What Is the Purpose of High School haldol dec National Review

In the model we have held out, young people will finish high school, enroll in college, receive a degree, and then begin careers that require college diplomas. But a significant percentage of americans fail to make it haldol dec from one step to the next, and public concern has really focused only on raising the haldol dec percentage of people who take the first two steps.

It’s chiefly people who study the issue who are even haldol dec aware of just how high college-dropout rates are. The national center for education statistics reports that more than haldol dec one-third of the students who enrolled in four-year colleges in 2003 did not receive a degree within haldol dec the next six years. Nearly two-thirds of those who enrolled in community colleges did not. Among employed college graduates, one-third were in fields where a majority of jobholders considered haldol dec college degrees unnecessary.

In a paper for the manhattan institute, oren cass estimates that only around one-sixth of young people are following the path our system haldol dec lays out for them. Our policies are working for only a small minority of haldol dec americans, and a well-off minority at that.

But we also need to rethink what happens in high haldol dec school. The assumption that everyone should go to college has by haldol dec now deeply affected the structure of education for ninth- through twelfth-graders. Turning away from the college-for-all mentality will require changing, among other things, our view of the purpose of high schools, our criteria for judging them, and their academic standards and curricula.

It has come to be widely assumed that the purpose haldol dec of high school is to prepare teenagers to go to haldol dec college. Mistaken ideas about the necessity and feasibility of getting everyone haldol dec to go to college encouraged this assumption, but there were other reasons for making it. Third grade follows second and fourth follows third. In each grade from kindergarten through junior year of high haldol dec school, the point is to prepare a child for the next haldol dec one; and that next one is essentially the same for all haldol dec students. Moving from senior year of high school to freshman year haldol dec of college appears to be the next logical part of haldol dec that sequence.

A better criterion for a successful high school would be haldol dec that graduates tend either to find gainful employment or graduate haldol dec from college within a few years. It’s not a perfect criterion, and we would not want to be monomaniacal about it; it would be a mistake to pressure colleges to lower haldol dec their standards to improve their graduation rates. The great advantage of viewing high schools this way is haldol dec that getting high-school seniors to enroll in colleges they are not able haldol dec to complete would not count in the schools’ favor. Making the high-school diploma valuable to employers, on the other hand, would.

Academic standards should also change. They have largely been designed with college readiness in mind, although education policymakers have not always realized it. The common core standards are supposed to be geared toward haldol dec both college readiness and career readiness. But the assumption is that, to be ready for a career, students need to know the same things that they need haldol dec to know to be ready for college. That there is considerable overlap in what they need to haldol dec know — some things all citizens should know — cannot be doubted. That what students in each category need to know is haldol dec identical is highly unlikely.

The principal, immediate objection to nearly any suggestion along these lines is haldol dec that it is elitist to suggest that some people should haldol dec not go to college. Critics of college-for-all are often dismissed on the ground that they themselves haldol dec went to college, and expect their kids to go to college too. And it is true that discussions of education policy are haldol dec dominated on all sides by people with college degrees. The participants are, very disproportionately, alumni of a few dozen highly selective colleges.

It’s a fact that distorts those discussions. It’s not a fact that implies that those people should haldol dec assume that all americans need to follow the same life haldol dec path that they did, which is after all its own form of elitism. Those people should also be open to the possibility that haldol dec some of their children might be better served by not haldol dec going to college — especially if we take action to expand opportunities that do haldol dec not involve time in college. We ought to be working toward a society in which haldol dec we see that our children are not failures if they haldol dec do not go to college, and that the high schools they attended are not failures haldol dec either.

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