What Would Happen If.....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherman1, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    .... by some miracle, the public school system were able to bring each and every young man and woman in its charge "up to standard" and college-ready at some time in the near (or far) future?

    Would there be enough colleges and university seats available to accept them all?

    And if every single High School Graduate did get into college, who would pay for their educations? Would the same businesses pushing for this "highly qualified workforce" give everyone scholarships and grants or would students have to take on the lifetime burden of college loans like some are doing today?

    And if that same miracle led to every one of those students graduating from college, who would be left to work in the trades?
    Who would become the fast food workers, landscapers, waitresses and waiters, janitors, salespeople etc.etc.etc.

    Hmmmmmm...
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Not everyone cares to go to college. Not everyone has the skills to be successful in college, even if they are performing at grade level in K-12.
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Read Diane Ravitch's book Reign of Error. She discusses this push towards dramatically increasing the amount of college graduates and suggests that it might be misguided. Not everyone can or should go to college. If we tried to get everyone to obtain a college degree, it would devalue the degree. Many careers don't require a degree anyway, especially the ones that can't be outsourced or replaced by technology in the future.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    IF they could all be "up to standard" then I would be out of a job. I know parents of the special needs population would love it if they could reach that ill-conceived idea. :/
     
  6. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Nov 25, 2013

    And this brings up another issue, SpecialPreschool....

    If, by some miracle of miracles, through your hard work (SPED people), the parent's hard work and an incredible amount of work and effort on the part of those special needs kids, resulted in their scraping through High School and College, would they have high-paying jobs waiting for them when they emerged from 16 years of high-pressure high-stress schooling?

    The bell curve will still be there no matter how high we "raise the bar", so won't those on the bottom now still be on the bottom of the curve in this new highly-qualified and proficient world?
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    HA! It would take some "miracles of miracles". My HS SPE students (11-12th+) students can barely read at a 2nd grade level. Their IQ's are in the 40-50's. I really doubt they would have a high paying job. We have some in our building that can't do a thing for themselves due to the severity. Bush and his "no child left behind" idea... *smh* He's probably never stepped foot in a class like that.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Your scenario might have been possible years ago when any child with a disability was denied a public education. Now that all children are provided a spot in a public school, including profoundly disabled children who need to be turned on a regular basis so they don't develop bedsores, your "miracle"will not happen.
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    There is a fundamental difference between opportunity and outcome. I completely agree that it doesn't make sense for 100% of students to end up (outcome) in college working toward a more "professional" degree. However, I believe every child should have the opportunity to be one of those that does. Right now, things like poverty, quality of education, parent education, etc. are part of what determines who makes it into which tier and who doesn't. Arguing for equal opportunity isn't the same as arguing that all kids should go to college.

    There is most certainly a practical question at hand: At which point do we start educating kids for different paths they might take? Should we determine by age 14 that a child should go t/he more voc-ed route? Age 16? Wait until high school graduation? Also, how much should a child be allowed to choose, and at which age? Should a 14-year-old be allow to determine that s/he isn't going to college? Those are all very real and difficult questions, and I don't think my above comments about opportunity vs. outcome - as simple as they are - answer the practical implications.

    In terms of your "what if" teacherman: My sense is that, if every child who had the capacity to attend college were provided the training and opportunity to make that decision at age 18, competition would just increase. We would have more college applications for community college, for example, with fewer kids getting in. I don't see that as a difficult concept. There will still be kids who don't get in and end up working jobs that don't require college education, but here's what would be different: They'd have been given a fair chance to compete for that spot. Opportunity.
     
  10. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Nov 25, 2013

    I think I get what you're saying, EdEd, but the stated goals of Common Core say:

    "The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy."

    To me, it seems that the kids who want something other than to earn a college degree are on their own - after (and if) they graduate from High School.
     
