- Susan Markush
- Worthington, MA
- United States
biology instructor, Greenfield Community College
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Should Community Colleges be forced to focus on middle skill workforce development through budgetary control
Recently, there has been a topdown push to centralize the administration, curricula and even college missions of community colleges nationwide, despite studies that have shown centralization does not serve the needs of certain geographical areas better. Moreover, this centralization would erode the traditional focus on a solid educational foundation — one that has helped hundreds of thousands of students around any state reach for better opportunities, whether by gaining the requisite skills or certifications for a good job or transferring to competitive 4-year institutions — and replace it with a strictly school to- workforce model. Disturbingly, this marks a radical break from the traditional community college mission of open access, a mission that many hard-working families rely on in order to afford higher education.
Consequently, community colleges might wind up as technical schools, cutting off access for our most vulnerable populations to the kinds of jobs that require a B.A. or higher degree: the very jobs that pay more, offer better benefits, and drive the global economy in the 21st century. This shift is fueled by our current economic climate, national rhetoric about college accountability and an array of wild cards, including individual political ambitions and other questionable agendas.