Monday, February 13, 2012

This Is Concerning

Obama also wants to use the grants to encourage colleges and universities to align their standards with high schools so that students entering college do not need remedial courses.

That sentence concern anybody else?

This sentence...
Obama also wants to use the grants to encourage high schools to align their standards with colleges and universities so that students entering college do not need remedial courses.
...FLG would be fine with that sentence.

That sentence sounds like high schools becoming clear on what college and universities expect, and then getting students to that level.

The first sentence sounds like dumbing down the curriculum so that remedial courses are no longer called remedial courses.


The Ancient said...

Maybe Obama is trying to be responsive to Withywindle's complaints.

Andrew Stevens said...

To be fair to Obama, I believe the Post was sloppy in its reporting. If I understand the Obama proposal correctly, colleges are supposed to test high school students before they graduate so that the high schools can offer remedial instruction before the students go to college. The idea being that it's much less expensive to handle this at the high school level, where the student may need only some hours of refresher to pass the test rather than a full semester of remediation. But I'm not certain I understand all the details.

Anonymous said...


"That sentence sounds like high schools becoming clear on what college and universities expect, and then getting students to that level."

Why don't you ring up Cardinal MCcarrick ask him for his thoughts on what that sentence means.

"I spent the morning laughing and being intrigued by a book called Worthless: The Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major by a guy named Aaron Clarey. On the back of the book is picture that (I assume) is Clarey louging on what looks like the beach with an Army t-shirt on smoking a big cigar. This is the guy who is going to give you or your kid some good practical advice on how to pick a major in college.

"The book takes aim at “Big Education” and in non-PC terms lets the reader know what is happening inside higher ed. Clarey has a wicked sense of humor and his graphs and charts just add to the fun. There is one that shows the breakdown of what he calls “worthless degrees.” “Nearly 70% of worthless degrees are awarded to women” he states along with a chart showing the breakdown of 68% of women to 32% of males who get these worthless degrees. Worthless degrees include those such as Women’s studies, sociology, philosophy, psychology, education and the liberal arts and humanities. In other words, those majors that avoid math.

"It does seem to me at times that colleges are becoming finishing schools for women. I wonder if this is why many men avoid them?"

---Dr. Helen Smith

Mrs. P

Flavia said...

Yes, as quoted, the first sentence is a problem. I generally agree that high schools and colleges ought to be in better alignment, though not at the expense of dumbing down college-level work (which, like Andrew Stevens, I don't think is what this proposal entails).

My institution has a fantastic relationship with our major "feeder" community college (which is a really academically impressive institution; I wish the same were true of the other regional CCs from which we get transfers). Because they promote themselves as a way for students to get a 4-year degree at a lower cost--I think in some programs they guarantee their students that they can do it, or some amount of money back--they're fanatical about making sure that their courses are really equivalent to our lower-level ones. Whenever a department changes its curriculum at RU, the CC is on top of it, and they're in constant communication with us to make sure that their transfers are well-prepared, and, if not, what kind of training they're lacking. Then they adjust their intro courses accordingly.

I'd love for this to be the kind of model that Obama is talking about, although the gap from high school to college is much greater than from CC to 4-year college (not least because high school students aren't usually decided on a major); it's probably also only viable on a local/regional level.

Withywindle said...

Flavia: Your lack of pessimism disturbs me.

FLG said...


I don't know. My CC seems to have a good relationship with the local 4-year, George Mason. They seem to have good success transitioning first generation immigrants from HS to CC to BA.

Withywindle said...

The ability to cite positive examples is insignificant next to the power of pessimism.

arethusa said...

I share WW's pessimism here. The intention might be just as Andrew Stevens describes, but I can envision all kinds of scenarios in which the ultimate result is "no remedial courses in college," and in which many universities continue their downward spiral to being Grades 13-16. "Remedial" also needs to be defined better: because a student crams English grammar into his head for a few hours to pass a test, doesn't mean he can actually write - and might indeed need a remedial course if that is the case.

Hasn't some proportion of women always, since women started attending college in appreciable numbers, treated college as a finishing school?

The Ancient said...

I'm fairly certain that Andrew is right.

Poking around the DoEd website turned up nothing that fit with the Post summary, and at least one thing -- a press release -- that fit very well with Flavia's description of her own experience.

(Anyone with altogether too much time on their hands can go there and search through press releases using "remedial".)

Flavia said...

Withy, Arethusa:

I didn't say it was doable at the high school level; I'm just saying I've seen one possibly-analogous model that does works, and I'd like to believe that could be replicated.

But I acknowledge that CCs have more of an institutional stake in the success of their graduates/transfer students. High schools, except the more elite ones, don't.

Withywindle said...

I wasn't actually seriously critiquing you; just paraphrasing high culture as a jeu d'esprit.

Withywindle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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