Please read the American Association of Community Colleges Report
drafted and revised by James Harvey, former speech writer for presidents, congressional leaders, advocate for school finance reforms adopted by the Gates Foundation, also constructed by major corporate leaders of community colleges, including Kay McClenny of the UT Community College Institute in Austin, along with J-S Thornton, my former community college president at Cuyahoga, Gates Foundation gate-keepers, Lumina Foundation gate-keepers, and of course includes the "Achieve the Dream" program as one of its central themes...acknowledges the social mission of open door mobility and equity, demands more resources for developmental education, threatens "hard choices" if resources are not provided for community colleges, "doing the hardest work of higher education", mentions growing class divisions, but shies away from class equity while retaining 20th century ethnic, gender, race as base for equity assessment. It empowers major college presidents, Lumina Foundation, Gates Foundation, Univ. of Texas Community College Institutes, Mark Milliron, several major boards and state governors and legislative leaders who developed assessment standards, core outcomes for math, english, civic studies, global studies, etc...cites a year tour of the country to "listen" to local and regional faculty and citizens.
Some problems are haunting me about this Report (though re-designing community colleges is long overdue and necessary) and what it does not engage ...if we are so committed to maintaining social mobility for those without options and opportunities, why have we spent more and more of our limited resources in the last 10-25 years on suburban and exurban campuses while short-changing the lowest income urban and rural areas?
If we are to continue insisting on data driven decision-making, why are we avoiding the socio-economic data of our campus resource allocations? If community colleges are serious about the social mission of our movement, is it not clear that the current data shows how community colleges have greatly expanded resource allocation to higher income areas at the expense of the mission? Have we not helped create the growing class divide with such policies? Are the harder to teach and harder to graduate populations going to suffer further loss of resources in the Report's 21st century plan?
I am suspicious when I see real program changes locally by one of the co-chairs of the Report (my former college president)...our day-care programs were eliminated by my college president while she and her co-chair from Austin cited the need to serve low-income single-parents so that they can persist to graduate...
I am afraid that the result of this 're-design' will be further centralization of policy and program that continues to empower a few large corporate leaders to 'manage' more educational program 'brands' like :"Achieve the Dream" supported by selectively controlled data. I fear that the real outcome may be to completely empower the control of teaching/learning in community colleges by a small group of college leaders with corporate funders as their sponsors...what will be created is a very large pool of resources spent on assessment hardware and software to 'prove' the efficacy of branded programs. When will we ask the real outcome question to be studies: if community colleges are providing increasingly effective opportunities for mobility to low-income neighborhoods and lower-middle class neighborhoods in ever-increasing numbers and with focused and assessed educational and vocational programs, why are the socio-economic distances growing?
As for my own field, anthropology, the Report cites the need for students of the 21st century to learn about "cultures" involved with increasing diversity by our global economy. So, if the Report cites this need, why our the same college leaders radically reducing anthropology curricula and full-time faculty?
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