Saturday, December 29, 2007

Higher Standards

An editorial supports raising the bar for students graduating from high school. Graduating seniors often take remedial coursework as freshmen in college and the low percentages of minorities applying to four-year universities are some of the pieces of evidence used to support this position.

While I, too, would like to see students better prepared for university life and coursework, I also see some concerning factors not discussed.

I firmly believe that elective courses often keep students in school and reveal to students their passions. By increasing the number of core classes (according to the article: "English, math, science, social studies and language") students take, the number of electives available to them would decrease.

Also, the public and school officials must be prepared for failure rates to rise initially. In any system when standards are raised, a period of time ensues where success levels drop and then they begin to recover. However, success rates may never reach previous levels.

Academic success is a social and community dilemma. The increase in single-parent households, the attitudes about school, the socio-economic status of households (the issue of poverty in general), and more affect student achievement.

It seems as though every solution to perceived academic shortcomings is conducted entirely within the schools, even though numerous factors outside of the school setting greatly affect student success--arguably even more so than what occurs within the classroom.


Tom Brandt said...

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has published a report authored by Paul E. Barton and Richard J. Coley with the title: The Family: America's Smallest School. The study outlines some of the negatives outside of the school that affect performance in school. Here is a link to the report.

This information should be in the hands of all teachers, administrators, school board memebers, parents, and law makers.

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