Want proof that there’s an educational bubble in LEX?

A 13% increase in enrollment at BCTC in LEX this fall?  Really.  How about 36% in Lawrenceburg?  30% in Winchester? 20% in Danville?

“Record- breaking growth” as Jim Warren says, absolutely innocently, I hope. 

All it is is a giant bubble.

Is that BCTC has done a great job of recruiting students? 

Or is that being a student beats being unemployed?  “Yeah, I’ll live on loans for a couple of years, then hopefully I can find something.”

What happens when loans get harder to come by?  What happens when people find out that there just aren’t jobs out there for which they are going into debt for?

Nothing against BCTC, but this isn’t about them.  What this says to me is that there are thousands of people in the region who won’t be counted as unemployed – really skewing our numbers to the upside, masking the reality of just how many people around here don’t have jobs.

People in Kentucky are finally doing what they been urged to for years:  get more education.  But at this stage, will it help?  We’ll know in two years, right? When all this “record growth” graduates and hits the job market…..Does BCTC teach local food and low  energy, round wood construction, basic sanitation, climate adaptation, alternative healthcare? You know, all the things we’ll actually need?

When the bubble bursts, we are going to be very disillusioned here.

BCTC headed for record enrollment

By Jim Warren
jwarren@herald-leader.com

Bluegrass Community and Technical College opened for the fall semester Wednesday with what appears to be record enrollment.

College officials said preliminary figures indicate that 12,400 students enrolled — about a 13-percent increase over enrollment on the first day of classes last year.

Preliminary figures also showed BCTC’s regional campuses with record-breaking growth.

Enrollment at the college’s Lawrenceburg campus has grown to about 1,000 students, officials said, a growth rate of about 36 percent.

The Winchester campus has grown to almost 900 students, preliminary numbers show, for a growth of about 30 percent.

Enrollment at the Danville campus has grown to about 1,700 students, or about a 20-percent increase, according to BCTC.

Officials say they expect enrollment will increase more over the next several weeks, as students complete their class schedules.

The final official enrollment for Fall 2009 was 13,378.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Want proof that there’s an educational bubble in LEX?

  1. Danny

    The answer to your questions is, largely, no, BCTC does not teach any of those needed things. (It hasn’t even put in the money to pay for water at its Leestown garden that’s used to provide a farmer’s market at its Cooper campus…though of course it’s won several awards off it.)

    Of course, the crush at BCTC can’t be discussed outside the context of the larger bubble of higher education and the knowledge economy. Its classes are staffed more by underpaid adjuncts than by faculty, which is even worse (I think) than its better-funded neighbor, UK (who has begun using BCTC faculty as adjuncts for its freshman-level courses). Regionally, the BCTC crush is partially over-spill as UK attempts to outsource the first 2 years of college classes to its poorer neighbor.

    So you get students going into more debt on the general promise that entering a knowledge economy is vital to their lives, a claim supported by a bipartisan (and non-partisan) crowd that includes journalists, presidents, politicians, and university workers, and you have these same students taught by an exploited class of last decade’s knowledge economy detritus.

    I always say, you want to look at the wonders of the knowledge economy that our local and national leaders tout? Look at the job prospects of those attempting to teach in the university field: a bunch of terminal degrees fighting for a few decent positions, with the rest taking adjunct work at cut-rate prices.

    But like you say, it’s a bubble, and it’ll fail. At BCTC it’ll fail when the state cuts funding dramatically and students realize their wasting their money on overcrowded classes taught by exploited labor; UK will fail (or retrench significantly) when federal grants start drying up, and when the medical bubble pops–2 revenue sources put on steroids this past decade in the run-up to Lee Todd’s Top 20 shenanigans.

    • Well put. It is an economic racket and the sad part is we won’t get people who are in a better position to help us with the transition when it’s over…..

      instead we’ll get a bunch of bitter, indebted people who could come to believe that education is, well….nothing but a racket. A huge disservice to the future.

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