Monday, March 27, 2017


If you think instead of just feel, you get some very interesting comments on this post from Joanne's.  Here's the thrust of the post:
“Close to two-thirds of community college students work to support themselves and their families while in school, and they may be facing homelessness and hunger,” write Collins and Vargas. “Many are single parents, and more than a third are the first in their families to attend college.”

Remedial reforms should include non-academic support services for low-income, first-generation and minority students, argues College Completion: Focus on the Finish Line, by the National Center on Developmental Education.
Here's the first comment.  It's not heartless, it's logical:
While I’m sympathetic to anyone struggling to keep body and soul together, I think it’s more than a little bit crazy to prioritize college in these situations. *First* you see that their physical needs are met, *then* you attempt to nurture their educational needs. To try and do both at once isn’t likely to work, IMHO. How in the world can someone who is worried about where their kid’s next meal is coming from possibly concentrate in a classroom? Lots of people can work their way through school, sure, but not when they are simultaneously the sole parent of young children. Has it become sacrilege to suggest that their first duty should be to the parenting of the children, with education delayed until that duty has been met?

Here’s a simpler statement of the problem: what is *my* obligation towards my fellow humans when they choose behaviors (such as having children and going to school) beyond their means? Are all of us charged with providing all of our fellow citizens with whatever means their lifestyles demand? If *I* want to drop everything and pursue a PhD, who supports me and my mortgage? Why are some animals more equal than others?

I’m willing to assume the obligation of supporting children, since they in no way caused the problem. Supporting the wildest dreams of their parents, however, seems impossible and plainly unfair.
The next several comments are in a similar vein.


Ellen K said...

When we had all three kids in college we filed with FAFSA and discovered my entire income was considered "a reasonable contribution." So I do have sympathy for those trying to go to school while raising a family. But this is also why I emphasized to my own kids that FIRST you get an education THEN you do things like buying houses, having kids, etc. We've become a nation that seems to avoid the WANTS v. NEEDS discussion. In many cases it has angered my own kids that while they were doing the right thing, like working full time during college while their friends partied or having a more reasonable wedding and honeymoon in Florida rather than using Student Loan money to fund a two week Hawaiian honeymoon, in the long run they understand that the pay off is in the future. They have all paid off their student loans before they were 30. The two oldest own their own homes with their spouses. The sad thing is that after having worked so hard, these same remarkable, responsible adults don't feel they can afford to have kids. It breaks my heart. I would love a whole houseful of grandkids. It turns out I may be lucky just to have the one.

Pseudotsuga said...

I had students like that... and it was VERY difficult for most of those young (barely early 20s) single parent students. All of them were members of the lower socio-economic class, nearly equally spread across the racial spectrum.
None of the females was actually living with the father of the child/children, and most of them were trying to work, and mother infants/toddlers all at the same time.
Yet what are the obligations of an educational institution? Childcare? meals? rent? light bills? teaching?

Ellen K said...

In response to this, I thought you might appreciate the following article: