Friday, December 2, 2011

NC Governor Bev Perdue’s Career and College (Empty) Promise

As a high school principal, it is glaringly clear to me that we’ve got to find a way for high school students to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. Before the imploding of the economy, and massive budget cuts, my students had several options to earn college credit both online and through a local community college. Now, there are no opportunities for my students to earn college credit.

When Governor Bev Perdue announced a few weeks ago her Career and College Promise program, I was excited because perhaps now,  there was a way for the students at my school to earn college credit. Alas, it was not to be. Governor Bev Perdue’s Career and College Promise program is heavy on the “promise” but weak on the “delivery.”

According to her own web site, the main components of Governor Perdue’s Career and College Promise initiative includes:
  • Students can earn tuition-free course credits toward a four-year degree through North Carolina’s community colleges.
  • Students can earn tuition-free course credits at a North Carolina community college toward an entry-level job credential, certificate, or diploma in a technical career.
  • Cooperative innovative high schools (limited availability) Students begin earning tuition-free college credits as a high school freshman by attending a cooperative innovative high school.
Students may not be paying tuition, but they are still paying “fees” and for textbooks. But let's even look at a more deceptive statement right from the governor's web site:
“Eligible high school students can begin earning credit at a community college campus at no additional cost.”
What is wrong with this statement? It’s the “no additional cost.” According to my local community college, there are additional costs. There is a $26.25 “fee” for each course, and students pay as much as $150 for textbooks.

I understand that my students still are getting college courses much cheaper, but my real problem is how governor's rhetoric misleads the public and especially the parents of my students. I’m the one who has to tell them that Governor Perdue’s “promise” is not entirely true.

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