Time and again I’ve shown that most of what’s going on in higher education is dubious. I’ll certainly grant, that, maybe, it’s a matter of opinion if studying how to “not shave” is really college level work. On the other hand, I’ve also shown that much of our resources in “higher education” is coursework that is identical to material taught in the third through sixth grade…and there’s no opinion there, the college work is totally the same material we’re teaching to our 11 year olds, if not younger. Material taught in the 6th grade, obviously, is not college level material (no matter how many administrators claim otherwise). Hardly a semester went by where I didn’t have administration asking me to reduce content even further.
“Use a number line to determine the value of 3 – 2”
–actual problem from actual book in actual course I’ve actually taught on a community college campus.
There are many reasons for the plunging level of coursework, although the student loan scam, where colleges can get huge sums of money for “teaching” anything at all, mostly crap, is big. Open admissions is still a bit of a factor. See, in the old days, when higher education wasn’t (much of) a scam, it was often accused of being elitist—only those that could pass the entrance examinations could come in. So, low-rent community colleges opened up. “We’re not elitist,” sayeth these colleges, “anyone can come here!”
And, absolutely, anyone that could fill out a student loan application (or, more likely, Pell grant) form can today come to campus and take college courses. Oh wait, I said “college courses”. Not so fast, just because it’s a course on a college campus, doesn’t mean it’s a college course.
It could be a remedial course. Now, it’s well known that over 90% of students that take remedial courses fail to get any sort of degree within three years. It’s been well known for years, in fact, that if you sign up a student for remediation, you’re screwing over that student, setting him up to fail, and quite possibly be in debt for the rest of his life.
Now, strictly on moral grounds, hurting another human being like this is a problem, but, of course, college administrators have no qualms about hurting other human beings, as “integrity” is both literally and figuratively a four letter word for these guys.
Turns out, there’s another reason community college campuses shouldn’t be overloading with these courses. It violates Federal law:
The federal government has strict rules about how financial aid can be applied to what it calls \”remedial\” coursework. We are stating that misuse and misapplication of financial aid around developmental education coursework occurs at many community colleges—intentional or not. Some developmental education course do meet federal standards.
“Intentional or not”? That’s some sweet candy coating there. How do you accidentally select a book with 6th grade material, base a course around that book, present that course every semester, year after year, and come close to thinking maybe it wasn’t intentional? Now, absolutely, there should be an opportunity for someone who is behind to play catch up, and the Federal guidelines allow for it, up to a point:
The most common violation involves allowing students to apply financial aid to coursework below the ninth grade.
Wait, what? Coursework below the 9th grade cannot be sold to students? But, but, EVERY COMMUNITY COLLEGE I’VE LOOKED AT sells coursework below the 9th grade (I’ve linked six different community colleges, and I openly defy anyone to show me an accredited community college that doesn’t offer pre-9th grade coursework). Many of those colleges sell a great quantity of coursework below the 9th grade. All of them offer coursework that is clearly below the 9th grade, and offered in the local schools to students 11 years old and younger.
So not only are most (all?) community college campuses operating fraudulently, most (all?) are in clear violation of Federal law. Gee whiz, don’t the Feds know that these institutions put their course offerings online, so that it takes all of 30 seconds to tell they’re in violation? I bet the Feds counted on accreditation to keep colleges legitimate…too bad accreditation is a fraud, since it’s run by the same people that run the colleges. I’ve documented the fraud of accreditation many times.
Does the entire system operating in open violation of the law not raise a flag anywhere that there might be a dash of corruption here? Don’t get me wrong, I know not all laws are good, but I honestly believe charging a fortune for material any child can learn with a little help is wrong. Putting people in perpetual debt for such material is definitely wrong…and stealing taxpayer money to give to the administrators who put such people in debt is a level of wrong that would boggle the mind of Kafka.
Next time, I’ll take a quick look at what the authors of a book on the criminality of community college have to say. In the meantime, community colleges are overrun with great numbers of ridiculously overpaid administrators and support staff…consider the likelihood that none of these guys anywhere even have the slightest inkling that what they are doing is both morally and legally wrong.