Saturday, February 28, 2004

Higher Education Dumbing Down? 

Ok, so this editorial from USA Today tries to make the case that more high school students are doing AP work in colleges, yet colleges are doing more remedial coursework than ever before, especially in math and English.

I'm not so sure. Who is to say the students taking AP are the ones in remedial coursework? There is this faulty assumption that one effects the other when in fact they are most likely completely separate beings. Universities are scrambling for warm bodies and trying out new perks to lure students in and keep them there. Cable in rooms, TV's in lounges, pool tables, kitchenettes, movie rentals, computer stations (from my experience these are mainly used for gaming, instant messaging, and email), and a host of perks outside the dorms as well.

Thus, more students than ever before are going to higher education and more schools are lowering their standards for admissions to their programs. Perhaps that has caused the burgeoning of these remedial programs.

The question is: Are the colleges making money off the students who enroll in the remedial courses? Most definitely. Tuition is only a small part of the money students generate for the U. Much more is generated through dining services and residence life. And now that higher education is a big business, forget the ideal of the ivory tower -- it is becoming more of a dream that fades away rather than a goal to aspire to.

Look, high schools and colleges can do a better job in teaching students; however, there are serious institutional and state sponsored policies that adversely effect the education opportunities of students and teachers have nothing to do with those. Ultimately it is unfair to place the burden of those problems on the people in that profession.

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