On Thursday The Girl asked me what the story was on the GameStop stock bubble. Having listened to Marketplace for years, I gave a five-minute description of short selling, mutual funds and market manipulation.
Her conclusion: “That just sounds like astrology for rich people.”
I report, you decide.
I’m glad to see credit transfer get its own blog in Inside Higher Ed. Transfer is widely misunderstood within the industry and widely ignored outside it.
Successful “vertical” transfer of credit — from a community college to a four-year school — is an excellent way to reduce the cost of a degree. It’s a frontal assault on student loans. Thursday’s post is correct that articulation agreements alone aren’t enough to do the job, although in fairness, I’ve never heard anybody claim that they are. They’re necessary but not sufficient.
But when politicians talk about community colleges, transfer almost never comes up. They look almost exclusively at terminal programs, the shorter the better. Over time, the transfer function fades into the background.
It shouldn’t. We need to take it much more seriously than we do if we want to get a handle on costs.
For example, I’d start with states forcing the four-year public colleges to agree on the components of the first two years of their degrees. Until they agree with each other, there’s literally no way for us to mirror them all accurately. In other words, if you want to improve vertical transfer, you need to look closely at the receiving schools as well as the sending ones. We don’t control how our credits are received.
At the same time, the very real economic incentives at many four-year schools that tend to defeat transfer would need to be addressed. If departments at receiving schools believe — correctly or incorrectly — that they’re effectively penalized by “giving away” credits, they’ll find excuses to reject them. When the incentives of the educational ecosystem conflict with the incentives of its members, shenanigans ensue. It would be shocking if they didn’t.
Taking transfer seriously would require looking hard at our assumptions about shared governance, individual institutional autonomy and actual learning outcomes. It would require collaboration, yes, but also much more than that. It would require systemic change.
I anticipate there will be more than enough to keep that blog busy.
Mom gets her second COVID shot next Wednesday.
As a writer, I struggle to convey how much that sentence makes me smile.