirety. Peter Wood recently blogged about how colleges transform increases in federal student aid into higher tuition and fees. And we join with those who predict that either (a) the higher education bubble will burst or (b) the college degree will become a nearly empty credential. What can we do to forestall these unwelcome outcomes? The CCAP has some ideas. The first part of its report is "Use Lower Cost Alternatives." 1. Encourage more students to attend community college 2. Promote Dual Enrollment Programs 3. Reform Academic Employment Policies 4. Offer Three Year Bachelor's Degrees 5. Outsource More Services Click on the links to read each section.
Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—And What We Can Do About It, has great things to say about a college near and dear to us:
One of the 10 schools we liked was Raritan Valley Community College, which has a very good two-year liberal arts program. Small classes, dedicated teachers, and you discover students (you wouldn’t believe it) who are interesting and interested. After two years at Raritan, you can transfer to any larger university and actually have a better first two years than you would have at, let’s say, Michigan State where you’re in a lecture class listening to a PowerPoint with 500 other students.
Our own Glenn Ricketts, public relations director at NAS, teaches political science at RVCC. Great job, Glenn!
According to The Chronicle this afternoon:
An overwhelming majority of Americans say it is better for some students to go to community colleges instead of four-year colleges and universities, according to a poll released today by the Associated Press and Stanford University. Respondents also said community colleges were "good" or "excellent" at almost the same rate as four-year colleges.
That question seems to be on the minds of many higher education watchers these days, and there's an interesting round-table discussion of it over at today's Chronicle of Higher Education. Ashley Thorne also took the measure of it last week when she cited a slew of articles whose authors think too many current college students don't belong there. That's undoubtedly true, but why is it true? From where I'm looking in, not only should many students not matriculate in colleges, they should never have been given their high school dilplomas either. Unfortunately, self-esteem based pedagogy, legions of special education support staff, litigation-minded parents and the presence of a community college in the vicinity, with its open admissions policies, all load the odds heavily in favor of turning out lots of dismally unprepared students. As the numbers of such students increase and the colleges they attend view them as customers to be kept satisfied, the pressure to dilute educational standards continues to work its way upward. As a result, we have one huge mess, from K-12 through the entire collegiate experience. How about this: instead of asking who should attend college, why not consider what educators at that level should demand of all students, irrespective of any other considerations?