Trash Talk Tuesday: Bonus?

A straight cut-and-paste from the 411 email on Graduation 2013 and, yes, Reinvention:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced today that nearly 4,000 students are expected to earn an associate’s degree from City Colleges this year — the largest number in more than two decades, and an 80 percent increase since Reinvention began. “We could not be prouder of these students and their results. From our early learning programs to our City Colleges, we are working to ensure that every student in this city receives a high-quality education that helps them succeed in life,” said Mayor Emanuel. CCC is forecasting the federal IPEDS graduation rate will increase to 12 percent for 2013, up 5 percent since Reinvention and the highest in more than a decade. “We are delivering on our central goal to increase the number of students earning credentials of economic value,” said Chancellor Hyman. “Our students’ achievements demonstrate that the student-centered reforms we’ve implemented in recent years are paying off as we had hoped: more of our students are now prepared for further education or a career.” In recent years, CCC has invested in key student services including: tutoring, academic advisors, transfer specialists, career and transfer centers, veteran centers, and Wellness Centers, among other services. On Friday May 3rd at the UIC Pavilion, Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and special guest Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon will congratulate the Class of 2013 during the annual graduation ceremony.

So what does all of this mean?

For starters, I’d like a breakdown of what kind of Associate degrees are being earned? I heard it through the grapevine that advisors were puttin’ the squeeze on students (not that they wanted to – but District had mandated) to complete a degree – any degree – and that most of our students were forced into being “awarded” an ASG. True or False?

Can someone at District define what a credential of economic value is or looks like? Is there a formula bigD is following? This smells more like a subjective (perhaps hyperbolized statement) rather than an objective, data-driven, statement.

Can somebody tell me what an IPED is? I went to the website and found it harder to navigate than Facebook Timeline.

At least we know Rahm won’t be politic-ing at graduation. I leave it in the hands of our Lieutenant Governor to brainstorm with the Chancellor to see if they can come up with a game plan to keep the students from leaving before the whole circus comes to an end. Maybe if the special guest stuck around for the whole show, she’d know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

I feel for all the President’s that don’t have as much pull as a politician to come and go when they please during the event. I’m sure most of them would like to at least take a bathroom break. I feels bad for Don. He gotta do a two-for-one; representin’ both WR and HW. Wonder what colors he gonna wear?

3 thoughts on “Trash Talk Tuesday: Bonus?

  1. I too have heard that the degrees are mostly Associates of General Studies. Further, that former students who were “close” to receiving a degree were contacted and encouraged to complete the degree. I am all for getting a degree but I do wonder what happens when that group of students is through the system. Will the numbers go down? And, wasn’t it nice to have this spike so Cheryl could get a contract renewal?

    • Thanks Ho-Hum. This is my understanding as well. Students were encouraged to graduate if they had AGS credits. Still, students can’t graduate unless the advisors can get the students to come in and complete the graduation evaluation (which is not always easy), so even though they were ‘encouraged’ there was some degree of choice.

  2. The high graduation numbers are a great boon, and we should all happy about them. But what is the cause? Chancellor Hyman is quick to place that responsibility on herself and reinvention. But how was this change motivated? The two worthwhile causes that we should be aiming at is within the quality of education and the quality of advising. And these two things can become better through means entirely or in part independently from the work of reinvention. And reinvention’s work is primarily on what occurs outside the classroom. So any correlation between enhanced graduation rates and providing a better education is tenuous. Optimistically, then, we hope that we are now advising and supporting our students better, so that they are better feeling a sense of progress and success, and less frustration by our system. Those are worthwhile goals, and may indirectly have a benefit on our student’s education.

    Pessimistically, however, there may be other ways to increase graduation rates that have nothing to do with providing a better education. As “Ho-Hum” states, perhaps we have only been excellent at netting that back-log of students who could have graduated: a gain that we would then predict will wear off in the next year.

    In short, I am skeptical about any causal link claimed between reinvention and our new graduation rates.

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