Working-Class Students and CCs

Working-Class Perspectives has an interesting post on community colleges.

Julie Garza-Withers is wondering whether the community college is the right place for working-class students.

The research around student success suggests that community colleges do not challenge students and have low expectations. In the status hierarchy of higher ed, this means community college classes are perceived as “easier,” or less academically rigorous. Moreover, research shows that students who transfer from community colleges have frighteningly low graduation rates from four-year schools — an average of just 36% complete a four-year degree within 6 years. The analysis implies that the low graduation rate might be because community colleges do not foster cultures of achievement and that students do not feel motivated to succeed.

Having said that, however, she goes on to make some interesting and credible arguments for CCs being the right place for working-class students.

Her points include different levels of rigor, which allows for “catching up,” teaching over scholarship, which explains the lack of respect CC teachers have in the eyes of academe, and the cost of CCs.

It’s an interesting and thoughtful article and well worth reading.

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