First a word from the President of the United States of America.
For the technical almost outsourcing proof jobs he has in mind, STEM jobs that might not work out.
The First Law: Students who are not interested will remain uninterested and students who are interested will remain interested, and make progress, unless acted upon by outside forces.
The students who come to class uninterested in the material in the first place will not be made interested by the instructors passion. There are students who come and say they weren't interested who discover or admit that they really were by the end. However, at community colleges students who are just taking physics or astronomy or chemistry because they are forced to and they don't really care about it will not start caring.
I had a passionate chemistry teacher and since I don't care for Chem I remained uninterested.
I am a passionate teacher of Astronomy and Physics guess what, students who don't care don't start caring because of me. They find it in them.
The Second Law: The quality of the students who graduate from a STEM program at a community College (AA or AS degree) is directly proportional to the standards of the faculty and inversely proportional to the square of the quality of the students high school preparation.
The standards set by the faculty of the college can be stated in terms of graduation rate. Since community colleges aren't selective if more than 50% of the students graduate in a district with bad high school preparation then that faculties standards are likely to low. That said, the high school preparation of the students gives a much greater influence on how well the college student will perform.
The Third Law: The adjuncticity of the college must always increase in any cost saving process.
The percentage of the faculty which works on a contingent basis, the adjuncticity, in STEM at community colleges will only increase. Full time positions can be replaced by either splitting the load between two adjuncts or by simply load an adjunct down with a full time equivalent load while paying them as little as possible. Full time STEM faculty desire not just to teach but to engage in some form of research which these days can involve undergraduates even those who are in their first two years at a 4 years college or at a community college. Full time faculty also will want to publish every once in a while. Adjuncts aren't expected to never mind that the whole point of getting advanced degrees in science is to do research.
The fourth law: The value of a particular degree is proportional to the inverse square of the percentage of the population that have that degree. This is the law of credential inflation.
More people having the Associates degree will not necessarily grow the middle class. Right now I have the degree of Master of Science and my income alone would make me qualify as working poor even while working for three colleges in two districts. That is with a degree in science which I am told is hard to attain in comparison to any other degree. To get full time at a community college I would have to get a PhD....but with a PhD I can't imagine being constrained by what a community college could offer. There are plenty of underemployed BS MS and PhD holders. Although of course if you have a PhD you have a job of some kind.
My mother got an AS in nursing back in the 70's. Now there is a reason it takes a BS or MS in some cases to get the same entry level jobs. At lower levels in the name of democratizing education we have promised equality of outcomes not just equality of opportunity. If someone starts community college not knowing how to make change for a $50 if I pay them $5.50 then they will have trouble in a STEM career even one that only needs the AA or AS.
TL DR If we want community colleges to turn out people who are career ready as President Obama plans on we need reform starting at Kindergarten and going through 12th grade. Two more years of community college will not make up for students who couldn't do well in high school.
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