  11. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    My $.02....I agree with the premise that children who have the capacity and motivation to attend college deserve the very best training and opportunity. however the reality that I have observed is that they oftentimes get less than what they deserve because they are competing for scarce resources (i.e teacher time and attention) with those in the same classroom who have neither the desire or ability to attend secondary education.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I wonder what ever happened to the notion that different people have different talents and ability levels. Of course every person can learn and improve, but maybe academics isn't their strength. For example, a lot of musical things are very hard for me. I'm being 100% serious when I say I have absolutely NO rhythm. I literally cannot clap to a beat of song, or find the beat of a song for that matter. I honestly don't understand how people do it. I don't hear it. With singing, I'm tone deaf. When people say that something was "flat" or "sharp" it makes no sense to me because I can't tell the difference. That's just where my natural abilities are. If I got a ton of support and intervention in this area, I expect that I would be able to learn something and improve my skills. However, no amount of "intervention" would make me a "proficient" singer or dancer. On the other hand, I taught a girl a few years ago who was 3-4 years behind grade level in absolutely everything, but sang like an angel and could repeat a 5 minute dance routine after seeing it one time. She obviously has different abilities and talents than me. What's wrong with that? Why does everyone need to be at college level academics?
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I see what you're saying. I guess my response would be that CCSS should absolutely be geared toward preparing all students for college so that they have the opportunity to make that decision when the time comes. Think about the alternative: If CCSS said that it's goal was only to prepare interested students in college, at what point would we consider students "interested?" I do agree that at some point in high we should start to offer different educational options for kids, but I'm not sure that would be in place of CCSS - just in supplement to it. Your thoughts?

    Also, I see the language "college and careers" as being inclusive of both college and not college ("careers" including non-college options as well).
     
  14. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Um...what does "careers" mean to you? It certainly seems to imply to me that there are alternatives to college and that the CCSS are designed to provide skills that will aid in those alternative attainments.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I agree, and that makes sense. Unfortunately I don't have an easy solution up my sleeve for this, other than that we need to do a better job of offering more relevant educational options earlier in the game.

    I mentioned before the difficulty of knowing exactly when to break from the traditional college prep route and move toward other options. I definitely see that being before the point when the child is frustrated and failing in the college prep track. I see a situation in which students are assessed every year for educational placement beginning middle school or so, with a "dual track" route occurring at least at first, if not throughout. For example, an engineering route may offer hands on skills without sacrificing on academics.

    Still, as I said, I offer no easy solutions :)
     
  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think the issue is teasing apart academics and ability. At what point do we make the determination that a child has reached his/her maximal rate of growth academically?
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Except it's not!

    Hands-on skills training is being eliminated from high schools everywhere. There is very little for my students who have strengths other than academics. They are getting the message every day that they are stupid and not worth resources. Bring back trades AND college prep!
     
  18. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    The dichotomous attitude of "college or vocational program" certainly is not helpful. We had a presentation from our vocational trades program today, and so many students told me that they weren't going to get anything out of the presentation because they're going to a four-year college.

    In every class, we had the discussion that most people are going to have to work in school in order to be able to pay for it (or rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt); I'd much rather work my way through school making $15-17 an hour as a cosmetologist or electrician's assistant than $8 an hour at Target.

    Stop telling kids they can either go to college or to a vocational trades school. "If the skills you gain don't benefit you directly in college, they're not worth mastering while you're in high school!"

    How absurd. Excuse my rant.
     
  19. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    This certainly isn't the case in my area of the Midwest. I'd be curious to see statistics supporting the assertion that trade schools are being eliminated.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It is alive and well here and in the school district where I grew up. They are actually increasing the programs. The community saw a need and it has the population to make it feasible.
     
  21. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Excellent point.

    I suppose if schools really feel they need to cut back, they could start with eliminating sports programs.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I hear you foursquare - I support what you're saying.
     
  23. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I hear you. The cost of college is outrageous now. Glad I'm not 18 :)
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Nov 25, 2013

    The Death of Vocational Education and the Demise of the American Middle Class

    Special Education Budget Cuts, Sequestration, Hurt America's Most Vulnerable Students

    "The cuts have affected Head Start, Title I funding for poor students, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding, Pell grants for college students and vocational school funding, according to the NDD United report."

    Construction Employment Hits Four-Year High

    "AGC officials say another reason construction employers were worried about finding enough qualified workers is the limited number of career and technical education and training programs that exist. They say many school districts have eliminated vocational education programs during the past several decades. The AGC says it is preparing a series of proposals to increase the number of career and technical education and training opportunities that it will release later this year."

    Vocational skills 'more valuable' than academic qualifications, say employers

    "Employers are crying out for young people who have the right skills to add value to their business," Jones said. "Vocational qualifications can provide these skills, but how many people know about them. Careers advice provision in schools is limited, uninspiring and often purely focused on university."

