After 6 years of enrolling, 70% don't make it out of Community College

An article about community college and being what the famous student activist and current SPACE Director JP Bareng Schumacher calls, "transfer-stuck"

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Six years after they started college, more than 70 percent of community college students are failing to earn an associate's degree, get a certificate, or transfer to a four-year school, according to a study released Tuesday.

It also found that black and Latino students fare even worse than the general population, with only 22 percent of Latino students and 26 percent of black students reaching their academic goals within six years.
I felt mighty uncomfortable adhering so strictly to the "Pilipino" in Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership while outreaching. I don't think were all balling or anything, but I think the word tended to obstruct any initial access. I used to say we were "based" on Pilipino groups, and would emphasize in the next sentence how we outreached to whoever.

"Sometimes I feel like school is making me more stupid because I'm wasting time learning obsolete information I'll never use," said Sam Wouters, 22, of Azusa, who is in his fourth year at Citrus College.

That's what my Anthro degree feels like at times with so much of the UCLA focus on theory and reading. I wish I learned SPSS, GIS, some kind of computer application something to get me in the door of fitting the research demands.

So I'm in Grad School Now

And looking at the Decisionmaking-tracking thing, wow, I am a total fucking idiot.

I was totally aiming to go to the Rutgers program because any topic I'm interested in they have there, but I was in a relationship that I thought was the greatest fucking thing in the world, and ended up not applying.

Now that relationship is done, I'm at Cal State Long Beach's Anthro program, which isn't bad and is local, but...oh well, I think it's an opportunity. I'm still connected to UCLA and can use their libraries.

I think I needed an M.A. program to get my feet wet for this whole academia and research thing. One grad student with an MA already told me that you shouldn't even go to grad school if you don't get funded 3/4s of the way. Thank god Long Beach is dirt-fucking cheap. Plus, I got grants to pay for this year!

As to the actual content of this program, the Department head said something to the effect of "you come in, you do your thesis, you're done." Accordingly this experience as a springboard onto something.

Keywords to my topic at this juncture: cops, cognition, decisionmaking, episodic memories, public engagement, justifications, argumentation, the metaphor of ownership.

So I'm interested in two topics: either message boards and police and community relations. I got interested in message boards because I post on basketball ones all the time, and police and community relations.

What kind of job am I going to get? I still don't know. Adjunct professor, researcher? Professional blogger?

I'm just hoping that the Census calls me again sometime within the next 2 years and asks me to interview people full time.


Scholarship Researching Woes

So when my cheerios got pissed on and remembering what the non-traditional student mom was posting about, I decided that I was going to look up ways to fund another round of edumacation without taking more loans.

I stumbled upon the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's scholarship for undergraduate transfer students. This would be incredibly good stuff to know for Bayanihan students.

Then I look at the Sallie Mae website, and it has scholarships for black and Latino students exclusively but none for the middling Model Minorities who are yellow and brown, including another Community College Scholarship Fund. I think it's really important that black and Latino students have those sources of support, but what are the networks that help other students?


Right Down Our Alley: The UCR California Community College Collaborative

UCR Via SoCal Minds

UCR's Community College collaborative holding a forum about the Critical Issues facing Community Colleges on June 10th. See here for details.

I didn't know about UCR's Community College Collaborative before 8:00 AM this morning, and now I know and what they do sounds like its right down our alley, except supported by older people with suits and all kinds of brag sheets. They've got some interesting current projects including an investigation of under-represented graduate students and promising practices for transferring.

We should keep a CBS eyeball on them.

In context of promoting the event, they brought up an interesting stat about community colleges:

Dropout rate of the California community college is 75%. ! ? Had never seen a stat like that before.

Perhaps a bit over-inflated to me, but still, given the fact that only 25% of people actually do transfer, and the reality that I almost expect some Filipino, black, or Latino dude that I might meet randomly by the unity that is basketball to be dabbling in some job they hate, it's probably not that far off.

But on the other hand, maybe it's not so grave as these academicians want you to think. There are probably lots of reasons why people drop out and sometimes maybe it's for the better? What good is all this education and degree-achieving if you can haul in some money more quickly and sustainably via other means?


Eerily Similar?

I see Ivan Penetrante and I see Mike Brown, but I've never seen them in the same room at the same time. Could they be...ONE AND THE SAME?!

Ivan Penetrante says he's always busy in San Diego doing community work...

Mike Brown says he's always busy coaching professional basketball...

In addition to their strikingly similar physical appearances, both share the same noticeably vague responses when probed about their whereabouts on various occasions.

Something is eerily similar about these two...there seem to be more than a few "coincidences" linking them

Both of them have the virtually the same physical characteristics as evidenced in the photos above, but the Ivan Penetrante identity bears a much lighter skin pigmentation and stands a conspicuous 5 foot 4. They wear glasses styled from Versace, though the Mike Brown character tends to diversify his selection which is coherent with his identity as a multi-million dollar professional basketball coach while Ivan Penetrante, a self-styled community organizer, holds steadfastly to his brand of Versace glasses. Both claim to have attended Mesa Community College in San Diego, with Ivan Penetrante attending almost exactly 15 years before Mike Brown. The most striking similarity however resides in the both over-explanatory San Diegan dialect, also witnessed in Tony Gwynn.

