GRAD NATION: End the dropout crisis– my critique

[Since when did this become a crisis. It has been this way for nearly 40 years and it is just now a crisis?]

IV. Are your high school graduates ready to succeed in college?

More than half of all jobs in the next 10 years will require some sort of post-secondary degree, making college readiness more important than ever. [Proponents of this track keep insisting that >50% of all jobs will require some sort of post high school degree. I have asked and asked but nobody has yet given me the numbers or told me what jobs are they talking about? Whose crystal ball are you using? It is more likely that 50% of college graduates are working at jobs that do not require a college degree. A recent-2013—Huffingtonpost article says exactly that.] Some students report dropping out because they do not believe they will succeed in college even if they do graduate from high school. [Most probably won’t succeed.] Other students assume their high school diploma will not lead to further schooling, so they drop out to find employment as soon as possible rather than waiting until graduation. Only 3 in 10 of 25-to 29-year- olds in the U.S. hold a bachelor’s degree. [This is more than should be. I feel that only the best and brightest should attend college, those with Superior intelligence. This would be those with an IQ of 110 or higher. 110 is the start of ‘Superior’ intelligence. It is at 75th percentile so that only about 25% should go to college.] Challenges remain especially large for low-income students: their college completion rates have remained flat and low even while college enrollments overall have increased over the past 25 years. [Why is it that proponents point to some group as being underrepresented? As if every known sub-group of human beings must be just like every other one, so far as outcomes occur.]

Students need clear pathways, not only to move from high school to college, but also to succeed in college, including a college and career ready curriculum while in high school, help with college access, planning and finances, and appropriate supports while in school and in college. [No amount career-ready training will help in college. And college-ready training for most that do not go to college is just a waste. If you did well in high school then you should go to college and if you did not then do not go to college. It might be kind of hard to do both—career-ready and college-ready. You used to know what you were getting with a high school graduate. Now, and in the future if you get your way, there will so many pathways through high school that nobody will know.]

Although there are not universally agreed-upon definitions of what “college readiness” means, communities can take several steps to gauge their current college readiness and access rates and the likelihood of their high school graduates’ success. [High school was and should be an end in itself, hence the diploma. You do not get a diploma in Elementary or Junior High because you are expected (required) to go on. High school is a terminus. Again, if you did well then go to college.]

College and Career Ready Curriculum

In the last five years, governors and others in the states have led the effort to raise standards for what students should know and be able to do, so they will be prepared for college and careers. [Really. What do they know? Do they have a crystal ball?] State leaders and educators, joined by other experts, came together to create the voluntary Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English/language arts. [Why is it called Language Arts and not just English? This is, especially for a subject that deals with communication, very redundant. English will suffice. As a matter of fact Language Arts is vague—which language? If you’re are saying English is language and an art, then you are stating the obvious, which still is not necessary.] Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are implementing the standards, which build from kindergarten through 12th grade. The few states that have not adopted the Common Core Standards have developed their own standards. In April 2013, 26 states and four national organizations released the Next Generation Science Standards. All these standards provide a foundation for rigorous curricula and dynamic assessments but they do not set curriculum. Instead, they establish goals for what students should know and accomplish in each grade and by the end of high school. [Talk about one size fits all. It is not important what you know at every step. Only what you know when you graduate high school, and even that is not that important. What is learned in college is important.] It is important that your community implement these standards, or other similarly challenging standards, to prepare students for post-secondary success. [I have my doubts. Again, if they did well in high school then they should go onto college, and only then. We have had plenty of high school graduates (not college prep schools) that went onto college and did well. Why is it all high schools need to be college prep schools? Again, most will NOT even go to college.]

College Access, Planning and Finances

Equipping students with the cognitive and non-cognitive skills needed to succeed in college is only part of the college completion equation. [Wrong! We have hit a plateau in both high school and college graduation rates and are probably too high now, and yet you want more?] Many young people simply do not know the steps that are necessary to make the transition from high school to college, even when they are academically prepared. The financial aspects of attending college can be daunting. Students need assistance identifying which colleges they might attend, which are a good match for their interests and abilities – often with a stretch school built in but not an impossible one – and how and when to apply to colleges. [Each college has its own deadlines and requirements. Contact them or maybe a high school counselor. There are books at the library which explain the process and list of college, etc. Same is true online as well. The do not need schools, especially middle-schools, junior highs promoting any college. Middle-schools/junior highs should be doing personality type testing and this coupled with their grades be used to determine what do in high school/college. Heck I have even heard of elementary school kids saying they want to go to college. They barely know what school is and yet they ‘know’ that they want to go to college? It is way too early for that.]

