Listener: It’s not just college loans that need changing

Robert,

That was a great article at the tail end of the program today.  I would further add there is another issue here that goes unspoken.

One of the biggest problems is that the schools are stuffed with adults who see school as the best, happiest times of their lives, and can’t imagine why people would want nothing to do with school.  But most important, schools are stuffed with adults who have degrees and CANNOT BEGIN TO IMAGINE another way to success.  They are hopelessly trapped in their own perspective.

As it takes a college degree to get a teaching certification, of course students will spend 12 years of their lives surrounded by people who see college as the ONLY way to make one’s way in the world, because it worked for them.  And in many cases, those adults will look upon those who make their living in perfectly legal, very respectable trades that do not require much beyond, say, an apprenticeship or a work ethic with nothing but sneering scorn.

For my whole time in school, this is the way it was, anyway, and I doubt much has changed, before or since.  And take a look at high school.  One would think that the mission there would be “We have FOUR YEARS left to prepare these kids for the Real World…let’s do our level best to do this and let’s for the sake of argument just assume no one here is going to college.”

But no: all my teachers wanted to talk about was going to college, preparation for college, and so on and so forth.  The drumbeat was constant.  And heaven help you if you wanted to go to a community college.

To be perfectly honest with you, for a whole host of reasons, my grades in high school were not the best (to be charitable) so in order to make up lost ground I went off to a nearby community college to lay the groundwork for a bachelor’s.  The guidance counselor who was assigned to help us with sending our high school transcripts to various colleges and universities could not have been more condescending if you indicated you needed the street address to San Antonio College so you could send your transcript there.  (Never mind that if you went there to cover the core curriculum and you could transfer the credits to a university, you could save a small fortune.)

I suppose the point of all this is that what is required (in addition to what the article mentioned) is an attitudinal change (and with the arrival of people like Mike Rowe on the scene you can see it beginning to happen, slowly).

How much better would it be if teachers would approach their jobs with the mind that “maybe some of my students hate this place; what can I do to make it slightly more bearable?” or “maybe not all these kids are not going to college; how can I prepare them for the real world?”

What if middle and high schools instead were places where they found out what makes the kids tick and what path can we point them to that will better align with them?  (Rather than have “Career Day” and say “Hey kids!  Pick you CAREER!!!” at 14 with little if any guidance.)

What if high schools looked at each and every freshman class and decided to assume that none of them will go to college and that preparation for life afterwards should be the priority?

Finally, what if we had teachers who understood that we ALL have our role, and that there is nothing wrong with manual labor and trades just as there is nothing wrong with being a doctor or lawyer?

– Steven, live from Swisher County

What do you think?...

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