Obama’s rating system is death spiral for Calif. community colleges

The well-intentioned rating system and College Scorecard that President Obama espouses will highlight those colleges that condition their program to meet the federal guidelines but schools that are unable will lose funding.

The weight of the world is on the shoulders of California community colleges these days.  CCCs must increase the number of class sections, address a growing English-as-a-second -language population, combat vexing campus crime, take on the adult education system and now lead that dance to a new tune or federal money will be “shifted” away.

This fallacious reasoning is correlative to what happens in a poorly-managed company when revenue dips and marketing is mistakenly clipped – a death spiral.  Less revenue means fewer products which in turn begets lesser revenue and so on.

California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris presented a Scorecard in spring 2013, which illustrated the difficulties CCCs face with some students in the system who languish for up to six years in this two-year institution — mostly because of sparse funding and the operational problems that constraint causes.

Another major flaw in the president’s rating system is location and mobility.  President Obama takes for granted that students would be willing or able to commute to colleges that score high and therefore haven’t atrophied class sections.

These same students who can only attend local community colleges because of grants and unforgivable student loans are now supposed to spend hours away from jobs and family to attend distant campuses that were able to, by hook or by crook, conform their system to rank high.

Community colleges are the gateway to a stronger middle class, Mr. President.  However, tying federal funding to colleges that score high on a ranking system will have a counterproductive result.