Joyce asked: Do you believe that the risk is community college itself (i.e., is it WORSE than the universities in moral issues – which I cannot imagine!) or is it the age at which our h.s. juniors and seniors are when they encounter it? I’d really like to hear what you think about this.
I do NOT believe that the experience at community college has anything at all do do with the age of our students, and I don’t believe it has anything to do with naivete in general. Read this mother’s blog post. She is neither a young student, nor is she naive, and yet she has problems with community college as well – unique difficulties that we haven’t previously discussed. I think that the stories we hear about our children would be the SAME stories we would hear if WE were going to community college. It’s not the kids, it’s the environment.
I believe that community colleges are often worse than public universities, although I know that universities have their own unique challenges. Public universities will often (not always) have higher academic expectations, and (more importantly perhaps) the students population will often have higher academic expectations. Community college students are frequently remedial in one way or another. They often aren’t ready for a university – financially, academically, socially, or for some other reason. That means they can be a challenge to educate. For that reason, professors have told me that they use the “sex sells” approach. In a high school, although there are many issues, there are generally limits to the use of sex to sell their educational product. There are usually no such limits in a community college. Community colleges are meant to be an adult environment. They cater to the broad expanse of adults, not the unique subset of homeschool young adults who don’t want to mix education with unrelated material. Those adults include “adjudicated individuals” as one community college official warned me. She was extremely concerned about young, innocent homeschoolers in a classroom with newly released criminals. I’m sure the criminal element is relatively rare (although how would we know?) but the point is still important.
To me, it seems like community college will often have the socialization you normally see in a public high school. It will have the adult content and worldview of a university but without the normal limits seen at a university. Because they are public institutions, community colleges come complete with all the “public school” worldview and academics, which is the reason why many homeschoolers left public school to begin with. Some of those issues will also be present in a public university, like you mentioned, but other issues are unique because of the mix of students and teachers in a community college.
I know that I have a very unique perspective on community college, and I don’t think for a minute that my view is “right” and others are “wrong.” I also know that parents will make decisions about their children that I can’t make because I don’t know their kids – but they do! Parents are the best people to make these choices, that’s for sure! I’m just trying to open the discussion to include these issues. What I see in my homeschool community is that parents are feeling pressured to put their children into dual enrollment as a Junior in high school. I’m trying to remove that pressure, so that people can make judgments based on their understanding of the situation, and not do it just because other people are doing it.
Do you have your own community college experience? Join the conversation by adding your comments!