In Public Schools

from the "outside" looking "in"

Empowers Students

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013

HIGH SCHOOLEDUCATION EMPOWERS STUDENTS

Education empowers students because the value of a good education is in the options it offers those who seek it. If the student has an advanced degree, he or she might go into my area of specialty or even choose a position that simply wants someone with a college education. He could decide to go into business for himself or simply chose a low paid position that requires no special training. The choice is his. The education empowers him because he has the opportunity to make that selection. A person with no advanced degree can either choose the lower paying position or go into business for himself or herself. Of course, you’ll always find the exception to the rule, the person that manages to fight their way to the top without any formal training.

The schools face a financial crisis and part of the problem in the preparation of students for work comes from that shortage. Many schools that once offered curriculum that included vocational arts, computer science and other specialties, including college preparation now face cutbacks and a watered down curriculum. Those that still offer true vocational arts programs, however, deal with issues of helping the student make their skills marketable by increasing the communication ability of the students.

Even with the programs in place, students still leave the high school with few marketable skills for the jobs. For those in a general education course, often the basic math capabilities, reading and communication skills are limited at best and totally absent at worst. This leaves the student ill prepared for any position, such as store clerk, that requires not only the ability to communicate effectively but also some basic math.

In order to attack the problem of sending illiterate and ill-prepared students into the job market, most schools adopted a core curriculum. The core curriculum is one year of college preparatory courses and includes a foreign language, more focus on English, science and mathematics. This movement is now nationwide.

The focus on core skills occurs because many students are not yet ready to make a decision on their future occupation. It also addresses the fact that Johnny simply can’t read or write intelligently after he successfully received his diploma and threw his mortarboard into the air. The tug between a focus on vocational and practical arts programs and core curriculum still leaves many students with watered down versions of both.

In an attempt to face the issue, many schools have adopted alternative programs that involve internships and work experience in areas such as health care, auto mechanics, electrical occupations, computer science and construction. These programs allow the child to utilize more time in school for core instruction while attaining experience and education in job they wish to explore.

The dilemma of the ill-prepared students does not begin at the high school level but earlier in the learning career of the child. The failure of the school system at the upper grades is simply a reflection of the failure of the system and curriculum at the primary education level.

Schools no longer teach but simply control the masses of children. They face an overwhelming task of accommodating every potential special needs child with kid glove empathy and making certain that no one feels failure. In an attempt to do this, they fail the students by allowing children to pass the grade without the basic skills, simply because they have a special situation.

This biased and unfair practice tells those children they don’t have the capabilities to learn. Instead of insisting on basic skill levels in the classroom, teachers adjust grades for the short falls of the student. This is the most insidious form of insult, not only to the educational system but also to the student himself. The teacher no longer believes that there is hope to teach this child, and because of it, all learning ceases.

Compensation for attention deficit, English as a second language, at risk children or other blocks to learning should not become the rallying point for lower expectations. Instead of lowering the bar for these students and admitting defeat, the school corporation needs to focus on setting standards of excellence and doggedly sticking to them. The schools can only accomplish this task by a more stringent belief that students can meet expectations and accept no excuse for failure. Only then will the schools provide students prepared to enter the work force.


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