"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Here's a Brilliant Educational Reform Idea. (Not Really).

Many states, including Missouri, have toyed with the idea of lowering the age of compulsory schooling to age 3.  That's one way to ensure the implementation of universal pre-school.  Educated Citizenry 2020 lists this as one of the long term educational goals for our state and follows Arne Duncan's long term vision on the importance of early childhood learning and expansion of services.  

Access to college and higher education has been a hot button issue of late as well.  The Obama administration believes not only early childhood learning is important, so is higher education learning.  From The Nation:

On June 8, President Barack Obama visited Northern Virginia Community College. He rolled up his sleeves and tooled around under the hood of a hybrid car that students were learning to repair. Later, he gave a speech on the importance of more Americans gaining access to higher education—not just at four-year universities but at community colleges and occupational training programs too.

A Harvard  University report found higher education was required of many jobs in the near future, but only required a post-secondary certificate or associate degree.  It disputed that many jobs required a four-year college degree.  From a report entitled "Pathways to Prosperity":

The president’s remarks departed significantly from the “college for all” rhetoric that frequently dominates the education policy debate. That conversation burst open in February, when the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a report called “Pathways to Prosperity.” The report noted that of the 47 million American jobs expected to be created between now and 2018, about two-thirds will require some sort of education beyond high school, yet a much smaller proportion will require a four-year college degree. About 14 million of these new jobs will be in “mid-skill” occupations that require just a post-secondary certificate or associate’s degree: jobs such as dental hygienist, construction manager and electrician. Such occupations can provide a path into the middle class; indeed, 27 percent of workers with occupational licenses earn more than the average recipient of a bachelor’s degree.

This causes consternation with some education reformers who believe every student should attend college regardless of income, desire or intellect:

The Harvard report—warmly embraced by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—set off a storm of criticism from self-declared education reformers, who rose to defend the “college for all” approach. “While I agree that all students could benefit from more exposure to the world of work, I vehemently disagree with the [Harvard] authors’ main argument: that we already tried preparing all students for college and it didn’t work,” wrote Kati Haycock, president of the Washington, DC, think tank Education Trust, which focuses on closing the achievement gap and was a major player in advocating for No Child Left Behind and, more recently, the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant program. “Most schools still resist the idea that all kids can and should be college-ready. By continuing long-standing, unfair practices of sorting and selecting, they create what is essentially an educational caste system—directing countless young people, especially low-income students and students of color, away from college-prep courses and from seeing themselves as ‘college material.’”

Mandates are in the works for universal preschool and the Washington DC council may be taking the first stab at mandating mandatory post-secondary education.  A bill has been introduced that will mandate that everyone apply to at least one post-secondary institution and take either the SAT or ACT. It apparently doesn't matter if the individual doesn't want to attend a post-secondary institution, he/she will be compelled to apply to a college, trade, seminary or vocational program.  

So much for allowing parents and students to determine what's best for the student.  Your government is nudging (and perhaps legislating) students (who are now adults) into decisions post high school.  Do you suppose if the student is accepted into a program he/she will be required (and pay money he/she may not have) to attend that institution?

From westofroanoke.com:

Washington, DC, Considers Making it Illegal Not to Apply to College
Washington, DC - The thirteen members who make up the Washington D.C. council, are poised to consider legislation requiring all students in the city’s public high schools to apply to at least one post-secondary institution before graduating.

The three page legislation, titled, College Preparation Plan Act of 2012 was introduced by the council’s chairman, Kwame R. Brown (Democrat) on January 4, 2012.

According to the District of Columbia’s official website, the bill has been referred to the District’s Committee of the Whole, meaning all thirteen members of the council will soon be required to vote on the unprecedented legislative act.  The thirteen member council is comprised of eleven Democrats, two independents and no Republicans.

Among other things, the bill states:
“To require that all students in Public High Schools apply to at least one post-secondary institution before graduating; to require that all Public High Schools instruct students on the application process, how to apply for financial aid; any relevant materials needed for parents; any other preparation courses necessary to streamline a transition to post-secondary education; to require OSSE to gather information on the number of students that actually attend a post-secondary institution; and to require that every student take the SAT or the American College Testing program (ACT) before graduation.”

The bill also states that “The Mayor shall create a plan that ensures that each student will apply to at least one post-secondary institution before graduation (“plan”). The plan shall include a mandatory workshop. The mandatory workshop shall include the following:
(A) Instructions on how to apply to post-secondary institutions;
(B) Information on how to apply for financial aid;
(C) Information to help students identify the most effective post-secondary institutions, including those with a high graduation rate;
(D) Any relevant materials needed for parents; and
(E) Any other preparation courses necessary to streamline a transition to a post-secondary institution.”

1 comment:

  1. This is just a shift, not so subtle, or socialism. In a nutshell, if these bureaucrats got out of their offices and into grades 1-3, they'd see how 'schooled out' these kids are. Many, if not all, have been in school since they were three, and not only that have been forced into doing academics when they should be playing with blocks and glue and finger paint.
    Children are not wired to be ready to read before ages 6-8, but since these kids are being kamikazied into trying and for many, failing, they have become frustrated and disinterested in trying something they haven't had success at in the past. If you flew an airplane and crashed it everytime, would you be so willing to jump into the cockpit? Rather than pigeonhole every kid? ( socialism!) allow them to be kids, play and have social skills develop, and then when they're ready to read they'll jump in, love it and in turn love school.


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