County colleges fairing poorly in funding chase

The New York Times is reporting that a new report will be issued tomorrow that finds community colleges, which serve the bulk of the nation’s poor and minority students, are getting less and less help from governments of all levels.

Community colleges have received a declining share of government spending on higher education over the last decade even as their student bodies have become poorer and more heavily African-American and Latino, according to a report to be released Thursday.

“Many community colleges end up receiving minimal federal support,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, which is publishing the report. “The kids with the greatest needs receive the fewest resources.”

The report argues that colleges have become increasingly separate and unequal, evoking the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, which barred racial segregation in elementary and secondary schools. Higher education today, the report says, is stratified between four-year colleges with high graduation rates that serve largely affluent students and community colleges with often dismal graduation rates that serve mostly low-income students.

This is probably not a surprise to people affiliated with the schools, which like their four-year brethren are using fewer full-time staffers and relying to a greater degree on adjuncts and part-time faculty to cut costs. The cutting means that those of us who teach at community colleges have less time for students, which leaves them even more vulnerable than in the past.

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