A recent NY Times article, shows the conflict that exists in the NYC public school system between what a good education should be and the desire to raise graduation rates. The unfortunate consequence is that although many students are receiving diplomas, they are not prepared for college or any world outside of high school. What was, perhaps, designed to be a benefit to students is actually a great disservice. Today’s post looks at some of the effects of such policies and makes some recommendations about what should be done in the future.High school graduation rates around the country have been disappointing and hovering around 60%. In New York City, however, rates have been rising rapidly. Unfortunately, what seems to be happening is not that schools are doing a better job of educating students to meet those standards, but that schools are merely lowering their standards, or giving diplomas to students based on judgment calls. This is sending a message that students do not need to learn, to study, or in some cases, even go to class. On top of that, it does not prepare them for a life after high school – whether the student’s plans were for college or entering the workforce. In addition to lacking the knowledge that would have been gained in high school, students will also lack the discipline necessary to hold on a job.
In related news, the City University of New York (CUNY), is raising its admissions standards. Many within the university feel that students are unprepared for college and lack basic skills and that raising standards will raise the calibre of students in the classroom. However, critics of the plan feel that it will keep many low-income and minority students out of the institution. Either way, the debate calls into question what a role a public university should play in educating students and its relationship to the K-12 system.
TeacherJay is an employee of one of the Senior Colleges within CUNY and sees that some students are certainly unprepared for college-level work. However, CUNY, a state-funded institution receives most of its student body directly from the New York City public school system, also state-funded. Shouldn’t New York State become more involved in the process and be there to help students? It seems that the schools are not preparing “college-bound” students to survive within the public university system. While the high schools are able to improve their appearance they are merely passing on the problem to other institutions. In the long run, students are still the ones missing out.