Composition, rhetoric, and education policy


I don’t see much love for college faculty in publications from the CCRC. And in this piece, faculty, staff, and administrators are all lumped together in finding “practices” and “strategies” (esp. on pp. 40-41) that help students get through gatekeeper courses. What I need to know though is what sort of practices and strategies, and in particular, which curricula and textbooks and practices in FYC courses help marginal students.  Do linked courses help?  What possible writing and reading emphases, from the teeming panorama of ones available, need to be pursued? Where are the “brass tacks” of successful pedagogy?

Speaking of marginal students, grabbed off Twitter from http://twitter.com/educatedlife: “NPR: Who Needs College, And Who Shouldn’t Go? #education http://bit.ly/5rODy2.”  The students who benefit the most from the push to college are those on the cusp, who NEED and hunger for a challenge, sometimes without knowing it. Take a kid from the trailer park, throw the wheel of poverty at him, with all its cruel spikes, and then send him to a JC and see what can happen when he discovers communion with the world of cultivated minds (i.e., minds themselves educated, with high standards, and that have not gone to seed, that still burn with a passion for their disciplines and for ideas). He might go on to a successful collegiate career and a couple of advanced degrees. If you’d given him remixed dross from the high school formulary, challenging him not at all when first he met the gatekeeper courses, he would have ended up as a statistic of failure, an uninvoked human resource, and quite possibly another antisocial problem, an adult delinquent, a recidivist of some sort or other.

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