Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

"This Isn't Working!" New York's Mayor Intends to Take City's Community Colleges out of the Remediation Business

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

"This Isn't Working!" New York's Mayor Intends to Take City's Community Colleges out of the Remediation Business

Article excerpt

New York -- In a starting pronouncement, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani called on the city's six community colleges late last month to halt all remedial education.

Giuliani contends that under-prepared students do not belong in a college setting and he threatened to yank all city funding if the two-year institutions refuse to comply.

It was not immediately clear what impact such a move might have on the six City University of New York (CUNY) community colleges, which have a combined enrollment of nearly 70,000 students. But the mayor's office says putting a stop to remediation at the schools would reduce the number of students in the system by at least 75 percent.

"There comes a point, after fifteen years of tragically plummeting graduation rates and a total evisceration of standards, that somebody has to say, "This isn't working,'" Giuliani said.

The proposal piggy-backs remarks the Republican mayor made earlier in the month in his "State of the City Address" in which he called for an end to open enrollment at the six colleges.

Giuliani's remarks trouble some educators, who fear that the final outcome here in the nation's largest city may become a bellwether for what happens elsewhere across the country.

"We remain unalterably opposed to that type of restrictive policy," said Dr. David Pierce, president of the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. "In most states, policies have been moving in the direction of having community colleges take over more of the responsibility for remediation. This runs counter to that."

CUNY system official have remained remarkably calm. Dr. Christoph M. Kimmich, the interim chancellor, said that Giuliani to strengthen the educational preparation of incoming freshmen before they are admitted to CUNY community colleges."

But some of the system's staunchest defenders lashed out angrily at the mayor, accusing him of manipulating statistics to tell a one-sided story that distorts reality.

"The mayor's bully," said Dr. Joshua L. Smith, a higher education professor at New York University and director of the school's Urban Community College Leadership Program. "His public utterances are more appropriate for the traditional eighteen-year-old, well-prepared student who is attending a liberal arts college right out of high school."

Indeed, Giuliani repeatedly has blasted the system's community colleges for what he says is a dismal graduation rate -- about 1 percent after two years. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.