Tahlulah Solis used to think she didn’t need college to find a good job after high school, until a college and career class during her senior year at Portland’s Roosevelt High school changed her mind.
That college and career class did her no favors. There are plenty of good jobs available without a college degree.
A business degree would help Solis earn more money in the long run than joining the job market immediately, she realized, and it would teach her the skills to live out her dream of becoming a business owner.
Most business owners will tell you that real world experience far outweighs any book learning or college degree. If Solis wants to be a business owner, go to the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) run by the local community college. Those are the real-world courses that will make a difference. Otherwise, get a job in the field you’re interested in. Learn the business. You’re going to have to anyway, college degree or no.
Solis will start classes at Portland Community College in a few weeks with the help of Oregon Promise, a state grant that covers community college tuition for Oregon high school graduates.
A year ago Solis, who graduated this spring with a GPA just over 2.0, wouldn’t have made the cut.
Unless something has changed the dramatically, the odds are that Solis will not “make the cut” in college either. Why would she? She appears to be bad at academics.
The Legislature this year lowered the GPA requirement for the Oregon Promise grant from 2.5 to 2.0, a move that research suggests will help open the doors of higher education to more students of color, low-income students, young men and other underserved student groups.
Well, this certainly sounds like something the Oregon legislature would do. The perpetual Democratic theme of expecting less and of failing to hold individuals accountable grows tiresome.
If you can’t get a 2.5 in high school, do you belong in college? Is this what tax payers should pay for? I understand that extenuating circumstances in the high school years may make academic achievement difficult. This is one reason why standardized tests like the ACT or SAT should be a viable admissions substitute for grades. (Instead they’ve been removed as an admissions criteria by many colleges under the guise of so-called “equity.”)
We should want to broadly fund education. I want your kid to be smart. Society is better with smarter people. I am in fact happy to make community college close to free for smart students. (I do think there should be a small out of pocket cost so that the system is not abused. I envision this similar to small $10-$20 medical co-pays.) I am less thrilled about funding the high ed endeavors of bad students. We’ve got better things we can do with tax dollars.
We simply must come to grips with the idea that not everyone is cut out for college. We have no problem saying that about the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, etc. Some people are simply better than others at certain skills. It’s unclear to me why we cannot face that same truth about academics.
I will again object, as I frequently do, to the inclusion of identity language. While lowering the GPA requirement may help “more students of color, low-income students, young men and other underserved student groups,” these are not relevant criteria. None of those categories pertain to the issue which is whether tax payers should fund people to do something they are demonstrably incapable of doing well.
I want to college to be affordable for good students:
When Marlene Peña, 19, starts at Rogue Community College this month, she will take the first steps toward her goal of becoming the first person in her family to earn a college degree.
It’s a dream that Peña’s sisters had to abandon for financial reasons, she said. For a while, she thought she would have to do the same. Her single mother makes too much money for Peña to qualify for need-based aid but not enough for the family to afford college tuition without loans.
After seeing the price tag at four-year universities, Peña decided she would start school at a community college, where Oregon Promise and other scholarships from her high school will cover the cost of her tuition and fees. Peña graduated from high school with a near-perfect GPA and would have qualified for the Promise grant without the expansions.
Peña, with her “near-perfect GPA,” is exactly who society needs to support in her educational endeavors. The expansion of the Oregon Promise grants to low-achieving students makes no difference to her, so her inclusion in the story is questionable at best, but it highlights Oregon Promise grants working as they should: making college affordable for good students. (Notably here, if Peña’s mom is making so much that, with at least two other college-age siblings, Peña did not qualify for needs-based scholarships, well, Peña’s mom is making a lot of money.)