Thursday, March 22, 2012

Community Colleges Downsize Programs

This story interested me because I am myself a proud graduate of a community college (the one eventually built at the site in the photo above, in fact, although it was later renamed "Highland"), with the Associates Degree to prove it. Being lower middle class with divorced parents who were unable to help fund my college education, attending the local community college in my town and getting all of my basic college courses out of the way cheaply before moving on to university was a big reason why I was able to eventually earn a Bachelor's Degree without piling up any student loan debt. At the time, the tuition at my community college, though far lower than college costs today, was still about one-fourth of that of even the average public university.

Anyway, here are the details from USA Today:
Community colleges across the USA, faced with tight budgets and competing priorities, are downsizing or shuttering programs that in many cases have been held near and dear for years by students and other local constituents.

•Texarkana College in Texas is one of the latest schools to drop intercollegiate sports.
•A group of older adults is working to keep alive some version of Santa Barbara City College's continuing education division, which offers free classes in subjects such as financial planning and pastry-making.

•Starting this summer, Pima Community College in Tucson will no longer offer remediation for incoming adult students who fail a seventh-grade-level test of reading, writing and math.

Two-year schools, established to serve the needs of their local communities, "can't do it all anymore," says Suzanne Miles, Pima's interim president. She estimates the school's decision will affect no more than 2,000 students this fall.

State funding cuts are one culprit. For instance, state funding for California community colleges has been slashed $809 million, or 12%, since 2007-08. Another driver: a growing emphasis on improving degree-completion rates and retraining displaced workers. President Obama has made both central to his higher education agenda.
And thus is a sensible higher education option for working and middle class families that won't burden their children with unpayable debt slowly falling by the wayside.

Bonus: A little tune from the best damn college band from back when I was in school...and a good anthem for how I feel in middle age


  1. Freport CC?!?! Heh. I got an AS from RVCC. Best thing I ever did. Got me prepped to go to Purdue for engineering. With enough skills to work my way thru w/o having to take on debt.

  2. Funny, but I find myself leaning more towards "Bastards of Young." I've come to think of the last verse as a coda, of sorts, for the "brass ring" culture of the USA that was already in its twilight when the song was written:

    "The ones who love us best
    Are the ones we'll lay to rest
    And visit their graves on holidays at best.

    "The ones who love us least
    Are the ones we'll die to please
    If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand."

    Thanks for the frequent posts, BH. This blog is an excellent resource as well as a respite from all the dreary lies and tawdry spectacles we are relentlessly bombarded with.

    1. Thanks for reading, Huey. "Bastards of the Young" would have been a great choice, too.

  3. I appreciate your posts too. I especially wanted to comment here that at the same time we have Santorum ranting against Obama's push for education (which was largely to increase employment preparation), we have legislation in Arizona against informing women about prenatal conditions; all of this reflects not just an anti-intellectualism (which I used to joke about when I was young, naive, and hoped I was wrong) but something even more sinister and discouraging. Education, critical thinking, and intentional living all seem to be under attack, and the economic situation is used to excuse these attacks. It is rather frightening to observe, when we put these different pieces together. A Canticle for Liebowitz seems more and more precient.