As the school year winds down the next realities show up – Are grads ready

posted by Brian Mudd -

As the school year winds down the next realities show up – Are grads ready for what's next? 

Bottom Line: There's great news for the high school and college grads. The unemployment rate is the lowest since 2000 and we have a record number of job openings currently posted. For those looking to enter the workforce it'd be hard to ask for better prospects. The news for the employers and even colleges however... 

Gallup recently completed a nationwide survey of adults on how prepared for the next phase of life they think high school grads are as they prepare to take the step. The responses were alarming. Ready for this...  

  • Just 3% of adults think high school grads are prepared for college 

  • Only 5% believe that they're ready to enter the workforce 

It's pretty rare to have 95% to 97% of Americans sharing a position on anything but it's potentially telling how little confidence we have in the state of the education system to produce graduates that are ready for success at the next level, be that in education or in the workforce. There's an important point to be made here. What's the actual point of grade school education 

I've documented the US decline in education outcomes since 1980 rather extensively. To sum it up, since the creation of the US Department of Education, the US has fallen from 2nd in world-wide education outcomes to 17th with no sign of the slide ending in sight. While that's never broadly discussed and should be, it's the byproduct of that decline that's even more important than world-wide rankings. Are high-school grads prepared for next steps? Arguably the most important roles educators play is for the preparation next steps. Based on our collective view of the outcome of this year's grads... That's probably the biggest deficit that's evidenced by the 38-year decline in education outcomes. 

Hopefully we're being overly pessimistic (we most likely are) but the point remains. What are we doing to exact a different outcome? What's the definition of insanity? Why is it that as taxpayers we pay for education but commonly aren't able to use those resources for the education we'd prefer for our children. Why is it that we let teachers unionize against us and go on strike? If you were on a 38-year losing streak wouldn't it be prudent to do something significantly different?  

This much is certain. The education establishment hasn't worked in the view of those of us paying for it.  

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