Before the budget mess, Chicago State already was considered the worst-performing of the state's public universities.We've recited this part of the story before. The article also highlights the way in which Chicago State attempts to serve a population already badly served by Democrat ward-heeler politicians, lousy government schools, and the phony cult of authenticity.
Only 21 percent of its students earn a degree within six years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. At Eastern Illinois University, that figure is 60 percent. And at the University of Illinois' flagship campus, it is 84 percent.
State audits regularly have turned up financial mismanagement in recent years, and enrollment has declined.
The student body doesn't look like those found at the other state universities. Three-quarters of the students are black, and almost three-quarters are women. More than half are 25 or older; and many, if not most, have transferred from other schools after struggling elsewhere.Life, as distorted by the failures of Business as Usual. But the powers that be at Chicago State continue to get away with doing unto the least. The expense-preference behavior goes on.
"I've seen lots of them come unprepared for college work," said Robert Bionaz, an associate professor of history. "These are bright people who, in many cases, have seen life intervene."
As we all know, our graduation rate has been a source of bad publicity for a number of years. We got great criticism when it dropped to 14 percent. Even though it is not particularly applicable to a school like ours, previous administrations have not been aggressive in challenging that particular measure of academic achievement. Since the graduation rate had dropped to 11 percent for the 2009-15 cohort of first-time full-time students, and since that information had been included in the Enrollment Management report submitted to the Board, I naturally expected some questions about just what the hell happened. Instead, deafening silence. The Vice President of Enrollment Management skipped right over the bad news, although the Associate Vice President of Athletics mentioned other statistics just two lines below the awful figures in the Enrollment Management report. No questions came from the Board.It's not for the faint of heart. Legislators, already disposed to see the state universities as bad investments, and accreditors, already catching hell from employers having to retrain the Distressed Material, are unlikely to be sympathetic, the challenges of life weighing down Chicago State's students or not. Yes, the higher education completion statistics don't handle transfers in or out well. But an expense-preference playground for diversity hustlers isn't a good place for students, whether prepared or not.
While all this non-discussion took place, a reporter was busy at the meeting, filing one story and obviously gathering information for the scathing article that appeared later in the day. It’s here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-state-board-meeting-20160506-story.html.
Listening to the report from the Vice President of Enrollment Management, I thought it unwise for her to commit a lie of omission, especially given the public scrutiny of our situation. Nevertheless, she gave her report, failed to mention the graduation rate, and got no questions from the Board members about what would surely get us more bad press. Before everyone starts jumping up and down about how unfair the Tribune is to Chicago State, the article also mentioned our transfer graduation rate and explained that the IPEDS graduation rate is based on a small number of students. So no, the report was not deliberately slanted to make us look bad, we took care of that ourselves. As an aside, I happen to know that the university’s graduation rate for its 2010-16 first-year cohort also currently stands at 11 percent. That figure might change with recent graduations, so it is not final. Nevertheless, it looks like more bad news to come. One more piece of bad information: for the 2009 cohort, when athletes are taken out of the calculation, our graduation rate comes in at 9.3 percent.Chicago State is a symptom. The failure of institutions, or more precisely, the failure that follows from the deconstruction of institutions, begins long before those returning adults give Chicago State a go.