Everything but the mission

Last week, the words "fail" and "community colleges" appeared in another headline, this one on a story about the fact that they can't even give away seats at these schools.

Seven years after Oregon launched the country’s second “college promise” program offering tuition-free community college to high school graduates, the initiative has made minimal to no progress on several of its stated goals.

Oregon Promise has not led to long-term increases in community college enrollment or moved the needle on community college completion rates. It hasn’t closed gaps in college access for students from minority groups or rural parts of the state. And while it has made college more affordable for some students, the grant’s impact on that metric has been minimal: State studies estimate that community college is now affordable for an additional 1% of students thanks to the promise grant.

Meanwhile, enrollment is down another 5.2 percent at Portland Community College this term compared to last year. Compared to two years ago, the drop is 11.6 percent. Since 2020, just before the pandemic hit, they're down 29.7 percent in full-time equivalent bodies.

Why is this happening? The suits don't really know, or if they do, they won't admit it. What are they doing about it? Flailing around. "Strategic planning" is under way.

But meanwhile, they never stop asking for money. And the voters give them whatever they ask for. The electorate just foolishly handed PCC $450 million to blow on buildings. More and more money for fewer and fewer students. But the construction boys will make out nicely, I'm sure.

It's a little reminiscent of the public library in Portland, which also gets mid-nine figures every now and then to gussy up their buildings so that they can be populated all day by people who haven't had a bath in many months. They've become the de facto day shelters for a lot of street dwellers. Why they have to be decked out like the Ritz-Carlton is one of the many mysteries of life here.

None of this makes any sense. Information and learning these days are less about physical spaces than ever before. And yet we just can't stop with renovating obsolete facilities with scarce public money. It's too bad the voters here don't think before they blacken the circle to jack up everyone's property taxes (or rent) to burn money on foolishness.

This is especially true of the community colleges. Until they figure out what they're doing, the money spigot needs to be turned off.


  1. And meanwhile our roads are nothing but pothole after pot hole

  2. And we need a huge new mental hospital, or probably two.

  3. The “coffee shops”, small papers and blogs like this can complain about the core problem. But, nothing will changed until the people that buy ink by the barrel decide to really take an interest

  4. the county, city and Metro have gotten very good at their "tax the rich" mantra, so every tax increase moving forward is going to be just like the Supportive Housing and Preschool for All taxes....hitting the top 5% or fewer of wage earners. And why not! 95% of the voters will get their dream programs for free!


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at jackbogsblog@comcast.net, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.