The Associated Press published a story earlier this week which explains, quite clearly, one of the major problems with education in New Jersey and around the country. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to click on the link above and read the story.
Did you read the story? Well, whether you did or you didn’t here are some quotes that made me shake my head:
Nationwide, about a third of first-year students in 2007-08 had taken at least one remedial course, according to the U.S. Department of Education. At public two-year colleges, that number rises to about 42 percent
Really? Come on, people. Our public schools are sending kids to college that aren’t prepared for college level activity. That’s unacceptable. Who is simply passing these students in the public schools and letting them graduate when they can’t make the grade? Find that person and fire them because they are hurting the entire educational system. Look, some people weren’t made to graduate from primary school because they can’t grasp the concepts. I’m not trying to be like Chris Rock or Ron White and make a joke about “What ever happened to stupid kids?” but the truth is that some kids just can’t grasp college level education and others can’t grasp junior and senior high school level education. Or, at least they can’t grasp it the way that it is currently being taught (hint: charter schools are the way to fix this problem!).
In a 2007 ACT National Curriculum Survey of college professors, 65 percent said their states poorly prepare students for college-level coursework.
Given that this is now my fourth year as an Adjunct Professor at the local college and the end of my first year as an online instructor for another college, I absolutely agree. My observations come more from the local college where I interact directly with Freshmen and Sophomore students. There are some students that are simply not prepared for college level work, period. There’s no doubt about it. I see students that can’t spell simple words, others that can’t pull themselves away from their BlackBerries to take notes, and still more that can’t understand simple concepts. It’s horrifying – and that’s without even diving into the fact that none of these kids can write without plagiarizing from Wikipedia. I think I’ve written it on here before, but I’ve actually had students copy and paste from Wikipedia and keep the HTML formatted footnotes and endnotes in their paper!
“We’re telling kids you’ll be a third-class citizen if you don’t go to college,” said Marty Nemko, an education policy consultant and author. “And colleges are taking kids who in previous generations would not have gone to college.”
Nemko favors an apprenticeship program similar to those offered in Finland, Japan, and Germany.
That’s a point that Daniel Paz, a student in Bowen’s class, says he can relate to.
“College is not for me,” said Paz, who graduated from high school last year and is considering a career in criminal justice. “It’s something I have to do, but if there was another way, than I’d be doing something else.”
Daniel Paz speaks for all students in his position – we tell our young people that college is something that they “have” to do or they won’t get a good job and won’t live a happy life. That’s just not true. Sure, the statistics point to an incredible increase in overall lifetime earnings for those with higher degrees and that is a fact that you can’t really question. But not all people are cut out for college. And just because you don’t go to college doesn’t mean that you are going to be a third class citizen. There needs to be more apprentice programs and technical training programs for non-college bound students. America needs to break out of its antiquated (and downright stupid) mindset that our children must go to elementary school and then they must go to high school and then they must go to college in order to be properly prepared to contribute to society. That’s crap.
New Jersey – and America – needs sweeping education reform right now. Let’s hope that something gets done about this before it’s too late.