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Forty-five percent of these students demonstrated no significant improvement in a range of skills — including critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing — during their first two years of college. According to an August 2006 issue brief by the Alliance for Excellent Education, student “lack of preparation is also apparent in multiple subject areas; of college freshmen taking remedial courses, 35 percent were enrolled in math, 23 percent in writing, and 20 percent in reading.” Declining college admissions standards have contributed to the deterioration of the academic quality of our secondary schools. Colleges show high schools that they do not have to teach much in order for youngsters to be admitted.
According to Education Next, an August Harvard University study titled “Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?” found that only 32 percent of U.S. students achieved proficiency in math, compared with “75 percent of students in Shanghai, 58 percent in Korea, and 56 percent in Finland. Countries in which a majority — or near majority — of students performed at or above the proficiency level in math include Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands.” Results from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment international test show that U.S. students rank 32nd among industrialized nations in proficiency in math and 17th in reading.
Much of American education is in shambles. Part of a solution is for colleges to refuse to admit students who are unprepared to do real college work. That would help to reveal the shoddy education provided at the primary and secondary school levels. Here I’m whistlin’ “Dixie,” because college administrators are more interested in numbers of students, which equal more money.
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