I agree that WHO we teach is a primary source of our marginalization
as a profession. The belief that "better" students should get more
educational resources is deeply entrenched both in our philosophies
and institutions of education in the US. The corollary that those who
teach the "better" students should also get more resources is an
expression of that in my view. To the extent that this is true,
discussions about terms like "remedial" and "developmental" are not
likely to lead to much change, so long as the discussions are ONLY
about labels. We need to discuss the deeper purposes of education
(especially developmental/prepatory/remedial/etc. education) among
ourselves and with our colleagues in other disciplines. And, I thank
you for prompting such a discussion on this list serve.

For instance, is the purpose of education to develop the human
capital of those who excel at a young age? That's what we do now in
our most elite colleges. Is it to create a just society? Is it to aid
every student in realizing his/her own human potential? Is it to
prepare a labor force for corporate America (at essentially no cost
to those corporations)? Is it to create a harmonious society or one
filled with discord over the injustices rife in it? And, is the
purpose  of developmental education to produce students who "fit"
into our institutions or to change the institutions so that our
students can fit into it or, perhaps, even change it themselves?

I am in this arena, (like I sense you are), because I seek to promote
social justice in and through education. Education as an institution
has, in my view, been an engine of injustice, social stratification
and maintenance of the status quo far too often. For the most part,
developmental education is probably co-opted for this purpose more
than the reverse--such is the nature of hegemony I suppose.

I would like to see the data you are collecting; I think it will help
to make a powerful case for your thesis that (to use yet another
term) underserved students truly are under served in our institutions
of higher  ed. The most recent issue of the Journal of Developmental
Education includes a summary of an article by Alexander Astin
entitled, "What is our commitment to underprepared students" might
also  be useful in making your case.

Thanks for an illuminating posting.

>I don't think the prejudice regards so much what or how we teach as
>who we teach. The prejudice against our students -- perceived as not
>mainstream or traditional, as not prepared for college-level studies,
>as not worthy of full investment, etc. -- inevitably rubs off on
>those who are associated with them -- including those who teach them.
>So long as the college or university is essentially elitist,
>anti-democratic, and supportive of traditional privilege, the stigma
>attached to the lesser prepared students and those who teach them
>will remain in place, regardless of the label or packaging.
>There's been a lot of discussion, even legislation, related to
>dollars spent per student in state primary and secondary public
>school systems.  I am trying to gather some data from my university
>related to dollars spent per student in the honors program versus
>dollars spent per student in remedial, developmental, whatever
>courses, AND data that also compares family incomes of these two
>groups. My hypothesis of course is that the university is devoting
>many, many, many more dollars to the education of higher income
>persons than to lower income persons -- just as the country does in
>most primary and secondary systems.
>So long as higher education is organized and designed to most benefit
>higher income persons rather than to benefit all equally . . . .
>Paul Ellis
>Paul Ellis, Director
>Learning Assistance Program - BP 230
>Northern Kentucky University
>Nunn Drive
>Highland Heights, KY 41099
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>TEL 859.572.5611
>FAX 859.572.5174
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Dominic J. Voge
UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education
Language, Literacy and Culture
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"What we seek to know is our knowledge of reality, not Reality."--
Anne E. Berthoff

"The best educated human being is the one who understands most about
the life in which he is placed."--Helen Keller

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