Monday, November 3, 2008

Colleges as Failure Factories?

Trolling through my morning e-letters and I came across this piece in Inside Higher Education that plugs a paper called “The Costs of Failure Factories in American Higher Education.” The readers digest version is that while the high school drop out rate has been dissected over the years and has been addressed by the Government (No Child Left Behind), Colleges and Universities seem to fly under the radar when it comes to their poor graduation rate performance.

The reality that only about 7 in 10 students earn degrees after four years in high school has been widely deplored, and it helped drive the Bush administration and Congress to embrace the No Child Left Behind law earlier this decade. But if that situation is seen as such a crisis, why aren’t more people upset about the fact that graduation rates in higher education are quite a bit worse?

That’s the fundamental question underlying a new paper by Mark S. Schneider, vice president for new educational initiatives at the American Institutes for Research who was, until a few weeks ago, commissioner of education statistics in the Bush administration’s Department of Education.

The paper, “The Costs of Failure Factories in American Higher Education,” posits that American colleges and universities have thus far largely gotten a free pass from politicians and policy makers despite the fact that “the low high school graduation rates that have long been decried as a failure of America’s education system are mirrored in even lower college graduation rates,” writes Schneider, a distinguished professor of political science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Here's my problem with not only the paper, but this article. It never mentions any of the real contributors as to why colleges and universities have high drop out rates - the biggest of them all being COST!

How ridiculously high are tuition rates these days? It was expensive when I was in school, over 12 years ago. I can't imagine how parents do it now NOR how the heck I'm going to do it when my kids get older. I agree that in some cases students just aren't prepared to go to college. It's not for everyone. However, I have to think that cost is a huge factor in drop-out rates.


Anonymous said...

I think the reasons for kids dropping out of college are different than high school. You're right, college isn't for everyone. It's also is different than high school in that professors don't hand hold students through their classes.

Angela said...

You hit the nail on the head. I've been in college sporadically for the last ten years all due to tuition costs. Looking at my old tuition bills, I see costs have tripled.

Don Martelli said...

It amazes me how this argument doesn't get any air play. Glad I'm not the only sane one thinking about this.

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