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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Tue Mar 1, 2016, 07:45 AM

1. Pity.

It's an important discussion derailed by offense at ill-chosen words.

A lot of kids don't make it through their first year. The completion rate for college is low for some groups who start college, lower than it should be for nearly all groups. Many if they drop out never re-enroll at lower-standing institutions, but still end school with significant amounts of debt. Advocacy groups hate the high debt; colleges hate the low college completion rates (since they're sort of being shoved towards an "AYP" model like public school, which has worked oh-so-well.)

There's peer tutoring, counseling, mentoring, remedial courses, single-interest dorms, required on-campus housing, summer orientations, "meet your roommates" meetings and "meet the faculty" outings. Courses to teach study skills, time management, etc., etc. These are all the things that should be done to help reduce the drop-out rate. Thing is, the high drop out rate is *after* doing all these things.

NPR's story yesterday was about par for the course. It mentioned the "bunnie" story and the proposal--as a trial, find 20-25 students at risk of dropping out and in their first semester offer to reimburse their tuition and send them home. Sort of buy them out, make them financially whole. This would be a solution to both student advocates' debt issue and the low college completion rate problem.

After mentioning all these things, characterizing the problems and pointing out the failure of proposed solutions to fix the problems, it did a nice side-step. It had no additional proposals for fixing the problem. Instead, it found a student who would have been a likely "bunnie" and said that she was now a junior and succeeding, largely, I inferred from the story, because of a parental support network. To have ended her college career would have been an injustice, one which, apparently, must be avoided even if it does mean a lot of students flunk out of college with an unsustainable debt-load.

Typical NPR: When confronted with data, trump it with an anecdote.

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