David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Bracketology, Final Game

April 3, 2013:  Bracketology -- The Championship Match

The Higher Education Challenges tournament is down to its final match-up:  Remediation vs. Graduation Rates.  Let's meet the starting line-ups.

Remediation is led by a trio of daunting guards:

Pre-College Math, characterized by discussions of fractions (you heard that right, folks), percentages, and basic algebra.  Defending against Pre-College Math is incredibly difficult, as many institutions can't even agree on what should be "college-level" math. 

Reading (Yes, reading).  The cornerstone of intellectual thought is a shifty, sneaky player who stymies his opponents with the most basic of trash talk (frankly any talk given the vocabulary challenges of students who need Reading courses).  Depressed yet, readership?

Writing, a powerful component of the Remediation team, in that it can stop a student's progress with any number of rules pretty much internalized by the normally educated person.  In one of the games leading to the championship game, Writing repeatedly scored because nobody else could make their possessive case for having the ball.

In addition, Remediation is supported by powerful influences in the post positions:

Foundation Backing has a lot of power when you consider it is made up of the Lumina Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.  (There's a lot of money in the pockets of those baggy shorts.) Talk about the ability to impact what's happening on the court.

The final member of the Remediation team is the never-failing Governmental Influence, whether it be formally, as with the National Governor's Association, or informally, as in this case where the City University of New York basically has to get the Mayor's and the Governor's approval for remediation plans.  (Who's letting the crazies run the asylum now?)

Remediation presents a pretty formidable unit, but it is not always a unified unit, which could be its downfall against Graduation Rates, who are made up of the following:

Transfer student, the kids who starts at one school and ends at another, but isn't counted in either's graduation rate.  (Yes, you read that right; you do not need to go take Reading 090.) It's not hard to imagine why Transfer Student constantly wonders if he (or she) will ever get the credit he or she deserves.

In the back court with Transfer Student is Variable Factor, that goofy, lovable kid that you can never quite predict. One day he (or she) seems completely motivated and dedicated to follow the game plan and be successful, but the next second is getting the cheerleader pregnant and needing time off. Or, getting hurt while jumping around and missing time.  Or, getting bored and deciding to work at the local McDonald's for awhile.

In the center position, around which all of the other players revolve, is Goals.  Ironically, Goals, different for everyone who attends a college, is the best defensive player on the team, ostensibly clogging the lane and blocking any field goal shots.  As the press blurb about Goals says, "He's not even sure he wants to graduate."

In the power forward position is Financial Aid, a stray from the actual financial aid team, but still a constant thorn in opponent's and teammate's butts.  No matter what game plan is on tap, Financial Aid will calculate the money that can be contributed and will not back down from that financial limit.

And confusing the audience, the fifth player is good old Governmental Influence again.  A specially made jersey has been created that shows how Government Influence may jump back and forth between Remediation and Graduation Rates without even a warning.

The game result?

Governmental Influence will cancel itself out (or basically render itself pointless with its drivel), and all of the uphill struggles defending against Math, Reading and Writing will eventually wear down graduation rates. 

When Remediation stands as victor at the end and holds its championship trophy, no one will be smiling, as no one will have won.


Read about the Final Four here

Read about the Money Regional here

Read about the Student Experience Regional here

Read about the Faculty Experience Regional here

Read about the General Regional here