America's community colleges have big problems with segregation and racial inequality, according to two new studies noted by Inside Higher Ed. Consider that mostly white colleges average 85 students per staff, but mostly black ones average nearly 300. Think of it this way, suggests Hamilton Nolan at Gawker: These may be colleges, but their problems are more like those of public schools than universities. If the schools are located in poor neighborhoods, chances are they're underfunded and offering sub-par education.
The bigger problem here is that "we've designed a society in which a college degree is the basic price of admission to a middle class lifestyle," writes Nolan. But because low-income students often can't get in to pricey four-year schools, community colleges are their best bet. "We should either fund them and fix them, or change the assumption that a college degree is a basic necessity," writes Nolan. "Otherwise, community colleges are just the final stop on a lifelong trip of underfunded public educational disappointment for non-white Americans." Click for Nolan's full post. (Read more community college stories.)