Florida remediation doubles down on doublespeak


One of the best kept secrets of “higher ed” is how much of it is repetition of high school, or lower. It’s particularly bad at what are called (or used to be called) community colleges, institutions taxpayers were suckered into paying for in exchange for their kids being “taught” the same subjects taxpayers paid for their kids to be taught in the public schools.

It’s a massive fraud, and I’ve shown in this blog that most schools have around 90% of their coursework at the high school level or lower, often much lower. It’s well known these courses are frauds, just as it’s well known that over 90% of the students in such courses get nothing out of them but debt and wasted years of their lives.

For the most part, the states don’t really care about the huge fraud they’re inflicting upon their citizens (it’s not like their citizens can do anything about it), but Florida decided to address the fraud of remediation in a simple way: get rid of remediation. This is basically bringing the idea of social promotion to college—just passing students through the system whether they’re learning anything or not.

The effect of social promotion at the college level has, of course, been a disaster, but that doesn’t mean Florida will do what every educator told them to do in the first place: bring back entrance exams, so that only students on campus are those that want something more than the checks.

The last couple of months has been difficult for Florida’s two-year colleges.

They’ve been faced with a Legislature that has sought to fundamentally change how the state’s two-year colleges operate, in addition to the potential loss of millions of state dollars.

They always rationalize keeping kids on campus with same crappy line: “potential loss of millions of state dollars.” No, it’s not. See, if the kids aren’t being trapped in remedial programs, the schools don’t need those millions of dollars. It’s no loss at all. Moreover, it’s a bonus, since instead of the kids wasting their lives not-learning the same crap they didn’t learn in high school, they’re out building lives, working at jobs…generating tax revenue, and making a happier and more productive citizenry. That would be good, right?

But all the leaders of higher ed can see is all that tax money not going into their own pockets…they’ve long forgotten the whole reason we use tax dollars for education is because education is a public good. Public good is irrelevant to them, all they want is MOAR.

And so, yeah, when presented with the knowledge that our kids aren’t being hurt by a predatory education system, their problem is the “loss of millions of state dollars.” It’s pathetic.

The way how these colleges are trying to capture the loot “lost” from no longer hurting kids in remedial programs is by expanding their bachelor’s programs.

I’m not a jerk, I don’t want to stand in the way of people getting degrees if that’s what they want, but these degrees are, well, questionable. The students can’t read, 

write, or do ‘rithmetic at the high school level, but nevertheless have college degrees.

I point at that not only their degrees of little value, such a proliferation of degrees debases the value of people with actual college-level skills. That these people are being hurt is of no consequence to our leaders either.

To governor of Florida won’t be helping much:

Governor Rick Scott vetoed a higher education bill that would have capped bachelor’s degree enrollments at the colleges,…

Since these “community colleges” now have 4 year degrees in abundance, they starting to call themselves universities; the bill would have forced them to advertise again that they serve the community, but Governor Scott vetoed that as well. It’s not that big a deal, a fraud by any other name is just as foul, after all.

Admin wasn’t pleased at not getting what they want, of course:

“We’ll continue to do the best we can with what we have,” said Jesse Coraggio, vice president of institutional effectiveness and academic services at St. Petersburg College.

–do note that Jesse’s title, vice president of institutional effectiveness and academic services, is well past twice the length of his name. If they really wanted to improve efficiency, they could close out positions with titles twice as long as the holder’s name…they’ve got fewer students, right? So…why not fewer vice presidents as well? That’s just crazy talk, I know.

Please understand the big shell game being played here. The students that actually could use the help in remediation will no longer get it. Meanwhile, the scammers (30% or more of the community college student base, more like 90% when you consider how many kids get hurt in this system) will just fill out the extra forms to get the loan money for the bachelor’s program. And admin is sad that the governor was trying to cut into that:

“We’re experiencing declining enrollment, but one area that continues to grow for us is bachelor’s degree programs,” Coraggio said.

Ok, you’ve just admitted you have fewer students. Instead of whining about losing the tax dollars, why not boast of how you’re finally cutting back on administration? Why is cutting down administrators is never, never, on the table? Instead, the colleges find more money to hire more lobbyists to get more tax dollars.

new report by Florida State University’s Center for Postsecondary Success found a decline in the percentage of administrators who think the law that lifted the mandate on remediation is working. The researchers found that the proportion of administrators who agree or strongly agree that the policy has been effective has decreased from 74 percent in 2015 to 39 percent in 2017.

–Not all useless fiefdoms on campus are about diversity, there are also Centers for Postsecondary Success to load down with admin as well. This Center has 16 staff making far more than any academic will ever make. In addition, they have an advisory board with 7 more admin. They are partnered with several other expensive fiefdoms. Seriously, if our universities weren’t so dedicated to providing administrative jobs, they could be useful education centers. Just an idea…

Admin know the new system isn’t working out well for them, even if it’s helping kids from hurting themselves. So, of course they don’t approve. Hey, why were administration surveyed at all? Shouldn’t educators’ opinions on education be relevant? It would in a legitimate system, but we’re talking about higher ed here, so, no.

“Florida has done a lot of work trying to rapidly reform developmental education,…”

I should mention that the word “remedial” became a bit of a slur, and so admin, in their wisdom, eliminated remedial programs. These programs are now called “developmental.” But now “developmental” is being steadily removed from college (because it was the same fraud, by a different name).

What will they call them now? The gentle reader can make a guess from the following:

“Bottom line is revenue saved through declines in remedial enrollment should not be considered a savings, but rather reallocated to support students in college-level gateway courses,” Jenkins said.

–Jenkins’s title is senior research associate at Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Isn’t it delightful that our tax dollars pay for senior research associates at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College to “research” changing the word “remedial” to the word “developmental” to, now, the phrase “college level gateway” courses? It’s a safe bet another dozen administrators or more are in that fiefdom, too.

Like I said, it’s just a shell game. It’s a shame no educators were allowed to talk about what should really be done here.