David Broder looks at Virginia Governor Mark Warner’s emphasis on high school reform and the upcoming high school summit. Right now, Warner is chair of ECS, using his National Governors Association chairmanship to promote high school reform, and tackling education reform in Virginia. Along with Ted Kennedy and George Miller, he’s probably one of the three most influential Democrats on education policy today.
…why do U.S. media, policymakers and university administrators continue to worry more about who gets into elite colleges and how much they pay for that privilege? Why don’t they focus on how few students make it through this nation’s higher education system with the tools to help keep the society we all share on track?
Probably because most reporters, policymakers and influential educators wouldn’t be in the positions they’re in if they had to recover from the setback that some public schools inflict. If they had faced that struggle, they might better understand why many of those foundering students find it too difficult to work and go to school at the same time. Why some, especially Latinos and those who live at home, will succumb to the tug of family obligations. Why loneliness will overcome many. Why plenty of motivated, hardworking students will simply be unable to overcome the despair of stepping onto campus and feeling as if they’ve entered a black-tie ball wearing a thrift-store T-shirt. These are the students who met every high school requirement, scoring higher grades than most of their classmates in courses the academic establishment said would prepare them for the future.
That was a lie.
Yes, these students have the required credentials. But they don’t have the skills. They won’t comprehend what they read in college well enough to jump into classroom discussions. They can’t write analytically. They’ll find college-level math over their heads.
Read the entire thing…