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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back to Basics

At a recent Christmas party, I met a PhD and Dean at a local well known four year college.  Many Hamburg students attend this college.  She has been teaching freshman in college for over 40 years, and as a retired teacher myself, she and I found common ground in discussing the changes in education.  Since we both started our careers in the 1970s we had a lot to talk about however the majority of our conversation focused  on reading and writing.  She lamented that students coming out of the local public schools cannot handle the reading load and frankly they cannot write.  In fact, many of the students end up having to be remediated.  To me it seemed glaringly obvious, high schools need to drop all the bells and whistles and get back to basics: reading and writing, two skills that will open the doors of learning forever.  However, she indicated this is not happening and not likely to happen soon.  She mentioned she conducts a survey of every freshman who earns a 2.0 or lower after their first semester.  Without a doubt, these students wrote their biggest problem was that the skills and study techniques they learned in high school were not working in college.  In other words, the students were not prepared for college.  So, I thought to myself, how can it be ethical for a high school to graduate students and know they are setting them up for failure in college?  In my last years of teaching, I often felt that standards were slipping and I was forced to cater to lower achieving students.  No Child Left Behind, right?  If we are supposedly not leaving children behind in high school, what about college?  What about when the students or parents are paying (not just through taxes) for their education?  Why aren't parents outraged that their local high school is setting up their child for failure in college?  I would love for the school board to conduct of survey on the college graduation rate of Hamburg students.  Follow our kids not only during their four years in high school, but also the two or four years in college.  How then do Hamburg's kids stack up?



Read the Chronicle of Higher Education, this topic is in most every issue. The taxpayer ought to be outraged, that kids graduate go off to college, and then have to take the material they were meant to learn in High School all over. We have all been in the local stores, where kids cant make change without their umbilical cord attached to the cash register. Ask a young person to write something, and it appears to be chicken scratch. Failing our kids...not as long as a principal is willing to Make Up Grades, per the content of Grade Fraud. The colleges should demand more from schools, or are they just in it for the money too.

Anonymous said...

Mr Taylor, Let me sleap.

Anonymous said...

I am sure Mr Taylor taught you that it is sleep not sleap, if you were awake you may have learned this. He was a wonderful teacher.