Each community must support and expect that its schools and out-of-school programs help students set goals of going to college, [NO. College is a choice and should not be touted at high school or earlier. You should not try to coerce or otherwise, force kids to go to college—peer pressure is one thing. Or promise them lies, create false hope.] and later develop the skills to navigate the logistical and financial responsibilities of attending college, beginning in the early middle grades. Students should learn to use the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database to research postsecondary institutions’ location, type, programs, and majors, and resources relating to financial aid, career exploration, and preparation for the college application process. School counselors are in a good position to address these challenges with students, as are programs sponsored by nonprofits, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs. [Already mentioned this.]

Students should also cast a wide net when looking at post-secondary education. A recent study shows that the majority of high-achieving students from low-income families do not apply to a selective college or university. This contrasts with the choices of students from high-income families, raising many questions because the subset of high-achieving, low-income students who do apply to selective institutions are just as likely to enroll and progress toward a degree as high-income students with equivalent test scores and grades. Also to be considered is the fact that very selective institutions not only offer students much richer instructional and extracurricular resources, they also offer high-achieving, low-income students so much financial aid that the students would often pay less to attend a selective institution than the far less selective institutions that most of them do.

Other steps can be taken as well. Communities can foster college awareness by supporting middle and high school students on college exploration trips. [Again, no. You have yet to prove to me that more college graduates are needed. High schools are NOT there to promote college, nor should they!!!] Successful college graduates can return to their community’s middle and high schools and inspire youth, offering a unique perspective on what preparedness for postsecondary education, work, and life means in concrete terms. [Most will say math, science, English and other humanities, which is what high schoolers are taking now. So, how does this actually help? What they should say is you need to be self-inspired. You need to want to learn for learning’s sake. Obviously you need to be a good/superior student. You have to an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You have to be more into what instead of who. School is not a social club. It not a place congregate but more a place to learn as best you can. Focus on what and not who. Focus on studying and not on socializing.]

Communities can also obtain a deeper understanding of how well the education they provide stands up to modern needs by probing how well prepared their college graduates felt for postsecondary coursework, job applications, expectations in the workplace, and their own financial literacy. In addition, community members can work with local universities and community colleges to establish the college completion rates of students who graduated from different high schools in the community, as well as the percentage of high school graduates from the community who must take remediation courses during their freshmen year. (Some estimate that one-third of all college freshmen need remediation coursework.) [These are perhaps the kids who did not do well in high school and therefore, in my opinion, should not be at college in the first place. Many of these will probably dropout of college, too.] Also determine the percentages of graduates from your community’s high schools who drop out of college by the end of their freshman or sophomore year. Assembling these facts will give you the tools to convince others of the challenges that exist in your community.

The BLS  [Bureau of Labor Statistics]> stated in 2011 that approximately 62% of the jobs through 2018 would require a tertiary education broken down thusly:
Some College         12%
Associate’s Degree 17%
Bachelor’s      “       23%
Graduate         “       10%

While we have 43% people  25-34 years old with a tertiary education. Now, I suppose that these requirements are for new jobs. Most people get their education before the ages 22-23. Why are you looking at that age group and what about older people with a tertiary education? Why are they not counted as well?

According to this same report we are tied for 9th, Israel and Belgium, in terms of percentage of Adults with a tertiary education:

1 Korea    58%
2 Canada  56%
3 Russian Federation   55%
3 Japan                         55%
5 New Zealand             48%
6 Norway                      46%
7 Ireland                        45%
8 Denmark                      43%
9 United States               42%
9 Israel and Belgium     42%

36 (last) Brazil      11%

Note: China and India are NOT on the list. Presumably they have 10% or less.

You will notice that number 1 Korea at 58% is still short of the 62% the government says we need for the jobs. Of course Korea and Canada and all other countries are smaller in population, so we have by far the most people on Earth (of the listed countries, probably including China and India) with a tertiary education.

According the Huffington Post, 50% of college graduates are in jobs that do NOT require a college degree.


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