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I would have thought that NOTHING could get me to stop checking placement
scores for evening classes during the first week of school until I read Carla
Chapman's remarks.  I am a Dean at a community college.  I went through college
in Massachusetts on Welfare, a single mother of two children.  Thanks to the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am not a drug dealer or an overage hooker,
but a working professional who pays more in taxes each year than I received in
aid for the entire four years I was on Welfare back in the 70s.

Of the many astonishing claims that Ms. Chapman and others have made, I'll
concentrate on two:
"There is nothing more frustrating" than having students in your class who are
only in it for the money???  Let's think a minute.  Surely there are SOME
things more frustrating than this experience (which I have had, by the way):
for example, what about the frustration of being a student in a course where
the teacher despises you and feels you are incapable of learning??  What about
being accepted into a classroom in which you are invisible?

The second statement that offended and shocked me is that a motivated student
will find a way to learn even without government programs.  I'd like to wave my
magic wand and have every person who's ever uttered this phrase do it herself.
Did you ever face a situation where you could only get jobs that paid less than
you needed to live?  I did and, although I am an able and resourceful person, I
could not manage college without help.  What we all need to acknowledge is
that programs like the one that got me through college no longer exist.
Welfare recipients now get job training, not education.  If that.

Brothers and sisters, let's not become jerks just because higher education is
not shaped to change the world.  Higher ed is mostly designed to replicate the
class system that already exists.  But now this tool is ours--If we reshape it,
 we CAN help to change the world.  Students who walk into any classroom may
have problems and deficiencies
of various kinds, but nearly all of them also have at least a small glimmer of
hope--the hope that this
time, the teacher will see the value they bring with their person to this
classroom.  I'll just quote Mina Shaughnessey here: "always assume that there
is a silent student in the back of the romm greater of head and of heart than
you."
                                        Susan Andrien