California's Great New Education System
by, 12th April 2011 at 12:36 AM (1701 Views)
California has a really important upgrade in public postsecondary education, and it's worth writing about. It's not the University of California, or the California State University, or even the California Community Colleges. Those institutions are old-hat. The Golden State has shifted its priorities to take funds away from these older institutions and sink them into the new approach.
The new system is miles ahead of them in its ability to recruit new students. Even better than that, it's reaching populations that were never included in postsecondary education before: low income students are entering in great numbers, and minority students are actually a large majority of its participants. The retention levels through completion are impressive. Students do not abandon this institution until the State is satisfied that they are ready.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but it's only too real! The institution does have its drawbacks. It doesn't grant traditional degrees or diplomas, but in its targeted placement market, these don't count for much. Besides that, the only other limitation is that there's really only one field for the participants to specialize in, but it's broad enough to provide all sorts of opportunities after completion. One of its greatest features is cooperative learning, an approach that lets students bring their own life experience into the learning process and help each other learn new skills. And the network that is set up for placement is always eager to recruit new talent and put it to work.
Doesn't it all seem too wonderful?
It's the California State Penitentiary System. It has the power to recruit and compel attendance. No participant can be released before his time. A great number are young, and a majority come from poor and minority backgrounds.
The State spends a lot of our tax money on the system, and it teaches young, inexperienced inmates to be ready for big-time employment on release. Kids that were pikers, maybe just joy-riding or dealing pot, become hardened criminals. They learn to be cruel and act out of desperation in this school. It turns out all the sociopaths that society can absorb, and then some.
Our Governor has proposed cutting $1.4 billion from California postsecondary institutions next fiscal year, UC, CSU and the Community Colleges. Proposed cuts to the prison system: none.
Aren't you happy with what your tax dollars can accomplish?
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