High school or GED and then: College

The world is changing, jobs are evolving, and far too many students are simply not being prepared to be successful adults. Most people first go to high school and then: College!

  • Seventy percent of eighth-graders are not proficient in reading—and most will never catch up.
  • Every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school.
  • Many of those who do graduate are not ready for college, for the workplace, and for life.

This is not about schools in some far-off city. This is about the students you see in your own neighborhood. This is not someone else’s problem. This is an American problem that affects us all.

  • 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year
  • 1/4 high school students don’t graduate on time
  • 2/3 jobs require a college education
  • 3 in 10 college freshmen repeat high school classes
  • 65% of convicts are dropouts
  • 70% of 8th graders can’t read at grade level
  • High school graduates don’t have the skills needed in college
  • Jobs demand the same level of preparation as going to college
  • Math teachers lack math-related degrees
  • No increase in bachelor’s degree attainment
  • States set low standards
  • The US ranked 19th in graduation rate

College Affordability Is Only Part of the Solution

As tuition costs skyrocket, elected officials have begun offering plans to make college more affordable for high school graduates. But better affordability without better preparation will not solve the bigger challenge—making a college degree more attainable to more Americans. America’s college completion rates are deplorably low.

  • Only about half of students who enroll in 4-year colleges after high school will manage to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.
  • College-going is increasing, but college completion is not keeping up. Over the last 15 years, college-going increased 14 percent
  • Poor preparation is the problem.
  • Many college freshmen have to take remedial classes to learn what they should have learned in high school. More than one in three college freshmen enroll in at least one remedial course, a figure that rises to 42 percent in the nation’s community colleges, which educate a rapidly growing number of America’s undergraduates. In some states, the problem is even worse:
  • In 2019, Kentucky reported that 56 percent of freshmen who enrolled in fall 2018 had to take remedial courses in English or mathematics, and later that year, it was reported that 55 percent of freshmen that enrolled in public post-secondary institutions required remediation in mathematics, reading, and/or writing.
  • Only 30 percent of students who have to take remedial reading classes in college ever earn a degree or certificate.
  • The rigor of a student’s high school curriculum counts more than anything else in predicting whether a college freshman will persist and earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • Even when high school graduates think they have prepared for college, they often find otherwise:
  • Only one out of four students who prepare for college by taking four years of English and three each of math, science, and social studies actually leaves high school fully prepared to handle college courses.
  • 62 percent of college students say that knowing what they know now about the expectations of college, they would have taken more challenging courses in high school. Athletic programs score pretty well, all across the US.

The goal of these campaigns is to make sure the nation engages in rigorous debate on our schools by making them (hopefully) a top priority in the 2020 presidential election.

For many parents, their children’s education is a very personal issue, so sometimes, I just let it go, though perhaps I shouldn’t. Perhaps we should take more direct action regarding communication with a teacher and not just wait for our next teacher-parent – which, by the way, are no longer than 10 minutes anyway. So focus on your child’s future in college, also in these conferences, and ask for advice on which courses your child should engage in while in high school.