The Four-Year College Myth

Summer reading, yay.  Catching up on books while drinking (pick your social class) Sangria/Corona/Bud Light/Pabst on the beach.  

Not getting to the beach?  You could knock out this few-months-old Boston Globe Magazine article during a Dunkin Donut pitstop.  

Neil Swidey (author of The Assist, must reading for hoop-loving eduwonks):

It’s a path ingrained in us: Go to a university right after high school and graduate in four years. But that couldn’t be further from reality. And until education leaders take that into account, too many students will lose out.

Dearest readers, to what extent, if any, do you fear that college readiness default of our many K-12 course titles does not come close to actual college readiness?  

My opinion is we have the worst possible scenario out of the three possible ones.  

1. The top one would be vast numbers of 18-year-olds legitimately prepared for college, which I think is a key driver of the Gates Foundation mission.  

2. The middle option is at least honest — and common in certain countries.  Many who won’t end up with college degrees are steered during high school to some sort of vocational training.  

3. Our system tells lots of 9th graders they’ll be taking classes to prepare them for college, knowing statistically that, except in some suburban and private schools, the majority of those 9th graders will never graduate from college. 

 -Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

2 Replies to “The Four-Year College Myth”

  1. A wise man told me:

    “The problem is that states don’t get the signaling right. We’ve also got to stop treating high school graduation as the end point.”

    “You take an exam in high school, shouldn’t it do more than tell you whether or not you can graduate from HS? Shouldn’t it also tell you if you’re ready for college? Only ten states do this now.”

    “Among ACT test takers, 43 percent of high school students who were given a grade of A or B in Algebra II failed to score at least 22 on the math portion of the ACT, the benchmark for college readiness.”

  2. How about doing it the way they used to–colleges tell schools what they expect incoming freshman to have mastered. It seems that in K-8, they don’t like what they’re hearing and they go about teaching students to “learn how to learn”, value process over fact. What they end up with are kids who are so poor in math when they enter high school, as an example, that the high school math courses have to accomodate the K-8 philosophy.

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