A few things to say about Perry Toles’ below comments ahead of the Roswell Daily Record’s July 12 edition.
One wishes that fellow alumnus Perry Toles’ observations about the lame explanation for the incredibly high attrition of currently enrolled cadets and incredibly low retention of cadets into the next academic year could be sent to a mass audience of alumni — and that some news organization might see as newsworthy these serious enrollment issues at a state-supported, tax-dollar-supported school.
While the Institute also has a high school section with much higher than acceptable enrollment outcomes, it would be interesting to compare the Institute’s two-year college attrition and retention rates with the first two years of the other two state-supported (four-year) military colleges — The Citadel and VMI.
It is simply not credible that the present administration’s contention that the current dismal attrition and retention figures are not only normal for the Institute, but also that this has been the case since the early 1990s. No, this is certainly not the case.
One could ask my NMMI admission colleague, Jim Matchin, about how it was in the ‘90s, when under both Lt. Gen. Scott and Lt. Gen. Beckel, enrollment was far more stable; and even Superintendent Rear Admiral Ellison had better attrition and retention rates in his shaky administration than does the present head of school.
It’s a lame excuse to blame high attrition and low retention on the old and tired “… everyone-thinks-military-schools-are-reform-schools …” saw. It’s just not credible; and a more believable explanation is that a lion’s share of the Cadet Corps of the past few years simply didn’t feel sufficient satisfaction when enrolled, and they thus departed before completing the academic year; and a whole lot of currently enrolled cadets apparently have similarly little incentive to return in the next year.
As with virtually all issues at all schools and organizations, low attrition and high retention has much more to do with good and inspired leadership and management, not some vague straw man of an excuse that is mentioned by the administration in the Roswell Daily Record article that Perry Toles has sent to us.
NMMI has a proud, amazing and storied past; and perhaps we will see a better future than one in which hundreds of ex-cadets (and their families) yearly depart the campus prematurely with ambivalent or negative feelings toward the school.