Devaluing public education has become Connecticut’s policy | Chris Powell
From Connecticut and Washington last week came stronger signs that higher education isn’t worth it for many students.
The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System announced that it had just awarded an additional $3.6 million to 2,400 community college students to help cover tuition, which was defined as broad to include food, housing and child care. Another $21 million has already been granted to students deemed to be in financial difficulty. Federal emergency financial assistance pays for this.
And President Biden has extended his federal student loan repayment freeze until May.
Biden and state college system president Terrence Cheng attributed the actions to hardships caused by the virus outbreak. But it was misleading.
Because college loan debt has been a serious problem for a long time, as many college graduates cannot find jobs that pay enough to support themselves in normal life and pay off their debt.
Likewise, even before the outbreak, the state college system was suffering from an alarming drop in enrollment, perhaps because parents and students realized that even the inexpensive education offered by community colleges and regional universities was not always good value for money.
Now there is a severe labor shortage in Connecticut and across the country as millions appear to have given up working – or at least given up officially working and incurring tax liability. Jobs will beg. Many require skills that can be learned before a college degree or learned on the job.
This does not mean that higher education is useless, but that it is too expensive and that university loans and scholarships like those awarded in Connecticut last week are less grants to students than to education’s own employees. superior.
The steady increase in the cost of higher education is strongly correlated with the increase in the remuneration of college staff and the growth of administrative staff.
Administrators at Connecticut’s public colleges are paid spectacularly, and last week, even as CSCU President Cheng lamented what he saw as financial strain on community college students, he declined to suggest to save with his annual salary of $360,000.
But then all public education, not just public higher education, long softened, corrupted by prosperity and forgetting that prosperity is not the natural order of things but something that must be constantly earned.
Connecticut is a prime example, its elementary education long ago eliminating grade-to-grade promotion standards and adopting social promotion instead.
The system knows very well what it has done. It has downplayed annual student testing from kindergarten through high school and provides no measures of student performance after graduation. Instead, the final measures of performance are the academic aptitude tests given to all junior high school students.
The rationale given for this is efficiency and to encourage all students to consider college. But the SATs provide no measure of academic proficiency at graduation. The last time Connecticut high school students were tested for their skills was in 2013 by the National Education Progress Assessment. While Connecticut seniors performed best in the nation, half still hadn’t mastered English in high school and two-thirds still hadn’t mastered math in high school. Recent junior year SAT scores suggest the same.
Despite this lack of student qualifications, Connecticut strives to send everyone to college. Until a few years ago, most freshmen at community colleges and state universities were required to take remedial classes in high school, but the embarrassment of this caused the classes to be replaced by advice.
Thus public education has been devalued on the way to a simple diploma, inciting to fail, not to succeed. If it was aimed more at education than the contentment of employees, parents, and students, it would guarantee college admission only to students who have mastered high school work. But the system does not want data like that.
So, having abandoned mainstream education, Connecticut’s public schools are concerned with racial propaganda and “social and emotional learning,” for which there will never be inconvenient performance measures.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer.