Letters to the Editor

Dade Medical College provides a quality education

For the last three years, our institution and students have been the victims of reckless and unwarranted attacks by the Miami Herald.

Case in point: The Miami Herald reported that Miami Dade College’s nursing program only accepts 42 percent of applicants. These applicants cannot even apply to the program without first having a 2.5 grade-point average.

I understand MDC’s system and respect it. But what happens to those folks who have obtained a GED and/or have been out of school for several years? Are they not entitled to fulfill their dreams of becoming nurses? Are they not worthy of the opportunity to improve their life?

These students are mostly single mothers, minorities, and more often than not, the head of household. It is disheartening to see a community college launch an effort against our institution, along with The Herald.

To date, 800 Dade Medical College nurses have passed their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) board exam and are working in our community.

These graduates help generate millions in taxable income a year for our communities. I would be remiss if I did not mention that this is at zero cost to Florida taxpayers, something community colleges cannot claim.

Where, then, is the problem if all of these students have not only obtained a quality education using the same methodologies as traditional schools, but have also passed the universally accepted benchmark of the national NCLEX exam?

The problem is actually the proverbial “barrier to entry” that traditional community colleges and programmatic accrediting bodies have created in order to allow these monopolistic institutions and organizations to exist.

It turns out these institutions have now begun to turn away the very folks they were supposed to embrace and educate: the underserved and high-risk residents in our communities.

I urge those at the helm of Miami Dade College to explain how they cannot seem to make ends meet with an almost half-billion dollar annual budget while holding a similar amount in reserve and still justify a 17.7-percent graduation rate.

And to explain why the college has placed $53 million in high-risk hedge funds as reported in their 2012-2013 audited financial statements while allowing some campus areas to fall into disrepair.

Ernesto Perez, chairman, Dade Medical College, Miami

Chairman, Dade Medical College