The College Problem In High School


In today’s society to much is taken for granted, we take the little parts of nature for granted, we take love for granted, and we even take life for granted. And on a smaller, more finite scale, we take education for granted. After all we do live in the “richest nation in the world” a phrase I try to avoid, because it usually ends up used as an excuse to push redistribution of wealth and socialist ideals in your face. The argument is that we’re the richest country in the world, then why not give some of that money back to the people? Well, there’s an easy way to accomplish that goal, tell the government to stop stealing it, cut our taxes, and let us keep it before it gets all screwed up in the hands of the politicians. Now back to the subject, we take education for granted.

It used to be that not many people went to college. You always hear stories about peoples parents that never went to college and managed to hold three jobs and raise five kids, that’s my grandparents. These day’s those stories aren’t around as much and its nearly taken for granted that kids will attend some sort of college after high school. The National Science Foundation website say’s that “In 2005, 69% of students ages 16–24 enrolled in a 2- or 4-year postsecondary institution in the fall immediately after high school graduation, compared with 51% in 1975.” That say’s a lot about how times have changed, in 1975 nearly half of the nations high school students went to college, to point out the obvious, that means half of the nation’s students did not go to college and did something else with their lives. It would be hard to prove that that number has had a negative impact on our nation. We know that half of our nation was not poor during the nineties and early two thousands, when most of these people’s kids were either entering or finishing up with high school. In fact I would say that the nearly 70 percent in 2005 reflects the exact opposite. It shows that the generation that was evenly split was wealthier than the one prior, giving their children even more of an opportunity to go to college.

Alright, we’ve established that a majority of high school students are now going to college, we can now ask the question, is that a good thing or a bad thing? On the outset that looks like a good thing and it is, to a degree. I would contend that this is one reason why high school education has become so bad. When a student enters pre-school they are preparing the student for elementary school. When they move up to elementary school they are preparing them for middle school and middle school prepares them for high school. In high school you run into an interesting situation, the children who once had no choice as to what grade they would go into next, are now young adults and they have a choice. But do these young adults, like myself, have the best education, which allows for them to make an educated choice as to whether or not they should go to college? I would say the answer is no!

I don’t think it is to hard to prove that high schools have adopted the principal that pre, elementary, and middle school’s have adopted. The pattern of preparing students for the next step in their educational career. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) in “1940, more than half of the U.S. population had completed no more than an eighth grade education.” Imagine that, 50 percent of American children in 1940 didn’t even go to high school, and by 1975 51 percent of students were enrolling in college, a number now nearly at 70 percent. They also say that only “6 percent of males and 4 percent of females had completed 4 years of college.” All together 10 percent of the nations students actually finished college. This doesn’t tell us what enrollment rates were in 1940 but it does tell us that they were well below 50 percent, and that’s not all, nearly half of America’s kids were starting normal, adult life, after eighth grade. A life that most people aren’t starting until about 22 or 24 in 2008. I guess teacher’s didn’t even think their students were going to make it to the ninth grade, let alone college, so they did what they could with what little time they had, in other words they took nothing for granted.

So what becomes of the now 31 percent of high school students that went through high school and are not going to college? The fact is that things are going to be a little bit harder for them these day’s. Now that high schools have vastly accepted that most high school students will be attending college, the same trend happens in the employment market. More and more employers are looking for degree‘s in their future employees, and they probably have become slightly accustomed to that. This is neither here nor there its just a fact that should be pointed out, in other words, I am not implying that these students are victims in this situation.

Is there a solution? Sure there is a solution. I am guessing that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a way to try and break the near assembly line tactics of high schools in America, tactics that just send kids through high school, adding my assessment, in part due to the fact that they take college as the next step for granted. I just don’t think that NCLB will work or is good, and being a conservative I’m not afraid to say it. I don’t like working around a test and I want kids to know about life and how to prosper as an individual in a free market rather than how to pass school. The solution is to set up high schools that benefit all of the students, the ones that want to go to college and the ones that don‘t. And the government does not need to spearhead this effort or get involved. If high schools just created there own programs that allowed for electives that are more geared towards life, all the students would benefit. They should adopt four year programs in high school too, almost like degrees or certificates for high school students. This would benefit more students, because it would be good for the future college student and the future person who chooses to not attend college. I know that they have some programs like this, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon a marketing program that led me to DECA, and I spent three years of my high school career in the marketing field, with ample opportunities to be placed in a higher marketing class in college. Though I chose not to do marketing later on in life, the experience helped me out immensely and looked good on my resume. But we need more programs like this one to ensure that our high schools are not just a stop along the way on education road.

My aim is not to stop people from attending college or to say that it is bad that almost 70 percent of high school students are going to college, I think that is a good thing. The point is that high schools need to think of themselves as the end of the road as far as education goes, like the middle schools thought of themselves in 1940, this so that every student can benefit, not just the ones that are headed to college.

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