The Community College/‘Real College’ Divide

I heard it again, another community college putdown. This one came from an educator explaining criteria for high school graduation. She followed her summary with these words to her audience of parents and incoming freshmen: “So that’s the minimum requirement. But here’s what you should take if you want to go to real college — you know, not community college.”

Did she not stop to consider that some of the parents were likely community college alumni? Did she not know that the community college nearby would enroll more of her county’s high school graduates than any other college or university? Did she have any idea that there are families who hope and pray that their children can go to community college, because even though it’s the most affordable option, it’s still several thousand dollars a year and that’s real money?

We often speak in this country of a red and blue state divide. Here’s another divide: people who believe in community colleges, and people who dismiss and even diminish them. It’s true, community colleges are not the kind of places that pride themselves on 10 percent acceptance rates. Rather, they pride themselves on their open door policies. That’s because access is part of their mission. It’s one of the reasons that 46 percent of our nation’s undergraduates are enrolled in community college. <Read more.>

Via Kristin O’Keefe, The New York Times.