It seems the school game has run its course and is now being seen for just that … a game. A game of chance, of survival, of trial and error; yet, a very expensive game. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that by the end of 2018, over 44 million american students held a total of $1.47 trillion in student debt. Yet, study after study shows that the education system as it stands is overpriced and quite inadequate.
Grades K-8 are supposed to prepare us for high school by teaching us reading, writing, and arithmetic; milestones which the average American student is failing to adequately reach. That means the high school is then saddled with the task of teaching and re-teaching those same fundamental skills in order to successfully add their curriculum to the student’s repertoire. Sadly, American high school graduates are performing well below the levels of their international peers, even though America spends more money per student than nearly all other developed countries.
Then there is the notion that attending college is the gold standard of the successful individual. -pay us for your future- The problem is that too many students are not academically prepared for the rigors of college level work, neither do they possess the determination, perseverance, self-discipline, and work ethic needed to succeed. Hence, the dreary statistics affirming that nearly half of college students drop out of school with no degree in hand. –yet they still spent money–
High school graduates that complete the necessary applications to enter college must undergo two years of courses hauntingly similar to those they already took in high school: general education courses. Isn’t that what high school is for, to take general education courses? So why are students being forced to pay tuition for and endure glorified versions of those same classes? -more money-
Meanwhile high schools across the country offer Advanced Placement courses – aka college classes. Upon completion, students that pass the standardized test will be exempt from taking that course in college. Yet, even still, those students will be required to pay for and take a slew of mandatory general education classes before they will be permitted to take classes in the major area of their choice. -money, money, money-
Is it possible that students would be more engaged if they were allowed to begin college with courses in their major area of study instead of recycled high school basics? Since they are paying for the courses, why not get right to it and learn what they want to learn? -instead of paying for things they don’t want or need – This method will make it easier for students to see what things interest them while revealing misconceptions they may be holding onto. The immediate feedback within a specific profession or area of study can serve as a springboard to deeper study or a catalyst for a change of direction. Isn’t that the real point of college? – or is it to make exorbitant amounts of money?-
Yet so many students who don’t play the game right, who lose interest in the redundant learning of grades gone by, find themselves running out of steam and patience with the seemingly rigged process. Let them learn. Let them choose. They are young adults and they are paying, -so the college can make more money – Let them charter their own path and gain the knowledge necessary to propel them forward instead of holding them back.