Today I start teaching English 1A (Freshman Composition and Reading) at a local community college. Here is a post from The Washington Monthly to make my heart glad:
How good are community colleges compared to 4-year universities? A few years ago a group of educational reformers created an annual survey (the NSSE) that measured how well universities implemented research-proven best teaching practices, and then followed that up with a similar survey for community colleges (the CCSSE). Kevin Carey writes in our current issue that the results were surprising:
On a number of important measures, the [community] colleges on our list outperform their four-year peers. More than two-thirds of the community college students ask questions in class or contribute to class discussions, compared to only half of the four-year students. Student-faculty interaction is also better — the community college students are more likely to get prompt feedback on performance and to interact with their professors during and outside of class. And the level of academic challenge is more than comparable — the community college students were more likely to work harder than they thought they could to meet their professor's expectations.
Wish me luck. We'll be reading the Seymour Hersh profile of Anthony Taguba later in the semester, among many other essays; and we're reading Laila Lalami's novel of migration, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.
Next term I want to teach Titus Andronicus and show the Juliette Tamor film. Next term.