First off, I should probably say that I have never actually attended a community college. I jumped right into a 4-year private institution right after high school. However, I currently work for a community college. Now, the great thing about community colleges are the variety of classes they offer (some that even I couldn’t get in Adrian), the crazy hours for flexibility for working parents and workers in general, and price. They tend to be cheaper per credit hour than any other institution of higher education.
I believe that community college is a great step, particularly for people who are yet unsure of what they want to do. It’s also a great way to get certification/accreditation without shelling out a fortune. It can also help pave the way for people to enter a 4-year university or college. It is a stepping stone and an alternative to the overpriced educational system we have in the US.
However, my main problem with community college is the “open door policy.” This is not to say that people who could not (or would have trouble) get into a 4-year college should be denied in their quest for knowledge/education. It is just to say there are some people who, in all horrible honesty, should not be in college. Some students just do not have the skill or the cognitive processes to handle college.
They are allowed in. Usually placed in developmental classes which, if they fail, means that they cannot proceed to any higher classes that require the most basic of skills. And the best part is the 3-strike policy: fail three times and you cannot retake the class for sometime, and if you had aid, it would no longer cover the failed thrice classes.
There are students who try their hardest, do their best and fall flat on their face. They are not to blame. Our society is cramming education down our throats. However, not every job out there requires a post-secondary education. Despite the downward trend in the economy, trade jobs still exist, and other service oriented jobs that do not require a college diploma.
But you will still find people flocking to community colleges, wasting money on an education that will essentially get them no where if they cannot pass the classes they need to. Community colleges won’t change the policy because there are those who will do well even without the requirements necessary for other 4-year institutions.
How do we find an effective admittance policy that will help everyone, without being discriminatory to those who are not, and may never be, at the college level? It is a quandary that will not go away any time soon. And people will suffer, just as people will prosper because of it.