Day 17 – Pick a fight. I am not comfortable picking fights and usually keep things to myself, so this was hard to put out there. And I didn’t even know what I was going to write about until I started ranting to a fellow teacher this afternoon, and I was like “Oh my gosh! I can write about this!” Anyway, here it is:
Most of the time in my job I work with adults who have been out of school for a long time. They want to either improve their skills to get a job or go to college. I applaud these people for wanting to improve their lives in any way that they can. However, a small percentage of my students are right out of high school – some of them are actually still in high school when they come to me. I am not placing blame on them, because it is really the system that is broken. It makes me so frustrated that high school students have to come to Adult Education to get help to bring up their college placement scores. They are in school! Isn’t that what the schools are there for? To prepare these kids for college! At a conference I was at last month, someone gave a statistic that said when students graduate from high school they are four levels below where they need to be in college. I would have to say that 90% of the students who come to me to take their college placement exam fail some part of it. I know that not all schools are like this, but I think that in several cases, the education system is a mess.
If these students were to go take the placement test at the college, the college would sign them up for a couple developmental education courses. These courses will cost the student just as much as a regular class, but the credit does not count toward their major. They may have to take one or even two of these developmental classes in their first semester. The statistics say that only 9% of students who have to take developmental education courses their first semester continue on in college. Only 9%! How sad is that? High schools should be addressing this issue. At this point there is nothing that I can do about the schools, so all I can do is help these students as much as I can. I will do my best to give the best services to these students that Adult Education can offer.
However, these students usually come to me a couple weeks before graduation. This does not give me time to work with them enough to bring the scores up before the college needs the scores. College courses fill up fast, and if scores are not in, the students cannot be placed into classes. I would love to work with guidance counselors a little more closely so that I can work with the students through their last semester. With that amount of time, we can work a couple hours a week and make sure that they are where they need to be by the time they graduate. Then they can enjoy their summer, because their scores were high enough and have been sent to the school, and the students have been registered for the English and math classes that they need for their freshman year in college. And all of our classes are free! So they have saved themselves hundreds of dollars and have a higher rate of success.