How open admissions has turned colleges into high schools

College students, American-style: A remedial
math class at LaGuardia Community College

At the City University of New York, the Times tells us,

About three-quarters of the 17,500 freshmen at the community colleges this year have needed remedial instruction in reading, writing or math, and nearly a quarter of the freshmen have required such instruction in all three subjects. In the past five years, a subset of students deemed “triple low remedial”—with the most severe deficits in all three subjects—has doubled, to 1,000.

The reasons are familiar but were reinforced last month by startling statistics from state education officials: fewer than half of all New York State students who graduated from high school in 2009 were prepared for college or careers, as measured by state Regents tests in English and math. In New York City, the proportion was 23 percent.

Many of those graduates end up at CUNY, one of the nation’s largest urban higher-education systems, which requires its community colleges to take every applicant with a high school diploma or equivalency degree. [Emphasis added.] …

“Most students have serious challenges remembering the basic rules of arithmetic,” Dr. Ianni said of his remedial math class. “The course is really a refresher, but they aren’t ready for a refresher. They need to learn how to learn.”

And now let’s also remember that President Obama has made it a top priority that every young person in America go to college. Which means that the nation’s colleges will increasingly become high schools—or, rather, will increasingly become remedial classes for people unable to do high school work.

This is the inevitable result of an increasingly low-IQ population, combined with an egalitarian ideology which says that everyone in America must be equally successful in life.

- end of initial entry -

March 6

Nik S. writes:

While many people look at the historical numbers of Americans attending college and say, “It is great that so many Americans are going to college these days,” of course these statistics belie the reality. With so much money being spent on “special needs” and “under-privileged” students, the fact is that the best and brightest are actually getting less attention than people with sub-80 IQs—students who will never have any real chance of making an impact in academia or benefiting from it to a substantial degree. So the unsaid agenda is to make smart people dumber in the name of equality.

I know it’s cliche to bring this up, but look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg—would either of them (or the world for that matter) be better off if they had chosen to finish their degrees at Harvard?

Even the best colleges are turning into cesspools of mediocrity, hedonism, and social egalitarianism.

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

Regarding the photograph that accompanies the VFR entry on “how open admissions have turned colleges into high schools”—the scene is a familiar one. The postures, sartorial habits, and facial expressions of the students are also familiar. The facial expressions bespeak boredom, non-engagement, and a kind of alienation from the context. Only the bespectacled kid in center frame shows interest in the lesson, but even he gives off a touchy, chip-on-the-shoulder vibe. Notice the hats and head-coverings worn indoors; a friend who has also been a college professor says that the backwards baseball hat is a sign of actual stupidity, and far be it from me to disagree with him. One encounters these behaviors not only in open-admissions community colleges, but pretty much everywhere in higher education. Not that there are no properly prepared or serious students, but they are certainly only a minority, part of whose burden is to endure and overcome the demoralizing atmosphere created by the scowling, slouching, resentful reaction to intellectual discipline that the photograph eloquently but depressingly witnesses.

May I take the opportunity to describe another type of resistance to higher education, one that might surprise you? In Michigan in the 1990s I was active in education politics and became briefly something of a public figure. My fleeting notoriety led to invitations to speak, some of them from conservative, youth-oriented organizations whose identity you can probably guess but which I will not name. After two or three encounters with these groups, I came away sadly convinced that well-dressed collegiate Reagan-admirers can be just as impervious to ideas and just as disinclined to critical self-assessment as the slovenly types (like the kids in the photograph) who presumably exercise their franchise in support of the Democrats. Either way, where it concerns anything more complicated than a narcissistic slogan, resistance is absolute.

Higher education suffers from many ills and the causes of its malaise are likewise many. Two particular causes come together in a disastrous way: The obsession of the liberals who control colleges and universities to turn them into venues of naked indoctrination, and the intention of most students to exploit, in the most selfish and degrading ways, the condition of being beyond parental surveillance in a setting where officialdom permits appetitive indulgence in exchange for nominal assent to formulaic pieties.

Mark Jaws writes:

I just happen to know a little about the erosion of standards at City University, having attended City College from 1972 to 1976. First of all, I noticed in my freshman calculus class that the majority of students could not make it through. Those who did make it through were overwhelmingly white and Asian. In 1975 I tutored several nursing students in math. There was one black co-ed who could not—I say could not—add fractions (e.g., 1/2 + 3/8). That is when I realized that City College’s liberal policy of open admissions was a failure.

LA replies:

We’ve been repeatedly told by mainstream media that black 17 year olds are four years behind whites in math abilities (as well as in reading abilities). It would be interesting make that datum more specific and find out, for example, what percentage of black high school seniors in the U.S. can add fractions with different denominators, as compared with whites and Asians.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 05, 2011 01:18 PM | Send

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