Round and Round We Go

Every child a college graduate. On the surface it is a ridiculous goal and those of us who matriculated in the 1950s recognized it as such a long time ago. Did the goal-speakers really think that college graduates would expect to become plumbers, electricians, roofers, cosmetologists, mechanics, or thousands of other skilled and unskilled laborers? Or dd they plan that these jobs would be performed by disillusioned college dropouts? Maybe now that Harvard’s Graduate School of Education concluded the obvious in a report released today, those who are ardently pushing the unqualified 70 percent into college will refocus their efforts (doubtful in the short run–schools are not very nimble). From the report:

Our current system places far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college after completing an academic program of study in high school. Yet as we’ve seen, only 30 percent of young adults successfully complete this preferred pathway, despite decades of efforts to raise the numbers. And too many of them graduate from college without a clear conception of the career they want to pursue, let alone a pathway for getting there.

We knew this in the 50s when high schools offered at least two tracks, the minority track being “college prep.” Round and round we go.

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