Rethinking Remediation

In light of Higher Education Bubble? posted yesterday, Community College Spotlight’s Community Colleges Rethink Remediation is particularly interesting.

Overwhelmed with students who need years of remediation, some Texas community colleges are steering low-skilled students to adult education or to vocational programs, reports Melissa Ludwig in the San Antonio Express-News.

The article in the San Antonio Express-News goes on to talk about a pilot program which succeeded (90% success) in getting students more ready for college. However the program has been discontinued because of financial issues.

Why does everyone have to go to college? Are there jobs out there where students can make just as good money and not get a bachelor’s?

The answer is yes. Paramedics (a two-year course) make what I make a year as a PhD when they are working in a reasonable market, working two 24-hour shifts a week. Truck drivers make what I make a year. Though I don’t know for sure, I have heard that plumbers make more than that.

If you can make more money with minimal schooling, why are we encouraging students to suffer through remediation which may or may not help them succeed and go to college to get degrees that may or may not get them better jobs? Why must people go to college?

3 thoughts on “Rethinking Remediation”

  1. In a way I straddle the line. On the one hand, I have to justify my own job to my students (and hopefully to the administration as well, if I want to keep it), and so there’s usually a formulaic speech about critical thinking and so on in my first-year writing classes to serve that purpose. On the other hand, and the hand I secretly agree with, college isn’t necessary for everyone, or even most people, and asking people to invest excessive time and money in a higher education of spurious value seems unethical at best.

    I do understand from a political perspective the push for more higher education for disadvantaged populations, and I love my work in remedial and developmental writing. My most frustrating experiences are with the suburban, white, middle-class student who has been brought up to believe that OF COUSE they’ll go to college (what other options are there for the socially respectable person, after all?), who really just seem aimless and don’t know what else there is to do. For many of these students not going to college is unthinkable; that’s for dumb people.

  2. There is a need for higher education among disadvantaged populations, if they are ever going to stop being disadvantaged.

    I don’t think everyone needs to go to college, but I love teaching college so I want a lot of folks to go to college. So that’s a conundrum.

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