Opinion By: Edwin L. Crammer CPA – In its last legislative session, the Florida State legislature eliminated the requirement that all incoming freshmen should be tested for a minimum standard of writing ability as well as minimum knowledge skill in basic math.
The Community College systems actually began in the early part of the twentieth century when it was actually called Junior College. The system was now designed so that teenagers graduating from High School could earn a two year college degree from a local institution that they could commute to.
The Community College system took off shortly after World War II. It was designed to increase the opportunities for those men and women being discharged from the military to enable them to achieve a higher level of education. They could learn new skills necessary for them to compete in the fast growing business world at that time.
The premise of being able to attend one of these schools was different from the ability to attend a traditional college. To attend a traditional college, you had to and still have to apply to that college and be accepted. In order for one to receive acceptance to one of these traditional colleges you would have to have achieved a minimum level of educational grade standing from your high school. You would also have to have taken either a SAT or ACT exam and passed all parts of the exam with a high score.
Even with the fact that the potential student had achieved a good grade in High School and a good score on one of the two testing exams, due to the large number of applicants to these University’s most of them require other factors of consideration such as an essay submitted with the application, the applicant showing that they had performed other acts of community service or various other skills or actions in their spare time. On top of this the cost to attend a good college or university has skyrocketed over the years that most people without the benefit of financial aid could not afford to attend these institutions.
The Community college system tried to solve all of the problems in a person’s ability to
attend a college. The first criteria for acceptance were that the candidate must have a high school diploma or a GED degree. The second criteria was that you had to apply to the school. Every applicant had to be accepted, even if you had earned your high school diploma in another state.
The Community colleges were run by each state but were federally funded if they meet certain standards of operation as outlined by the US Department of Education. Because, the rules stated that anyone had to be accepted to the system as long as they had a High School Diploma or a GED degree, the colleges found that many of the incoming students were deficient in writing skills and math skills. To accept those students and allow them to take the basic core classes that relied on a certain basic level of ability in these skills would be disastrous to the students as they would not be able to pass many of the required courses that were needed to achieve a two year degree which was what these colleges offered.
To address this issue, the State of Florida Educational licensing department which incidentally is managed through the Florida Division of Agriculture, (don’t ask me why) required community colleges to test all incoming students to make sure that they have the skills and knowledge ability to be able to take and pass all courses offered at the schools. Those incoming students, who were not able to pass these tests, then were required to take and pass a remedial course in one or both subjects without earning a grade for doing that. Once they have taken and passed a grade in these two subjects they would then be able to take normal courses for a grade in the school.
In all due fairness, let me say that my spouse teaches classes at one of the community colleges in the area and has done so for the last twelve years. Even with those remedial courses, she still sees students turning in inferior reports that show poor grammar skills and many misspellings of words even in this day of spellcheck.
As I stated in the beginning of this report, the State legislature had dropped the requirement for those remedial courses. In talking to other Professors at the institution that my wife teaches at, they have all displayed dismay at the decision. The Community Colleges before this change in requirement had a large drop-out rate. I have read an article somewhere about a year ago that the community colleges had a 45% or more drop-out rate. This decision by the State legislature will only increase that number. Why they took this action, whether it was for money purposes or other, this issue needs to be addressed and remedied. Talk to your local legislative representative before the next session and express your dismay and concern over this matter.
UPDATE – Several months ago, I wrote a story about an important new program being offered at Nova Southeastern University on the subject of Child Protection. Now! recognizing how important a subject this is in light of recent events in the news, Nova Southeastern University along with the Broward Sheriffs, office is holding a conference on the subject of “Violence Knows No Boundaries”.
This conference will be held on February 7th from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Carl DeSantis Building on main campus.
The conference is FREE and is designed for those individuals who work in safety, law enforcement, child protection and health. The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness about the dangers out there for your children and to provide information and training to first responders and others who deal with violent situations.
If you are interested in attending this conference call 954-262-7001 to reserve a space. I am told there is limited seating at this conference so call today.