Marginal Students, Attending Marginal Educational Programs, Feel Marginalized

I have to double back on the silly shit happening on campuses.  A portion of the student body feels like they are being marginalized and discriminated against on college campuses.  Based on my experience, they may be right. But not in the way they mean.

Before I got this gig, I investigated student complaints from students attending career schools and proprietary schools.  Most of these are so called trade schools and certainly not representative of state universities and Ivy league universities.  However, some of these schools offer nursing programs that do cross over and do bear comparison to traditional colleges.  The other thing to keep in mind about nursing programs is that they typically have higher entry level and academic standards than almost every other program.

Students wishing to complain had to reduce their complaint to writing, on a form approved by the department.  There were instructions included on the form that described the type of issues that we would investigate.  Of the hundreds of complaints that I reviewed I can point to four that were reasonably well written, in that the complaints contained complete sentences, were punctuated properly more often than not, contained few misspellings and were coherent.

These students are supposed to have a high school education or a GED. The nursing students are required to take a standardized nationally recognized aptitude test. Even though the students clear these two hurdles they are unprepared for school.

Despite their advertising, the mission of a career school is to make money.  The target audience of career schools have no money.  What these students do have is the ability to affix their signature to a promissory note.  It is doubtful that they have the ability to read and comprehend the promissory note.  Based on their complaints I would say that they are unable comprehend the student catalog that outlines the rules that govern their education.  Here are some terms that seemed to be especially problematic:

“Student guaranteed loan” is a term that current and past students have a particular problem with:  students seem to think this means they are entitled to student loans.  The true meaning is that the government guarantees two things (1) If a lender lends money to these fools, the government will pay the debt when the student invariably defaults on the loan.  (2) Once the student defaults on the loan, the government is coming after the student.   It will garnish wages, impound tax refunds, disapprove any other loan applications and be there with pliers to strip the “golds” out of the student’s mouth the day they bury them.

“Satisfactory Performance.” is another term that eludes students,   Schools do not get loan money in a lump sum.  It is allocated on a quarterly basis.  In order for the government to keep paying and the school to keep collecting the student must demonstrate satisfactory performance.  This is done by demonstrating social skills commensurate with a college setting, rather than a pack of wild dogs. It means that the student will attend classes and not assault fellow students and professors. The professors will give quizzes, tests, and homework assignments to enable a student to demonstrate what they have learned.

Discrimination: Yet another term we hear a lot about that students seem to take out of context. Schools are allowed to practise discrimination when students demonstrate that they do not possess the necessary social skills and or academic skills to continue in a particular program.  1+1= 2, that is a black and white answer, there is no black only or white only answer.  Don’t get it, chances are the student is too stupid to continue in a college career. Schools are entitled to show these fools the door and tell them not to come back.

Courtesy and respect: Students conflate these terms into one meaning.  They are separate and distinct terms.  Students may have a reasonable expectation that they will be treated with courtesy.  They may also be treated with a minimum of respect.  But students should recall that while they may have been a big deal in the sixth grade, that all disappeared in 7th grade when they entered junior high school.  Same process here.  Breathing is an involuntary exercise, the fact that a student does it without prompting does not engender respect.

Applied Academic skills is a totally foreign concept not in use or under utilized in the current academic environment. Much of what these students are asking for are things their parents and grandparents fought to and died to defeat. Separate facilities, exclusionary memberships, advantage or disadvantage dictated by the color of one’s skin, indicates a complete unawareness of history.  The student’s expressed disdain for the ability to express oneself, associate with people of your own choosing and to exchange ideas without fear of sanction indicates a fundamental disconnect from American traditions.  Course these sentiments are entirely consistent with liberal and fascist thought.

Colleges have only themselves to blame.  They recruit students who do not have the life skills or academic skills to compete successfully in a college program.  They dilute the educational content and standards in an effort to keep grist moving through the mill.  They offer programs and degrees that have no value but offer the marginal students a way to progress and never be challenged.  It is the academic variation of a Ponzi scheme.

Future employers  want a true measure of a college graduate new hire? On the day of the interview give the candidate a Big Chief tablet and a #2 pencil and tell them to write a one page statement about themselves.  Let me know how you make out.