In response to the 8/17/17 post, “The Angry Dinosaur,” an angry reader writes…

You, good sir, are out of touch with reality. Come down out of that ivory tower and get down in the trenches with us, and I guarantee it will not take you long to see that this teacher (the one who wrote the newspaper article) is spot-on. We may indeed graduate a higher percentage of students today, but at what cost? We have lowered the bar so much that they are, in fact, not ready for college or careers. Certainly, there are the exceptions, thank God. But secondary institutions all over the country are shuttling more and more students who enroll in freshman level courses off to remediation. Are you familiar with the TSI test? It is designed to flag those students who do not have the basic reading and/or mathematics skills necessary to be successful (aka “pass”) a college freshman level course. In the “good ol’ days”, as you call them, that was part of simply graduating from high school. We did not hand everyone a diploma for occupying a seat in a high school classroom for four years. 

SC Response Though your anger and defensiveness are predictable, you really ought to do your homework before you fire off the angry email.  I don’t work in an ivory tower.  I’m in the field almost every day.  Not at a single campus, but at campuses across the country. From the most striving schools in the toughest of urban settings to the highest achieving schools in the most affluent zip codes.  But for every day spent at an affluent school, I spend five at schools with the greatest need. So, I can assert without question that you and the teacher who wrote the original article are wrong in your assessments.

The bar for student success has not been lowered.  It has been raised. And even with this raised bar more students than ever before succeeding.   What has changed from back in the “bad ol’ days” of education is that we no longer aggressively run off the students who do not fit in the predominantly middle-class school culture.  That practice was reprehensible… And the evolution away from that practice should be applauded.

Do colleges have to provide more remedial courses than in past eras? Yes.  But that is not an indictment of today’s school. Instead, it is a badge of honor. The high schools of past generations would sort students into College material and Not College material. Then the system would remove from high school the “NOT” group with brutal efficiency. Today’s schools keep teaching students from both groups. By not giving up on tough to reach students, today’s educators position any student completing high school with a realistic option of attending college. This is a good thing.  

Because, do you know what you call a student who took remedial courses and an extra two years to complete their college degree?

 A College Graduate.

With all due respect, please do the profession, your students, and yourself a favor. Change your attitude or retire.  Because at this time your belief system is not good for children. 

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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