I don’t have all the information to make many profound statements about the merger report, but I do have opinions about whether or not the sky is falling. Few citizens can argue that Georgia has an educational system that needs improvement and it is unwise to think this statement only applies to K-12.
Georgia has a patchwork system of two-year college institutions that are inefficient and cost too much to administer. A troubling thread in any discussion about bringing higher education in Georgia in line with more progressive states is the absolute fear among many that this merger will produce, at a minimum, chaos.
The troubling thoughts that follow the initial fear of chaos is the conviction of many that technical schools are by nature inferior and will bring down the level of education at two-year institutions. I am deeply troubled by this fear and wonder where those who espouse these beliefs have been over the years. Why haven’t they lobbied to bring up the standards they perceive lacking at tech schools?
The truth we will not face in Georgia is that our public and sometimes private K-12 education system is graduating students who cannot do college-level work. Remedial education programs abound in Georgia colleges and many of those students never complete their education. The proposed merger appears to offer hope that colleges will again be allowed to accept only those who are really ready for higher education.
Two-year colleges presume that their work over the years to achieve transferability of educational credits will vanish or be severely diminished by merging with technical colleges. Transferability of education credits is a serious issue, but it is not impossible to solve. Georgia’s four-year colleges do not always accept technical college credits, but Agnes Scott, Wesleyan, Mercer, Clayton State and many other excellent schools do accept these credits. The approach to this issue may be to ask why.
We need a better two-year college program in Georgia and Gov. Perdue is boldly testing the waters. I hope he and other forward thinkers will not be placed in the Middle Ages belief that all knowledge is presently known and any new theory subjected to the travails of Galileo and Copernicus.
Virgil Costley Jr.
DeKalb Tech Professor