Thursday, June 16, 2011

Straight Talk about College

College Plus

Last night, Mr. Jonathan Brush from College Plus  addressed my local homeschool group. The turn out from my group was moderate, but we managed to fill the room with people from area homeschool groups and consequently had a very nice turnout. Mr. Brush came into town a day early to speak to us (he is also setting up a booth and speaking at the local homeschool convention) so I was very grateful that he got there okay and that I had a room full of people for him to speak to.

Mr. Brush didn't say anything that I didn't know about the state of college education today, but I think the way he arranged his presentation and backed it up with sources made for a powerful presentation. First up was the cost of a college education and the accumulation of debt, and even more powerfully, the slavery that comes from burdening our children with debt that they will have to pay for decades. Mr. Brush drove the point home that this is inescapable debt - filing bankruptcy doesn't eliminate it, and it will affect the quality of our children's lives and the choices that they make after college for decades. I think when Sam and Gabriel heard that it made quite an impression.

Mr. Brush also discussed world view and how the world view of the mostly progressive/liberal academics is not what most of us have raised our children to believe. And yet after years of careful guidance and study, we take our young adult children at the still impressionable ages of 17 or 18 and drop them off at college and into the hands of these liberal professors, putting our kids in the position of a fish in a shooting barrel - an easy target. Mr. Brush also had the statistic that 70% of college kids lose their faith in college. I knew that to be true for Catholic kids, but as Mr. Brush's presentation was more for general Christians.  That stat means kids are outright leaving Christianity. This has already happened in my family, where a strong, faithful young man (who even attending two world youth days and saw Blessed John Paul II ) has become an atheist.

The third point Mr. Brush made was about the prolonged adolescence that is expected on college campuses today including drinking, promiscuous sexual behavior and vandalism. It has become part of our culture now to believe that this is part of the "college experience."

The second half of his discussion about the option of College Plus and having students self-study through their general requirements and obtaining their degrees in less time and at a fraction of the cost.

The biggest concern in my area for high school students, is getting college credit for free in high school through dual enrollment. That has been the most popular option for homeschool families in my homeschool group (and probably the reason that very few of them attended this talk).   Dual enrollment is free, but it is not without cost.

First the student has to be attending a public high school - either brick and mortar or digital. So after years of using a carefully crafted curriculum or one of the curriculums offered by a respected vendor that has served the family well for years,  the family has to toss that aside to enter the public school system. Then there is adapting to the hours and the teachers available at the college and  paying for parking and for transportation, and dealing with the world views and attitudes of not only the college professors, but the other students in the class, some of which may be four or more years older than the high school student! It's a sobering thought.

A lot of people stayed after to speak to Mr. Brush - we definitely used up all our available time in the free meeting room at the library! And hopefully a few seeds have been planted about the options and possibilities that exist for our children outside the typical high school-straight to university-into debt options.


Mr. Pete and I were able to take Mr. Brush out for supper after his talk.  It was a delight to speak with a homeschool graduate who has made good! and is now homeschooling his own children and helping other homeschoolers.


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