By Professor Doom
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,” say 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.
How exactly do you “Use a number line to determine the value of 3 – 2”? Just draw a line with a few values like 0, 1, 2, 3 on it, or a full X axis with minus infinity, a few negative values (-3, -2, -1), 0 and a few positive values (0, 1, 2, 3) ending at plus infinity, and then say that 3 is to the right of 2, so the difference is one unit? Or maybe you specify that it's plus one because the values are to the right of 0? The problem is really confusing even though I know that 3 minus 2 equals one. Why even do it with "a number line" when you can just calculate the difference?ReplyDelete
Well, draw the number line, then put your pencil right on "3". By "-2", I mean go "2 to the left of 3". So, start at 3, then go to the left, 2 units...and now you're at "1". So, 3, -2, is 1.Delete
And that's how you use a number line to perform subtraction. It's a visual representation of arithmetic. You were probably taught that way when you were 7 years old or so, then internalized it to the point that you don't really think about it that way any more.
It's kinda like tying your shoes...you just do it now, but back when you were a little child, it was a complicated process.
Without brushing up on my rusty math skills, it actually looks confusing. I wasn't even quite sure what exactly you were asking. But then, good, conformist students spend their time finding out what kind of questions of this type you may ask, what exactly you mean and how to answer. Notice the social control at work: if they are studying, they are not getting into trouble or just enjoying real life. They have to learn early to be good worker drones, and their current job (by the way, unpaid) is to be students. If the Man's agents (educators) deem the answers correct, students advance in their studies and at some point, they are rewarded with a ticket to play the game of seeking employment with the Man.Delete
Now that so few people can live off the grid and jobs are harder to get, basically, educators have set up a series of tricky questions between an honest person and that person's paycheck. No wonder many can't do it or do it reluctantly until they get their ticket. When people could simply own a farm or easily become a ditch digger or a housewife, dealing with such abstract nonsense was a choice or a pastime for a small social elite.