No Surprises Here

More than half of students at four-year colleges — and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges — lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.
…Without “proficient” skills, or those needed to perform more complex tasks, students fall behind. They cannot interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.
“It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they’re not going to be able to do those things,” said Stephane Baldi, the study’s director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.
Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills. That means they can do moderately challenging tasks, such as identifying a location on a map.
…The survey examined college students nearing the end of their degree programs.
The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.
Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.

Of course the answer to all this is “monitoring” by the states. I would humbly suggest we start at the grade school level and (SOMEHOW) require parents to be part of the educational system, vice using it as a babysitting/psychiatric therapy/clinic/selective disciplinary/meal delivery service. Maybe then teachers could get back to ‘teaching’ (Read: KNOWLEDGE impartment) instead of forced into pseudo parenting a horde of ungrateful, unmannered, surly, entitled and enabled functional illiterates AND their ‘parents’.
But that’s just me. In the meantime, I hope you know how to make change for your $20 when the register poops out, ’cause the 26 year old knuckle-head behind the counter (AND her manager) sure won’t.

10 Responses to “No Surprises Here”

  1. Rob says:

    I know Master degrees who absolutely cannot spell. Both teachers.

  2. Mike Rentner says:

    No, the answer is to stop forcing people to do things. We already force them to send children to school, and the government controls what those children learn.
    Let’s face it, the government has custody of nearly all children in this country for a huge percent of there lives before they become adults. Parents have little impact on what happens while they’re in government control.
    Children who want to learn are held back by the presence of malcontents who don’t. Not only do they distract and slow the learning process for the willing students, they take time from the teachers.
    But let’s not give the teachers a pass. The teachers unions have succeeded in making a near monopoly on how teachers become teachers. You have to get their degree, the easiest degree available. People getting teaching degrees have the lowest abilties, lowest ambitions, and they somehow get to tell others what to learn. Why is anyone surprised at the abysmal performance of Americans in schools?
    The solution, as always, is to end government involvement. If you’re paying for your kids’ education, and can choose who teaches them, you’re much more likely to insist on intelligent teachers. And you’re much more likely to insist that the subjects they learn are useful to their future.
    It doesn’t cost a lot of money to teach children. You need a small room, a few books, and a teacher with some ability. Teachers unions and politicians keep crying for more money, but there is no correlation to the amount of money spent and the results obtained, once you get past a very low minimum threshold of costs.
    For a look at how we got into this mess, and the horrible ideologies of the teaching “profession” see my blog entry:
    http://www.realtime.net/~rentner/Blog/B97335170/C1760035014/E2033900042/index.html

  3. Susanna says:

    Fascinating stuff today.
    I think I will have my tubes tied since the gov’t clearly won’t do a good job raising my children for me.
    Oh, wait. You mean *I* am supposed to raise my children? ME? And my husband? The parents?!
    The indignity of it all.

  4. Nightfly says:

    I hope you know how to make change for your $20 when the register poops out, ’cause the 26 year old knuckle-head behind the counter (AND her manager) sure won’t.
    Oh, I could rant for days on this. I go to the drive in (for example) and the guy says “That’ll be $5.89.” I hand him $10.14. He types in the $10, gets $4.11, and goes, “Ummmmmm…..” And invariably I say, “Just add the 14 cents to what you already have.”
    If I’m lucky I get the quarter. If I’m unlucky, the guy does hand me 25 cents – the eleven he has plus the fourteen I just gave him.
    PS, kid – always say “Please” when you’re asking for other people’s money. It’s so rare that I have actually tipped promising clerks – the good ones stand out like a stoplight in a cornfield, and are clearly marked for greater things in life.

  5. Ebola says:

    Most of these twits I’m in school with don’t have the proficiency to operate a god damn gumball machine and you people want them to read? Asking a bit much aren’t we folks? Half of them think addition is punching numbers into a bloody cell phone. Yet somehow society functions still. Leave em stupid, just don’t let them breed.

  6. The_Real_JeffS says:

    So young, but yet so wise. Keep it up, Ebola.

  7. ricki says:

    somehow, cynically, I suspect a big part of the burden for “fixing” this is going to fall on folks at the high school and college teaching levels – that we will be expected to “remediate” what was missed in the previous 8-12 years of schooling (disclaimer: I’m a prof, my general area is life sciences).
    And, cynically, I suspect that it’s going to involve a lot more standardized testing with sticks and carrots for the profs and teachers related to student scoring.
    I already see far, far too many students who can’t add, mulitply, figure out basic areas, volumes, compute means, who can’t spell, who either can’t or won’t read. Too many people who complain BITTERLY about the math in my classes. And they all expect they’ll go on to “good” (read: high paying and interesting) jobs.
    The real students – the ones who care, who cared all through school, and who have the knowledge base they need to make it in college – are heartily frustrated in dealing with students who ask profs to slow down, or give “easier” assignments, or get textbooks with “more pictures.”
    and don’t even get me started on senses of entitlement….

  8. ricki says:

    and I can spell. But sometimes I don’t.
    I know it’s “multiply” but I hit the wrong keys…and didn’t stop to proofread.
    Another thought: I had friends in college who were amazed at my “special powers” to calculate a 10 or 15 percent tip in my head, or figure out how much a dress that was on sale for 30% off of its original price would cost. And that was in, like, the 1980s. So this has been going on for a while.

  9. A warm Swill WELCOME, ricki!! You will find us firmly in the pro-parental-responsibilty column around here. PLUS, we have a inordinate amount of hard charging educators scattered through all our families, so a sympathetic ear to the ground in the schoolhouse.
    that we will be expected to “remediate” what was missed in the previous 8-12 years of schooling
    I would anticipate that happening also, thanks to the elementary/high school teachers who NOW have to now be social workers/school nurses/police/janitor/mom and dad AND teach to the test. In this instance, sh*t flows UPhill.

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