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Archive for the ‘Students who fail’ Category

Slip out the back, Jack

In Education, Government Waste, Students who fail on March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

money1I walked into my classroom this week, midway through the semester, and see 4 students. That’s all. Out of 24 who were signed up and 23 who showed up the first week, all I had in front of me were these students. These are all who I will see the rest of the semester.

No, it’s not that so many realized they failed-in fact not one student of mine left failing. Was the problem me? No, not by the appearance of every classroom I peered into and those I continue to gauge. No, not by the comments made by other professors. “It’s just what happens at this point,” stated a colleague.

Of course, I know this, having been through it for years, but for some reason it really struck me as tragic. Perhaps its the consecutive semesters that it has happened with no solution in sight.

What has happened is something I wrote about as the Indianapolis Colt’s football team approached the playoffs last season.

There were countless reasons why the students I had stopped showing up. They sometimes would tell me what happened–car problems, jail, too much on their plate. Sometimes they were just there to collect the financial-aid refund check and never come back. They didn’t play to win. Something in their management team said it wasn’t important to pass the class–to win.

While some safeguards have been put in place, I cannot say it’s enough. Many of my students brag when their financial aid refund checks are deposited that they are getting $7-8 THOUSAND dollars, mostly in Pell and other grants, and know they don’t need to show up for the rest of the semester. They get their check and they are gone. This has to be, by far, the worst semester I have ever seen.

The cost of not only college tuition and books is considered when financial aid is determined, but also the cost of living. Students are not required to show receipts for any expense. Once the money is deposited to them, they have no accountability. Students brag about the $4,000 laptop they bought and Disney vacations.

Study upon scholarly study talks about retention rates. They discuss ‘drop-outs’ but don’t want to talk about Higher Education’s dirty-little-secret. They don’t want to discuss going to school just for the money. College Boards and focus groups discuss merits of ‘opportunity for all’ and the all-time ‘high’ numbers of college degree awardees. There is a stark difference between students who don’t come back for their sophomore year, and those who show up for the first day of class to collect their check. And what college wants to release that information?

I could go into details, show you the statistics along racial and poverty lines, but (heaven forbid) I appear to be politically incorrect. I am sure union thugs would show up at my doorstep demanding a retraction.

debt

 

Yes, in the long run, it may cost students–but it is ultimately affecting us, the taxpaying citizen, who foots the bill for the ‘opportunity’. I would like to see the statistics on student loan repayment. I tend to believe it is nearly as large as the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Collecting that debt is costly and not nearly as successful as the former.

 

 

Not only is public education policy at the state and local level bankrupting America, but the higher education level as well.

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Why did I fail?

In Students who fail on December 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

“Why did I fail?”

Seldom do I get a question like this, but tecently I received an email from a student who didn’t understand her failing grade. With 6 tests she flunked compiled with the amount of homework incomplete  and her sporadic attendance record–she didn’t have a plan to win.  There were no priorities to pass the class.

Now, this is not a typical 18-year old without much worldly-experience…this is a 60 year-0ld woman who has been in college for a couple of years, and coincidentally failed the same class twice before.

She wants to be a psychologist. So far, she has no winning plan to get there.

I work with adults, anywhere from the age of 18 to 70. They come from a very diverse pool of socioeconomic backgrounds and an even larger pool of life experiences. There is no rhyme or reason, so far,  as to those students who pass other than effort and a plan to win.

I tell each one of them during the first week of class that I will do everything I can to teach them, but it is up to them to learn it.  My success rate is very high with students who try. Obviously, as I stated, trying isn’t enough, but without commitment to reach a goal…it will be unattainable.

I had a golf coach once, in high school,  tell me that the ball will never go in the hole unless you get it there.  I stopped my trepidation  of overshooting, and gave the ball a chance to reach the hole.  My putting game picked up dramatically.

I have a plan for next year to take my children on a family vacation. I need to start that Savings account now.  Planning to win. Not failing to plan.

Colts are like my students who f-ailed

In Colts, Students who fail on December 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Today, as I watched the Indianapolis Colts play football, I realized they were like my students who F-ailed. They didn’t fail for lack of trying, rather, the coaching staff made a decision to stop the possibility of winning.  On the verge of a perfect season…on the verge of fulfilling a fan’s greatest dream…they looked like losers. I could hear the collective let-down and frustration of the fans across the state when they went 14-1.

Out of 125 students this semester,  I had a handful of students who failed because they stopped attending. They earned a different type of F-ailure, and for the first time our college will designate that on a transcript . Their financial aid will be impacted.

There were countless reasons why the students I had stopped showing up. They sometimes would tell me what happened–car problems, jail, too much on their plate. Sometimes they were just there to collect the financial-aid refund check and never come back.  Most of the time they were just too ashamed, I supposed, to come back after having been gone. They didn’t play to win. Something in their management team said it wasn’t important to pass the class–to win.

My heart went out to the few students who failed my class this semester. It wasn’t for lack of trying.  They showed up for every class, they did their homework, they came for extra help…but something just didn’t click. And for that I admire them.

If the Colts had lost a hard-fought battle, the fans would have forgiven them.  Instead, the coaching staff put in a 3rd string quarterback when the team was behind. They began pulling their starters out, shortly thereafter. They never had a chance of winning once they decided to give up.

Oh, sure, some will say it was to ‘save’ the other players..to rest them for the upcoming playoffs… but the only thing the fans saw, was f-ailure.

When people give up, they f-ail to win. It’s more than failure.