A one-size fits all school model does not fill the needs of students. Some students desire the traditional four year college education, but some pursue two year degrees, some attend career colleges, and some find online courses to fulfill education requirements. We must be advocates for all students, not only for those who fit the traditional mold.
Two recent news articles have highlighted this important point:
“More than 2.8 million students nationwide choose to attend accredited career colleges and universities. The majority are adult learners with jobs and families who need the flexible schedules and small classes offered by private schools. Fifty-five percent of career college students are the first in their families to go to college. This does not make them naive or foolish. These students deserve federal loans and grants as much as any other group of students. They also deserve the respect and right to spend them on the school of their choice.” (St. Petersburg Times, For-Profit Career Colleges Offer Important Benefits To Students, 4/17/10)
“In America, private sector colleges are playing a larger role than ever before. In fact, today, only 18 percent of students attend four-year colleges right after high school. Private sector colleges also serve a large number of students who are low-income, minority and the first generation to attend college, as well as working and unemployed adults … With state universities and community colleges facing daunting budget cuts, as they are in my home state of Mississippi, President Obama will need the private sector to help him realize his goal.” (Roll Call, Shows: Is Plan for Private Sector Colleges Bad News for Blue Dogs? , 4/23/10)
We must remember that students are unique individuals whose pathways to success may vary. Restricting education advancement options will only limit the potential of hundreds of thousands of students across the nation if they are unable to pursue their dreams. Students need school choice.