Friday, February 06, 2009

College isn't for everyone?

Seattle PI on Gap at the Top

Japan running out of engineers

And this:

Please Don't Go To College
17 May 2008 07:04 pm

From the new issue, an article on post-secondary education by a professor who fails many of his students:

America, ever-idealistic, seems wary of the vocational-education track. We are not comfortable limiting anyone’s options. Telling someone that college is not for him seems harsh and classist and British, as though we were sentencing him to a life in the coal mines. I sympathize with this stance; I subscribe to the American ideal. Unfortunately, it is with me and my red pen that that ideal crashes and burns.

Sending everyone under the sun to college is a noble initiative. Academia is all for it, naturally. Industry is all for it; some companies even help with tuition costs. Government is all for it; the truly needy have lots of opportunities for financial aid. The media applauds it—try to imagine someone speaking out against the idea. To oppose such a scheme of inclusion would be positively churlish. But one piece of the puzzle hasn’t been figured into the equation, to use the sort of phrase I encounter in the papers submitted by my English 101 students. The zeitgeist of academic possibility is a great inverted pyramid, and its rather sharp point is poking, uncomfortably, a spot just about midway between my shoulder blades.

For I, who teach these low-level, must-pass, no-multiple-choice-test classes, am the one who ultimately delivers the news to those unfit for college: that they lack the most-basic skills and have no sense of the volume of work required; that they are in some cases barely literate; that they are so bereft of schemata, so dispossessed of contexts in which to place newly acquired knowledge, that every bit of information simply raises more questions. They are not ready for high school, some of them, much less for college.I am the man who has to lower the hammer.

6 comments:

jonathanweedin said...

Wow, that's scary, but it's true that a lot of people just aren't ready for college. High school these days is too easy, unless you take lots AP or IB classes. From movies and TV, it seems like a lot of people go to college just for parties and sports, rather than an actual education.

John Y. said...

I don't know what to say to this article other than the system is failing these kids this essay is talking about. It's not the students fault the system sucks.Fix the system and you'll fix our generation's problem with education. You can only blame so much on lazy kids.

publius said...

“In one century we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college” -Joseph Sobran. Harsh words, but it is the truth in that statement that stings the most. As a student who had to take remedial classes myself, I have to wonder... What went wrong in the American education system? Would that I could write with half the eloquence and command of English that the average 18th century 12 year old had.
-Matthew

scott said...

I believe that you can blame a lot on lazy kids. you get out of the system what you put in. if you wanted the skills for college you needed to put forth more than just an A effort in highschool.

Nicole C said...

I think in many high school's teachers take it way to easy on their students. Just like my first class at YVCC i was still in high school and I couldn't believe it when I got my first paper back with a note saying "re-write this before I will even give you a grade." I was shocked but it just proves many kids are not prepared for college and they dont know what will hit them if their teachers on high school are so easy on them.

Juan CF said...

I don't understand why school has to be so expensive don't they want kids to go to school really it seems that there trying to make it impossible for people to go.