Our Educational System: A Waste of Time for Many

About half of high school graduates (52%) go to college and less than half of them (23% of HS graduates) leave college with a degree. What does our current educational system do for the half that doesn’t go to college? Waste their time.

Many students when in junior high/middle school realize they are not college material or do not have aspirations for college so they drop out soon after. And, why not drop out? Our current educational system is predominately for the college bound. They are wasting their time and the time of their teachers.

Yet, our economy has a large base in and need for skilled workers. These workers are not only highly productive but are also the consumers that keep the economy going. Therefore, we need to change our current educational system to educate the 50% plus that don’t go to college or drop out before graduating from high school.

The lack of suitable education and skills is why 40% of our labor workforce makes less than $18,000 per year. This is not a living wage and these workers are unable to be consumers of other than the basic necessities of life. Even now more and more children are going to bed and to school hungry due to lack of food. Food stamps registrants have reached a record level.

So, what is our educational system to do? Let the students with their families decide whether they are going to college or not by the end of 10th grade. If they are, challenge them to meet the standards for college entrance. But if not, set up alternative educational and training programs for them. Don’t give them a GED that is fairly worthless.

Let’s plan the first half of 10th grade for exploring a students future options like college, careers, etc. Each student’s talents and preferences are delineated. During this exploration ALL students enroll in life skills education such as how to manage money, develop a budget, read credit card applications and understand them, read and sign a lease and mortgage, shop for health, auto and life insurance, apply for utilities, etc. Thus, all student will have the required life skills education regardless of their choices.

Those student who don’t choose to go to college must have training programs choices. School district and local businesses can join to create apprenticeships, on-the-job training and other programs. The Food, Hospitality, Health Care and every other industry are desperately in need of SKILLED workers and they would be more than happy to participate in training future employees. School districts should also concentrate on adult education so that former students can return to update or acquire new skills.

Schools Districts must innovate to have their graduates prepared for their next phases in life at graduation. Whether it be college or a skilled worker. Then and only then will our educational system stop wasting the time of more than half its students.

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