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I want to commend Dale Zeretzke for his comments regarding the barriers facing
many students in low socioeconomic groups. Well said.

    ... Gail Rowe

Dale Zeretzke wrote:

> Colleagues,
> ...Much has been said about individual motivation and responsibility, about
> being at-cause for our success or lack of it, about not taking the victims'
> or defeatist role.  I agree with all of this in principle.
>
> HOWEVER, history and demographics very clearly show us a distinct
> relationship between the corrosiveness of poverty and depressed academic
> success in populations.   Much of this thread has given me the impression
> that  (e.g.) if most single mothers on assistance wanted badly enough to
> get into and succeed in college, they surely would.    Sure, I know some
> who have.  I know many more who want to just as much but who are not able
> to juggle (and keep on juggling) the economics and resources to simply
> sustain that opportunity.
>
> It is a terrible and degrading mistake to arrive at a conclusion that
> individual motivation and desire easily overshadow economics in the
> equation of academic opportunity and success.     The cult of victimhood
> and blame aside (and yes, it is well and robust in this time), there are
> very many people outside academic walls who would be in if they could.
> But before they can they honestly have to slay the many hydra head of
> powerful economic challenge (childcare, reliable transportation, health and
> elders care/problems, uncovered daily living expenses, etc).    Hope,
> (self)confidence and enduring energy are primary elements to the compound
> of sustained motivation.
>
> Perhaps it is because I work in a community college (rather than
> university) population, but across the board the two biggest retention
> factors at this level are academic foundation and ecnomic maintenance.  I
> can't tell you how many students I've disenrolled due to financail duress.
> This doesn't even reflect those who didn't get here to begin with.   But
> I've worked in social services and know very well that there are a great
> many out there who would be here if they could.
>
> Most of us on this list have had considerable education and opportunity.
> I would ask each of you/us to very honestly look at what steps, priveleges
> and assets allowed you to get to this point, strip (almost) every one of
> them away, add a couple long-term burdens and then carefully re-estimate
> your odds of getting there.
>
> Poverty is very strong medicine.  No accident that it correlates so highly
> lower educational levels (to say little of subsequent social ills).
>
> >> History is full of stories of
> >> people who succeeded in education in spite of poverty,
>
> . . . but the number of them doesn't even come close to discounting poverty
> as a major significant restraining effect.   I know too many bored,
> unmotivated or misdirected students of privelege and too many eager and
> hungry minds wanting an opportunity to  . . . .  well to keep my mouth shut
> I guess.
>
> nuff said.  Off my soap box.  Thanks to those of you who actually read this
> far through it.
>
> Dale Zeretzke, Counselor
> Grays Harbor College
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