Both of their identities could not seem more divergent, but this is exactly what Mike Brown/Ivan Penetrante wants you to think. There is a mountain of evidence with a multitude of underlying threads that proves that Ivan Penetrante and Mike Brown are...ONE AND THE SAME!

Let's review the facts shall we:

-Mike Brown, previously an unknown scout in the NBA, assumed the position as NBA Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 2, 2005

-Nine days later, a previously unknown student at UCLA, surfaced at the UCLA PTSP Debut on June 11, 2005 to the surprise of many PTSP members. His name was Ivan Penetrante, introduced as one of the PTSP Bayanihan Project's Peer Advisors. Why was he unknown until then?

-In a chance meeting on Janss steps on the afternoon of June 27th, PTSP Bayanihan Project Director Brian J. Delas Armas encounters his new mysterious Peer Advisor Ivan Penetrante. Ivan Penetrante seems evasive in answering questions strenuously attempting to avoid eye contact with said project director.

-After 2 months, extensive talks, and teeth-pulling Ivan Penetrante finally became Assistant Director of the first full-year of the PTSP Bayanihan in August 2005. Could it be that his coaching job as Mike Brown was holding him back?

-On June 2, 2007, Mike Brown, coach of the Cavaliers leads his team to the NBA Finals

-Having mysteriously "graduated" a quarter before everyone else, Ivan Penetrante resurfaces for the 2006-2007 PTSP debut on June 3, 2007 in decidedly "happier" spirits than usual, even managing to wear a shirt and tie, which he normally does not do. Or does he? Perhaps he was just too drained from travelling to Los Angeles to change from his suit?

Mere coincidences?

I think not.

We have not heard from the likes of Ivan Penetrante nor Mike Brown, but were hoping one of these characters will make an appearance at the 2009 PTSP Debut.

Imported Filipino Teachers

If we were on Family Feud and we talk about jobs people from the Philippines migrate to the US for, we usually talk about nurses and engineers.

Now the survey says teachers as well.

From Teresa Watanabe's article in the LA Times via the Angry Asian Man:

More than 100 school districts, including at least 20 in California, are recruiting from the Philippines, said Los Angeles immigration attorney Carl Shusterman.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has hired 250 to 300 teachers from the Philippines -- the largest contingent among more than 600 foreign exchange teachers overall, a district official said.

...Filipino teachers are lured by far better pay in the United States. Most teachers in the Philippines earn $300 to $400 a month, less than one-tenth what they can pull down in Los Angeles.

It's great that Filipinos can make their money here and get their own form of self- education here, but dang, I can't help but feel a combination of frustration at myself first and foremost for not preparing myself that adequately after graduation, and still somewhat betrayed that as a Filipino-American with an American education and a B.A., it feels like there's still a bunch of hoops I have to jump through just to get a job as a teacher. I could still teach at LAUSD if I really wanted to, but it feels like it might get in the way of other stuff that I might want to do.

Meanwhile, they're importing people in droves who have to get used to all this kind of cultural stuff inside and outside of the classroom. Sounds like the Peace Corps in reverse.

Anyhow, there's a documentary called The Learning. It's about the experiences of these teachers imported from the Philippines teaching in...Baltimore. Baltimore! Bodymore!

Should be especially resonant, especially for you fans of The Wire.

Issues with Remediality and Falling Behind

The crossroad between complete failure and success,
It’s so necessary you pay attention in class
Never tell you the conditions in which to apply to math
Only 65% of your peers freshman year are still here
And half that total will move on
But three out of four will drop out in two years
Add it up and it equals some shit has gone wrong - Geologic, Blue Scholars

After having once been an honors math student, I finished high school kind of behind in my math skill building, placing in Precalculus. "Behind" is a term of relativity And my high school was/is the type where 99% of the graduates went to a 4-year university.

Part of the reason I avoided math, throughout high school, I didn't want to be stuck in the "remediality" of precalculus at UC-Santa Cruz. Of course I knew it wasn't remedial and taught all that I would need to know for the next level, but it felt like punishment for not getting it right the first time.

Punishment is exactly what the remedial classes sound like in this NY Times Article, which draws a link between remedial classes and community college drop-out rates.

More than a million college freshmen across the nation must take remedial courses each year, and many drop out before getting a degree. Poorly run public schools are a part of the problem, but so is a disconnect between high schools and colleges.

BTW, the high school drop out rate in LA reached 34.9%!

Based on my own experience and these stats, my hunch says that there is an explicit and implicit pressure on "failure" and "being behind." Like I said earlier, it seems like a punishment for not doing something earlier. As mentioned in the article, it's a double kick to the shins that you don't even "earn" credits for "remedial" classes. Nobody wants to really hear that they're behind, yet again. And if they are, why bother if you're not really sure you're going to get a pay off from what seems like a "swimming against the tide"?

Under that pressure, students are saying "fuck it" and not going through with anything.

As I have been reading in articles about the consumerist-mindset that has pervaded and perverted the student mindset:

As Rinehart (1993) argues, "Students cannot be considered the primary customer of education for the purpose of educational quality, for this simple reason: students have no conception of what they must learn; they are, after all, students" (p. 59).