California needs more registered nurses. There are long waiting lists to get into nursing education at community colleges. Yet admissions is by lottery, not academic qualifications, writes Lance Izumi of Pacific Research Institute.
Not surprisingly, using a lottery to choose nursing students results in the admission of many students with low-level qualifications and increased dropout rates because such students can’t handle the tough coursework.
Meanwhile, the most qualified students are the most likely to leave the waiting list for other careers. Izumi quotes Sue Albert, dean of health programs at College of the Canyons in Southern California.
Of the 300 students currently on her waiting list, some have only the minimal math and English requirements and a 2.5 grade point average, while others have completed science courses plus core subjects and boast 3.0-4.0 averages. Yet, says Albert: “It is first come, first serve. It is not based on qualifications. No longer are the best and brightest rewarded for choosing nursing as a career.”
Why the stupid policy? Community colleges are required to be open to all students, so they’re not supposed to discriminate, even when there isn’t enough space for all students.