Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Are schools preparing kids for college and work?

The nation's governors gathered at the first National Education Summit to discuss the reasons why so many high school students are earning their diplomas without obtaining the necessary skills for college or the job market. Statistics show that one in four students entering college are required to take remedial courses to make up for what should have been learned in high school classes prior to graduation.

Among the suggested solutions are lower class sizes, more rigorous courses and, of course, more money! New York City schools are looking at spending $15,320.00 per child, per year in order to raise student acheivement to basic standards. Joanne Jacobs suggests that for their money, "New York could lower class size to five, and have money left over for books." She also offers this quote by Robert F. Kennedy:

"And then I come to this other point, that if you are placing or putting money into a school system which itself created this problem, or helps to create it, or does nothing or very little to alleviate it, are we not just in fact wasting the money of the Federal Government and taxpayer and investing money where it is really going to accomplish very little if any good?"

Thirty years have passed since Mr. Kennedy uttered those words and despite the passage of time, nothing has changed. The government continues to pour money into a school system that has been largely unsuccessful in preparing children for college and work.

More money will not fix schools, especially when the money does not get to where it is needed most: to the students and teachers. School vouchers and privatization are alternatives that need to be considered in order to rescue this sinking ship called public education.