    ----------------------------------------

    I'm glad they have not been eliminated completely, but the range seems much smaller than when my parents were in school. And I never took anything "useful" in high school. I don't know how to sew, change my oil, build anything, or cook. Even if you ARE going to college, I think these things need taught. Most of my friends did not have much room in their electives for these things, or they just weren't offered.

    It frankly never concerned me until I started teaching Special Ed. I was always college bound. Now I am really worried for those who aren't. :(
     
  25. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I'm not too sure what I think about teaching kids life skills such as cooking for changing oil to be honest. I do think there are only so many hours during the day, and I see school as a place to teach "career" skills (e.g., technical) if not academic ones. I do understand that there are kids who need to learn some practical life skills in an educational context because families might not have the skills to teach them, though.

    I suppose that's really just an argument around technicalities, though. I think we agree that technical skills beyond college-relevant academics should be taught. I just think skills should translate into career or work-oriented skills, for the most part.
     
  26. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Nov 26, 2013

    another point to this discussion. I just read an article yesterday that stated about 40% of new college graduates are underemployed - i.e doing a job for which their degree is not really a requirement. While I'm not against higher education, I hate to see kids take out large amounts of loans for degrees that aren't economically justifiable. I don't think the "college or bust" mentality is beneficial. like you stated in your last sentence, we do need to teach vocational skills to best serve our entire student population.

    I would link the article but I have some papers to grade before school this morning.
     
  27. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    I saw no statistics on the demise of vocational schools; I just saw a few anecdotes and a quote related to the sequestration, which has impacted all educational funding and is a recent political phenomenon, not a trendd.
     
  28. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    The problem here, Ed, is that there are so many kids that are simply incapable of attaining that level (severely dyslexic kids, MR kids, severe autism etc. etc.).

    By making college readiness the sole goal of our public education system (and threatening to withhold a HS diploma if they can't attain it) we are putting all those kids (and teachers) through unimaginable stress trying to get to that level.
     
  29. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    My son is a perfect example of this, GT. He spent 5 years at a "4 year" college (and lots of money) to attain a degree in "Communications" but was unable to find a job in the field.

    For the last 4 or 5 years he has worked in the food services sector as a waiter (or even simply delivering pizza) and makes a decent income. You'd be surprised what some waiters, waitresses, bartenders and pizza delivery guys can make in a week)

    He actually likes what he's doing because there's little stress, but he has to deal with the fact that he threw away 5 years of his life in college and has nothing to show for it but a piece of paper and thousands $$$$$$ in college loans.

    And here's a kid who made honor-role in a highly rated private High School !
     
  30. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think we're on the same page, teacherman. One of the fundamental issues I see is curriculum pacing expectations, which is one of the worst educational concepts ever thought up. Any set of standards sets an educational expectation by a certain date. However, most sets of standards (including CCSS) do not expect a teacher to teach those standards regardless of whether kids are ready to learn them. States, districts, and schools impose pacing guidelines on top of standards as a strategy to meet those standards. However, the worst way to improve a child's educational level is to teach them skills they aren't ready to learn.

    All of this is relevant because, if curriculum pacing weren't in place, there would really be no issue. Even with kids with severely impaired educational performance, the general CCSS goals would still be in place as general educational expectations, but not actual & specific expectations at any given point in time. In other words, let's say a 5th grader is working on the 2nd grade level in a particular skill area. We would still have the general goal of that child performing well on assessments measuring 5th grade material, but to get there we would rigorously teach the child 2nd grade material, then 3rd, and so on. In the process of this teaching, we'd set specific goals for that child on the 2nd grade level, then 3rd, etc. So, the CCSS expectations would generally be "in effect," but not active in terms of instructional planning.

    An analogy would be a high school senior having the goal of being able to effectively perform brain surgery. That goal might be "active" in terms of the child working toward it, but the student is first working on prerequisites that will eventually build toward being able to perform surgery.

    So....yes - trying to expect all children to go to college is probably inappropriate, but taking appropriate preparatory steps to give them that option is fine, provided we aren't imposing ridiculous pacing expectations.

    All of this is to say that I'm not sure CCSS, or the goal of college prep, is necessarily as problematic as how we go about operationalizing our approach to those goals.
     

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