[I would add here that I suspect that much of the anger (hate politics) that we are encountering today in the U.S. is fueled by class resentment — jealousy that previously subordinated individuals and groups are now ‘making it’.  I recall the first time that an angry student claimed that he had been a victim of discrimination — affirmative action.  When we probed the details it became clear that he, himself, had not met the minimum score levels for admission to a particular program by his own admission, but that he still believed that others had been given special  breaks.  He could not admit to himself that said others were better qualified than he without any special admission advantages.  Needless to say Bush is an icon of such attitudes.  He would not be admitted to Yale today, was not admitted to law school even in his home state, and most likely would not even make Harvard for an MBA now.  He is a privileged glad hander totally unqualified for the most dangerous job the world has to offer — the choice of corporate interests that knew they could depend upon him for special consideration — and so we have Iraq and the sub prime mortgage disasters unfolding.  The following is sent on by one of my CUNY colleagues.  It pictures many of my finest students whom I shall be missing in retirement.  Ed Kent]


From: Manfred Philipp
Reply-To: Manfred Philipp

Dear Colleagues,

Sally Mettler of LaGuardia forwarded the following article by Attewell
and Lavin on Graduation Rates. It is posted here on behalf of Prof.
Mettler and on behalf of Susan O’Mally. It had been distributed on the
LaGuardia campus by Robert Levine.

The full article is too long for this forum. Hence, I am posting only
the first few lines, and provide a web address for the rest of it.
Like other work by David Lavin and his colleagues, it is a highly
important contribution to the current debate about retention and
graduation rates

Manfred Philipp

The complete article is posted at http://ufs.cuny.edu/GradRates.html



[Posted with the permission of Professor David Lavin]

Undergraduate enrollments have grown sixfold in the last half-century
and continue to boom; today more than 80 percent of high-school
graduates go to college within approximately eight years of graduation
One might expect those accomplishments to be celebrated, but the
expansion of higher education has been accompanied by ambivalence,
anxiety, and opposition. As enrollments continue to climb, the
intensity of criticism grows ever louder.

We are told that public colleges admit inadequately prepared students,
that graduation rates are scandalously low, that students take too
long to graduate, and that university graduates lack appropriate job
skills. Last fall’s report by Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education followed suit
in calling for more institutional accountability for what students
learn and for graduating them faster and at less cost.

Many of the questions policy makers ask are distorted by conceptual
blinders that evaluate today’s undergraduate experience against a norm
from an earlier era when students entered college immediately after
high school, attended college full time, lived in dormitories, and
rarely worked for pay because they were financially dependent on their
parents. But such traditional students, whose needs and experiences
still drive public policy, make up less than a quarter of today’s
undergraduate population. We need to focus on what higher education
is, not what it once was.

It should come as no surprise that today’s undergraduates * often
commuter students who typically juggle family or work obligations, or
both, with college * do not fare well on performance measures designed
for a different kind of student. Today many undergraduates cycle in
and out of college. They stop for a while or drop down to part-time
status to earn enough money to pay for next semester’s tuition, or for
rent, or to have a child, or to accept a promising job opportunity.
For such students * remember, they are the large majority of today’s
undergraduates * a college education is something that has to be
fitted into the rest of life. College is no longer a phase of youth to
be enjoyed before real life begins.

[For the complete text of this article, please go to
http://ufs.cuny.edu/GradRates.html .

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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