Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Deliverology's Claims That Graduation Rates Can Be Accelerated and the Achievement Gap Narrowed

The CSU administration, as most people know, is attempting to impose Sir Michael Barber's Deliverology upon the CSU system. Chancellor Reed and his loyal lieutenants claim that they can thereby accelerate time to degree and bridge the achievement gap with this fine British import. How they think they can accomplish those goals when they are slashing the budget for academic services, reducing class offerings, reducing admissions by forty thousand students, furloughing faculty and laying off staff and faculty, and eliminating programs such as CalWorks (designed to help parents on welfare get a college degree and get off of welfare), is beyond my feeble comprehension. But then, Deliverology perhaps can violate commonsense and pull a rabbit out of the hat. 

In a widely circulated, discussed, and reportedly influential White Paper by one of the CSU presidents in July 2009, however, author President Qayoumi stated explicitly what was reasonable to expect as a result of the budget cuts:

From "Perspectives on CSU Budget Gap," July 24, 2009 by Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President California State University, East Bay, reprinted on this blog here: "I think we can expect that average student course loads will decrease, time to degree will increase, lines (or digital queues) will get longer, and traditionally under-represented groups will be hit disproportionately harder than others."

The only way that Deliverology can produce the results they are claiming that it can produce - and the top CSU administrators know this - is by cutting back on what is expected from students to get their degree. This is why the administrators, for example, have been floating the idea of reducing GE requirements and number of courses required for a degree. They want to cheapen a CSU degree's value, in other words. 

You don't sensibly advocate having someone running faster when the person in question is having trouble walking in the first place. 

Deliverology is a sham. It is not a misguided program with laudable goals but poor implementation. It is a program that from its inception, from its practice in England, and from its premises, is designed not to improve performance but to tighten command and control from the top. Deliverology's imposition upon the CSU would be a disaster for this reason. It must be opposed. 

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