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IPFS News Link • Education: Government Schools

Competition, The American Way

•, by Jack Miller

For decades the cry has been that "all kids must go to college." Yet, only a minority do so and fewer graduate.

Our high schools have been turned into college prep schools. Shop classes have been eliminated, along with other useful courses. Most students who don't go to college have been deprived of the education they need to be successful. And businesses looking for hungry, well-prepared personnel have been deprived of good candidates.

2022 report from American Compass suggests that "for every young American on the idealized path, there are ten who never enroll in college or else fail to complete a degree." Various studies show different percentages, but all show that most students don't complete, or even enter, college. Studies also show that fewer young people are even applying to college.

This is a real, self-imposed crisis. It also has a major impact on many of those in poorer circumstances or who get bored with college prep courses and drop out of school before graduating.

Given this well-documented reality, why has our K-12 education system not reformed itself to address this glaring problem?

Once you understand the problem, it is not difficult to figure out how to fix it. In the K-8 system, every student should be taught the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus some civics and history to start them on the road to being good citizens.

When students get to high school, they should be offered a two-track program. Keep the college prep program going for those who want to go on to postsecondary education. Also, another track should be introduced for the majority who don't plan to go to college.

In addition to the basics such as English, history, civics, and a few others, students should have the option to take various kinds of vocation-based classes that teach the skills that are needed in the job market. We should be preparing all our young people to be good citizens, but also for good-paying jobs that don't require a college degree.