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Letters: NCC graduation rates dismal

A graduate waves during Nassau Community College's Fifty

A graduate waves during Nassau Community College's Fifty Second Commencement at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (May 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos recently reported on the graduation and transfer rates at Nassau Community College ["College in 'turmoil,' " News, June 14].

The college appreciates the comptroller's recognition of its commitment to data-driven analyses of core policies, and his assertion that NCC provides an invaluable service to thousands of Nassau County residents, offering an affordable higher education at a time when tuition at private institutions is soaring. However, the central premise of the report -- that turmoil at NCC in recent years is associated with a decline in the college's graduation and transfer rates -- is not supported by the facts cited in the report.

For example, the report refers to the conflict between the president and the faculty in 2012, yet notes that NCC's combined graduation/transfer rate actually increased by 22 percent from 2011 to 2012.

In addition, the report notes that Suffolk County Community College and Westchester Community College also experienced a lower graduation/transfer rate from 2009 through 2011, but does not discuss whether these other colleges were experiencing campus controversy during that time.

Moreover, the report states that no data was found that conclusively explains the decline in the combined graduation/transfer rate, only evidence that suggested factors that may be the cause. In light of these statements in the report, the comptroller's conclusions are overstated and unsubstantiated.

Nevertheless, the issues raised by the report are serious, and the college administration already has initiated its own investigation into the causes of these problems and potential solutions. The administration is committed to working with the college's board of trustees, faculty and other interested parties to improve the graduation and transfer rates at NCC.

Kenneth K. Saunders, Garden City

Editor's note: The writer is the acting president of Nassau Community College.

Everyone seems shocked to learn that 72 percent of students at Nassau Community College drop out. Now comes the rush to blame. Here is a good place to start.

There is no leadership at NCC. The acting president was rejected by 15 out of 16 members of the search committee after in-depth vetting. But he claimed that his rejection was an act of racism.

What's more, the board of trustees is dysfunctional. The chairman has no leadership ability and no skill at interpersonal relations.

The students are the real victims, as are the taxpayers who support such failure.

Charles Loiacono, Garden City

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the NCC adjunct faculty union.

Perhaps community colleges were a good idea at their inception in the 1960s, as places where young people not bound for a four-year college program could obtain post-high school education and preparation for good-paying jobs in secretarial fields, bookkeeping, retail management or a host of specialities. It worked. I know of several success stories, including one of my godchildren.

Since then, community college standards for admission were lowered way down. Maybe they had to do this because Long Island high schools were graduating many ill-prepared students and some who were barely literate.

A Suffolk Community College spokesman is quoted as saying that 62 percent of SCC students must take remedial classes before they can take college-level courses. How about remedial classes in high school and an entrance exam before they start NCC or SCC?

We need more accountability from our school districts for their dismal records of not educating too many of our students, and we need to revamp the admissions standards for community colleges.

Jeannette A. Henry, Huntington


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