Saturday, March 25, 2006


High schools statewide are not providing enough counselors or college preparatory courses to adequately prepare students for four-year universities, according to a University of California report issued Wednesday. "These aren't just speed bumps. These are huge barriers on the pathway to college," said Jeannie Oakes, director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy Education and Access and author of the College Educational Opportunity Report. California ranks 37th in the nation in a count of students who receive bachelor's degrees within six years of completing high school, Oakes said.

Researchers at UCLA and the UC All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity used the study to call for a boost in education spending, although increases in K-12 state spending are largely restricted by funding formulas. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed spending $40 billion, or about one third of the state budget, on K-12 schools next year. "So many students begin high school saying they want to go to college," Oakes said. But the decision is often taken away from them because of lack of guidance or insufficient course offerings, she said. "There are not the opportunities there to pursue their own dreams," Oakes said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters.

The study shows that California has the worst counselor-to-student ratio in the country - one counselor for every 790 students, or almost three times the national average. Teacher-student ratios also are higher in California, the study says. Researchers also said more than a quarter of California high schools assign improperly trained teachers to college prep courses, particularly math classes.

A more rigorous curriculum is appropriate for all students, even those not college-bound, Oakes said. But for those attending a state university, "many students show up at the door with the paper qualifications but aren't prepared to do the work," she said. One in eight schools in California faces all three "roadblocks" - limited access to counselors, lack of college prep courses and ill-trained teachers, said John Rogers, associate director of the UCLA institute involved in the study.

Those problems are four times more likely to occur in high schools serving minorities, the poor and immigrants still earning English, Rogers said. The study did not identify those schools.

College officials have already taken notice with outreach programs to steer low-income and first-time college-bound students toward the UC and California State University schools. But they are fighting a proposed $7 million state budget cut to keep those programs intact. Community colleges also are trying to help struggling students catch up. The Sacramento-area Los Rios Community College District began a tutoring and intensive counseling program this year for "at-risk" college students in the 18-20 age group. "They have huge barriers to overcome and they're not prepared for college," said Brice Harris, the Los Rios chancellor.



America's public schools turn out many graduates with little chance for future. The top education bureaucrat in Florida wants to pass students who can't meet the academic requirements. He says this is not social promotion. He's full of what one finds in a stable-and I don't mean horsehair.

The fear of flunking and being held back a year was a great motivator in my short academic career, especially in the early grades. Nothing struck more fear in us recruits in Army basic training than the threat of being recycled-forced to start basic all over again in a new company.

Why do education bureaucrats believe that you can strip teachers of every tool to motivate their students and expect the teachers to educate the little savages anyway? The answer, of course, is civic cowardice. Civic cowardice, especially on the part of education bureaucrats, is a pandemic in America today.

I spent several hours one afternoon with a middle-school teacher as she poured out her frustration with the system. In her school, the rule said that if a student flunked one nine-week period and made a D the next, the D and F had to be "averaged" to a D for the semester. Now here's the kicker. If the student flunked both of the next nine-week periods and got an F for the semester, that F and his earlier D had to be "averaged" to a D so he would pass for the year.

How long do you think it takes kids to figure out that they only have to make one D and then can ride free for the rest of the year? Not long, and the teacher said that as soon as the kids figured it out, then any hope of motivating them was gone.

The tragedy and sin of social promotion is that it is aimed at those students who most need motivation and an education. Thus, the poorest kids from the most dysfunctional families are cheated out of an education just so the bureaucrats won't have to put up with any complaints.

My first-grade teacher in a little Georgia school laid out the basic premises of education when she said, "I teach, but you have to learn." Education is a two-part process. No matter how skilled the teacher, all the learning has to be done by the students. And learning is hard work. It involves memorization and drills and practice. There is no easy way to learn an academic subject. To argue that students shouldn't have to work hard in the classroom is as stupid as telling a kid he can become a basketball star without practicing on the court.

The other damning aspect of social promotion is that it ignores the fact that education is cumulative and must be done in the proper sequence. A student who doesn't learn to read and to do basic arithmetic in the early grades will be frustrated for the rest of his time in school. How can you learn history if you can't read your textbook? You can't learn algebra if you don't know how to add, multiply, subtract and divide. You will never learn a second language without the ability to memorize. You will never learn English grammar without learning the parts of speech and diagramming sentences.

Education is a deadly serious business. I remember attending a parent-teacher association meeting at which a Pakistani gentleman complained bitterly that this expensive, well-furnished American school was far behind the shabby school in Pakistan his children had attended. His kids were already two grades ahead of American kids the same age. His plea for a tougher curriculum went unheeded, of course.

Unless Americans wish to become the servants one day of Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Pakistanis, Koreans, Japanese and Russians, we'd better fix this broken, bureaucrat-ridden public-education system or scrap it altogether. God knows, the ignorance of many college graduates is appalling. No nation can survive an ignorant, lazy population. We've been living off the seed corn of earlier generations, but the bin is about empty. The evidence of that is the across-the-board decline in the quality of all of our institutions.



The excerpt below is from an article that made my day (I know that's bad of me!). It notes that feminist-inclined admissions officers at elite colleges now feel obliged to discriminate AGAINST women! Read on:

The fat acceptance envelope is simply more elusive for today's accomplished young women. I know this well. At my own college these days, we have three applicants for every one we can admit. Just three years ago, it was two to one. Though Kenyon was a men's college until 1969, more than 55 percent of our applicants are female, a proportion that is steadily increasing. My staff and I carefully read these young women's essays about their passion for poetry, their desire to discover vaccines and their conviction that they can make the world a better place....

Rest assured that admissions officers are not cavalier in making their decisions. Last week, the 10 officers at my college sat around a table, 12 hours every day, deliberating the applications of hundreds of talented young men and women.... The reality is that because young men are rarer, they're more valued applicants. Today, two-thirds of colleges and universities report that they get more female than male applicants, and more than 56 percent of undergraduates nationwide are women. Demographers predict that by 2009, only 42 percent of all baccalaureate degrees awarded in the United States will be given to men. We have told today's young women that the world is their oyster; the problem is, so many of them believed us that the standards for admission to today's most selective colleges are stiffer for women than men. How's that for an unintended consequence of the women's liberation movement?

The elephant that looms large in the middle of the room is the importance of gender balance. Should it trump the qualifications of talented young female applicants? At those colleges that have reached what the experts call a "tipping point," where 60 percent or more of their enrolled students are female, you'll hear a hint of desperation in the voices of admissions officers. Beyond the availability of dance partners for the winter formal, gender balance matters in ways both large and small on a residential college campus. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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