Faculty and students at Bellevue College are alarmed by the University of Washington’s “The Daily’s” recent articles on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s “concern with over-enrollment at community colleges.”
According to the article, University of Washington’s Regent Craig Cole stated, at a discussion between Boards of Regents in December, that, “Statistically, the worst way to create a baccalaureate degree is to start somebody in a two-year [institution]. That is just a fact.”
Ironically, the University of Washington enrolled 1,600 students from community college for their 2009 autumn quarter. Cole graduated from Fairhaven College where, according to the school’s website, “students can design their own degree programs.”
Just back in October, President Barack Obama held a White House Summit on Community Colleges to highlight the important roles these institutions play in providing Americans, “good jobs and a better life.” The purpose of the summit was to boost the reputation of the many schools across the United States that provide millions of students with skills training and a less expensive path to a college degree. Obama highlighted the fact that community colleges are still a great option even though they are battling with high enrollment rates and drop-out rates.
“These are places where young people can continue their education without taking on a lot of debt. These are places where workers can gain new skills to move up in their careers.” Obama went as far as to call community colleges the “unsung heroes of America’s education system.”
“We are in a fight for the future, a fight that depends on education. And cutting aid for 8 million students or scaling back our community — or our commitment to community colleges, that’s like unilaterally disarming our troops right as they head to the front lines.”
However, Gov. Chris Gregoire disagrees: “Forever they [community colleges] have had this policy of ‘the door is wide open’… They are over-enrolled unbelievably … and so I said, ‘You guys, you are going to compromise the dickens out of your quality. Once we come out of the recession, your doors might be wide open, but who would want to go there?’”
Gregoire and the regents failed to mention the statistics that show that WA State community college transfer students graduate at the same rate as direct entry university students.
An irritated “The Daily” reader commented, “I graduated from a Washington State high school with a miserable 2.3 GPA. My only higher education option was to enroll into a community college which I did in 2002. I found that I excelled in college and proved it by graduation from Bellevue Community College with a 3.9 GPA, University of Washington Bothell with a 3.7 GPA, and the #1 global graduate business school in the world, Thunderbird School of Global Management, with a 3.4 GPA”
“My life would be drastically different if I had not been accepted into BCC, and I would hope, as a Husky alumnus, that we would never promote limiting access to students like myself.” Another reader said, “Reagent Cole and Governor Gregoire owe Washington’s taxpayers an apology for this gross distortion of the facts n the ground.”
Look out for a series of articles relating to community college education in the upcoming weeks.