Village Voice on CUNY

Here's a very nice cover story from NYC's alternative newspaper, the Village Voice, basically on the subject of my math teaching job at a CUNY community college (and more generally, community colleges across the country):


Some highlights:
  • Enrollment at CUNY community colleges is up 33% in the past 5 years
  • CUNY has seen a 40% drop in per-student funding from the state in the last 20 years.
  • 80% of NYC public school grads who enroll in CUNY need remedial-level instruction
  • Just 14% of public school grads pass the CUNY algebra placement exam
  • Only 20% of remedially-placed students have advanced to a for-credit class 2 years later
  • Only 1 in 4 remedially-placed earn any degree after 6 years.

Regarding NYC public high school statistics: "The numbers are 'better'—there are more graduates—and yet, in an endless loop of absurdity, these students get to college only to be told they haven't finished high school."

Regarding NYC's Harry Truman High School: "Truman currently boasts an A grade from the city. Yet only 10 percent of its graduates are able to enter CUNY without remediation."

Regarding a new pre-matriculation START program which takes small classes and gives detailed basic math instruction: "That process sounds an awful lot like what we used to think of as 'teaching.'"


  1. Fascinating -- I've been telling people for some time that just because a kid is getting A's and B's in high school does not mean they are receiving a quality education.

    I personally believe that learning "how to take exams" is a separate skill that can be learned. It is distinct from learning the subject matter itself.

    1. Unfortunately, that is definitely true. I think there are still good public schools out there, but I'm glad I don't have children for me to have to track and navigate which ones.