IGeneral College satisfies public need
feel I must join the voices of many of my colleagues here in General College in responding to Karl Noyes' Feb. 11 editorial, "An argument for closing the General College." As many others will undoubtedly point out, General College is a well-respected and cutting-edge research institution that provides a solid and thorough education for its students. I also admit to frustration with this inattention to verifiable facts in Noyes's editorial.
Just as importantly, however, I want to address another statement of Noyes: "High schools should be a stepping stone toward post-secondary education." Yes, quite obviously they should be. Anyone who has spent considerable time in some of our poorly funded schools can tell you this is not always the case. Even if you haven't been in one of these underprivileged schools, you can pick up a copy of Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities" to get a sobering, if slightly dated, picture of urban public education. It's not a very pretty one either.
The more pressing question in his assertion is to what level do we believe in the principle of an equal opportunity for every student, regardless of all the categories we use to separate ourselves? One of the more unique, and I feel, amazing foundations of public education in this country is this ideal that all children should be given an equal chance at success.
General College serves a very real and valid role in the lives of its students, regardless of their graduation rates or credit loads. To remove General College and its principles from the University would be a direct repudiation of our society's ideal of public education. That, to my mind, requires substantially more thought and debate than any superficial or fashionable position based on numbers or ideology alone.
University of Minnesota
General College best in the nation
arl Noyes' Feb. 11 editorial about the General College, "An argument for closing the General College," contained many inaccuracies and false assumptions. If he had considered the series of national awards that General College has received in the past three years, he would have known that General College is currently recognized as the pre-eminent, most outstanding developmental education program in the entire country.
If he had contacted other developmental educators, he would have learned that General College faculty and staff are national leaders through research, practice and publication in addressing the very educational concerns that he raised in the editorial.
If he had compared the research mission of the General College to the teaching mission of the community colleges, he would have realized that they are totally different types of institutions. Perhaps most important, if he had examined a complete cost-revenue analysis he would have discovered that the University would actually lose money by closing the General College.
General College has proven that access and excellence can go hand in hand. Why would the University want to close a program that is recognized as the very best in the nation, and terminate the research centers, academic publications, and scholarly productivity associated with General College?
David L. Ghere
Associate Professor of History
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