Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gadot are you there?

 Much was made from the Drive to 55 called the Tennessee Promise, the plan that enabled Tennessee high schoolers free community college for the first two years to encourage career readiness and long term financial success.  And of course when it comes to Education this is one state that likes to stay in the bottom five as without a firm commitment to income inequity the red state may turn a paler shade even pink possibly and we cannot have that.  As then here in Tennessee the issues of segregation, income inequality, nativism and other classifications that enable the moral majority to remain in place or said majority might collapse. That cannot happen.  Change is only for the pocket and gentrification is great for white people.

Nashville has a love hate relationship with gentrification. On the plus side it is pushing the poor and largely minority groups out to the periphery.   By having a swelling and growing population it enables them to have a larger workforce in which to choose and in turn maintain wages at low rates. The Chamber of Commerce has confirmed that and today they actually grade the schools.  As if any of them have ever set foot in any of them.  Laughable as this is ground zero for school choice and in turn no one who is white and/or can afford to enroll elsewhere do.  I have never seen nor actually heard of K-12 schools, all non-secular, before  and look as if they are taken from the yards at Harvard.   Funny, however, with all these grand institutions that individuals possessing higher degrees has hovered at 33-35% for decades.  Again the better to maintain the status quo my dear.

The next two weeks means I am happy as hell and I am not back to work until the 5th of January and that first gig is at the "better" school so it means a good day for all and all a good year.  Well that is until I walk into one of the "others" which I have made a resolution to avoid at all costs. I cannot take anymore of what I experienced last week at three different schools.  Not one, none were stable, safe learning environments and it showed from the lessons left to the  lack of decent food, support or any kind of dignity left by those in the front of the classroom as well as those in the back of the school.  Even Administrators and others have given up and they are just waiting for whom or what I don't know? Gadot perhaps? And by Gadot I mean Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman.



Dropout rates remain high at Tennessee colleges, especially among black students, report says
Jason Gonzales, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published Dec. 13, 2017

Even as Tennessee is being praised for opening college doors through Tennessee Promise and other programs, there are signs that some of higher education's biggest and most persistent hurdles still keep many students from succeeding.

Enrollment and retention have ticked up at community colleges, according to a report released Wednesday by the education advocacy group Complete Tennessee. But dropout rates remain alarmingly high, especially for poor and minority students.

"While we have seen some improvements in postsecondary attainment, our most vulnerable citizens are still struggling to earn the credentials necessary to compete for in-demand, local jobs,” said Kenyatta Lovett, Complete Tennessee executive director.

Among the findings in the "Beneath the Surface: State of Higher Education in Tennessee" report:

Community college enrollment has grown by 2 percent from 2016-2017, but enrollment trends across other institutions are relatively flat.
Despite efforts to increase adult participation in higher education, adult enrollment has dropped 25 percent since 2011.
Student retention rates have increased, but black students are more likely to drop out than their peers.
Despite Tennessee's historically low unemployment rates, black residents experience higher levels of unemployment despite many earning similar degrees or credentials.

The report says the state must focus on these issues, especially as the state seeks to get more Tennesseans a college education through its Drive to 55 initiative.

"Current achievement gaps raise questions about the possibility or the moral standard of achieving the Drive to 55 goal if certain groups of Tennesseans are left behind," according to the report.

Tennessee's struggles aren't unique. Colleges nationwide have faced similar challenges.

But Lovett said there are examples Tennessee can pull from to push for improvements here, especially in retaining low-income and minority students.

"There are monetary returns on investment," Lovett said. "And it is beneficial for communities."

The report highlights practices from around the country that Tennessee colleges can look toward. It also calls for action in enacting solutions.

One such best practice Lovett said is schools can begin to look toward making a student's education more hands-on, especially through internships. That creates relevance and helps build student networks with jobs, he said.

"For low-income students and students of color, their networks aren’t as advanced or as broad as some of their peers," Lovett said. "Employers and colleges should ensure that students have robust experiences and understanding of the work, as well as how to enter into career fields."

Gov. Bill Haslam has said his priorities and budget in 2018 will put a spotlight on low graduation rates, although it is unclear exactly what he will do.

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