Thursday, October 1, 2015

Schools need alternatives to college readiness


Not every student will go to college. Not every student will need college. Every student does need a high school diploma.

About 66% of high school grads go to some sort of college. That does sound like a large number, but let's dig deeper/

Only about half who enroll in a 4 year college are still there a few years later. So that 66% figure above seemingly drops in half.

How about the drop out rate? It is somewhere between 13% and 7%, depending on race.

This means that literally millions of kids each year either do not start college, or finish.

Are we making it more difficult for the average student to want to finish high school if we continue to push college? College degrees vary in giving the earner a career, and certainly add to their debt load. College is just not practical for many of our students. So why do we keep pushing it?

There are careers that we need that do not require a college degree. They need training, even on the job. These careers go from plumbers, electricians, carpenters, to food and service industry. We need trained people to do millions of jobs daily. Judging by the local freeways and highways, we sure need a lot of truck drivers.

Those jobs mentioned above do need some sort of technical training. Wouldn't it be great if we offered that in high school? Having a way to funnel our students to good paying careers right out of high school? Billions of dollars is spent in trying to prepare our students for a 4 year university, leaving out a good chunk of our student bodies. I would be discouraged if I were not sold on college. I would feel like I am being told I have no future.

We do our students a disservice by not giving them options. We need to start partnering with good technical schools and junior colleges that offer needed programs. No, we are not talking about useless ripoff "colleges" that con students in, take their money, then close. We are talking about good jobs that are needed now. Construction workers, truck drivers, LVNs, and other medical professions like respiratory therapist.

When we graduate kids that have no future, or worse, allow them to drop out, we are putting society at risk. We now have lots of young people without futures. Let's give them one.

This will have to start at the state level, perhaps federal. It will take money and program development. We as educators need to get the ball rolling by talking to our school board and elected officials across the board.

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