Few Baltimore students earn degrees at 2-year college

Baltimore high school graduates increasingly go to community colleges rather than four-year colleges, according to a Johns Hopkins report (pdf). It reported in the Baltimore Sun. Only 5.8 percent of those who started at a two-year college earned a degree in six years compared with 34 percent of those who started at four-year-colleges, reports the Baltimore Education Research Consortium. The report tracks the class of ’04 through 2010.

Baltimore lacks a “college-going culture,” researchers said. The city sends fewer high school graduates to college than the national average. Some city schools now focus on career preparation, offering the chance to earn certificates in a range of fields such as health, bioscience, hospitality and cosmetology.

Since 2008, the number of career-preparation programs offered in the city has jumped more than 50 percent, and the number of students participating in them has increased by nearly 40 — to more than 6,200.

Parents are concerned about “their kids’ readiness to do well in the real world,” city schools CEO Andres Alonso said earlier this year in a discussion about career preparation versus college preparation.

Guidance counselors should encourage more students to attend four-year colleges, the report advised.

That’s not realistic, responded Mark McColloch, vice president of instruction for the Community College of Baltimore County. Eighty-nine percent of new CCBC students in 2010 needed remedial classes, he said.

Only 5 percent of Baltimore students completed a CCBC degree from 2004 to 2010, according to the report.

“The achievement is a function of background … not a function of someone doing something wrong, whether it be in college or high school, to Baltimore City students,” McColloch said. “It’s that students who are more at-risk come to two-year schools. And we are better prepared to deal with someone from that kind of background.”

Sending unprepared students — 89 percent fail the CCBC placement test! — to four-year colleges and universities doesn’t seem like a bright idea to me.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON September 22, 2011

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