It was a big day for community colleges. Jill Biden, a community college professor, introduced President Obama at a White House conference yesterday. He called community colleges the "unsung heroes" of our educational system. The day's dessert: a $35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will be used to reverse a serious problem. Just about half of the students in community colleges don't get certificates or complete their associates' degrees.
The high cost of four-year colleges and a lousy economy have led to many articles and discussions on the benefits of attending a community college for two years so that the total cost of an undergraduate education (two more years in a regular four-year college) is more manageable.
Seems to me we are asking a lot of these schools which have seen decreased funding by local and state governments. We want them to help out the kids who wouldn't have even considered a community college a few years ago as well as the traditional constituency. And right now, for whatever reason, these schools aren't fulfilling their goal of students ready and able to move on to complete their college education or land a good job as a fully trained worker.
Good luck to our community colleges -- they need it, and we need them.