It’s not your high school’s fault you don’t go to class in college

By The Chronicle’s View

A recently published study of ACT test scores causes further damage to the battered reputation of Utah’s public education system, suggesting that fewer than half of high school graduates are prepared for the transition to college, according to the ACT’s standards.

Bad news about Utah’s educational efforts is nothing new, but many are missing the boat by placing the blame for these findings entirely on public education. There’s another factor in this equation-the students themselves.

Though a student’s troubles in school can be attributed to language barriers, prevailing personal problems, learning deficiencies or even the general scholastic inferiority of his or her respective high school, it’s hard to argue against the stark reality of the situation: Most students who struggle in college these days are simply unmotivated.

As the study indicates, the number of students enrolling in college has increased by 15 percent over the past decade, a spike in the population large enough to account for the corresponding decrease in student preparedness.

It seems that higher education never intended for the inclusion of these students, and that efforts toward further educational socialization of our citizenship have only served to water down the educational experience for everybody else.

It’s important to note, however, that the study was conducted based on ACT results-a test which has been revealed to be a poor indicator of a student’s future abilities.

The general result of the study seems accurate, however. College students really aren’t very prepared, and there are a number of reasons for this. Many high school students develop poor habits during their senior year. Fewer college students these days pay for school themselves, lessening their accountability for their efforts. Still others are too busy learning basic life skills their parents had mastered by the age of 15, leading some to coin college “the new high school.”

Above all, however, most of the problems with the transition have to do with maturity, not prior education.

Ever since the introduction of the block schedule, public education has tried to adhere more and more strongly to collegiate frameworks so that students would later be accustomed to collegiate coursework.

It has tried so hard to achieve this, in fact, that it often appears that its aim is eventually to send every single student to a college or university. Frankly, that’s an unhealthy goal. After all, the world needs ditch diggers, ditch diggers don’t need degrees and astrophysical engineering majors don’t need ditch diggers slowing down the pace of their classes.

If anybody is to be blamed for the struggles of our generation’s college students, it’s probably our generation’s college students themselves. We need to stop using “the Twinkie defense” and blaming our past schooling for our current problems.

Our generation’s reputation for nonchalance and indifference is only bolstered by these persistent reports of our struggles on standardized tests. We should be offended; and furthermore, we should do something our generation is not as well known for: act.