The Inefficiency of U.S. High Schools U.S. high schools are not properly preparing kids for the college experience. The primary purpose of a high school in the United States is to get kids into college. The courses taught in U.S.
high schools are way too lenient in their grading policies and offer students much leeway. High school courses are too lenient because high school teachers make them that way. One good example that proves just how much leeway secondary education offers students is that on average, professors at the high school level accept late papers. Of course late papers are marked down, but this policy voids the purpose to having deadlines. Most universities, both public and private set strict guidelines on these matters and openly encourage their professors to do the same.
I turned in papers a week late in high school and still received a grade of 70 % on them. This is coming back to hunt me in college because I now have a big problem meeting deadlines. Although I do not like to admit it, if high school had been stricter in this respect I might not be going through these many difficulties right now Most public high school teachers are astoundingly underpaid and overworked with sometimes over fifty students in a single classroom. In the last ten years the average class size doubled according to a Time magazine study published in 1995 stating that throughout the whole nation classes have doubled in size. The article mentions that this problem has occurred and will worsen due to illegal immigration, a population expansion, and people migration to cities and urban sites.
Some students that can afford a private tutor or the cost of private education follow that path. This is not fair to the majority that can’t afford this. Again, the lack of individual and private interaction between professor ends up resulting in that the student gets half of the education. For some reason I don’t know, the student ends up always paying the price of an inadequate and inefficient public high school system. These statistics offer little incentive and motivation to get teachers to take action and lobby for change. Governmental cutbacks have forced many schools to close vital advanced placement and other college preparatory courses which are vital for the student aspiring for a college education. It is becoming now more than ever common that states give private entities and teachers public school charters along with grants and financial aid to encourage the nation’s public high schools, as California Governor William Wells said in a 1994 Time magazine article titled, “A Class of their Own,” “to raise their standards and improve the quality of education for all students.” Public high schools around the nation should establish and “enforce” stricter college preparatory curriculums because over 50% of high school students that participated in a Time magazine poll conducted in 1996 said they are interested in pursuing a 4-year college education.
The article stated that fifty years ago this would not have been the case. If over half the students attending U.S. high schools wish to pursue university education then public schools should tailor their programs to meet the needs and demands of the majority. It is important to know that there is a small percentage of the nation that don’t even go to high school as the October 22, 1990 Time Magazine article, “Schooling Kids At Home,” points out. Parents send their kids to school confident that the school will prepare them well for the future, but overlook that essential programs like SAT preparation and study skills courses are not offered.
How must a school system expect that one study efficiently for exams if they don’t show how. Clearly people have been studying for many years and there is no set way to study, but it helps to know what are the most time efficient ways to review for exams. I feels that s “study skills” class should be offered in every public high school around the nation. If this implies a great cost then study skills should be incorporated in the daily curriculum or at least taught once a week during class. The fact is that some time should be set aside for this essential class for which there is great need for.
The same concept applies for S.A.T. preparation. Again I propose the conundrum, how must one be expected to pass the S.A.T if schools don’t show us how to pass it. Many students are left to figure out how to prepare for the exam itself, assuming they even know how too study. I personally had to pay a costly S.A.T.
preparation course that boosted my grade 100 points. The fact that I can pay for the course clearly offers me an unfair advantage. High school courses also lack in encouraging class discussions and debate that are an important aspect of college life as far as I have experienced. “Getting by” with just doing the work is not enough in college. Class participation motivates analytical thinking and class participation.
It is a proven scientific fact that when one applies what one learns and actively participates in the learning process, logically one will assimilate and absorb more information and retain it for longer periods of time because one is forced to actively become part of the learning process and contribute to the learning environment. Many incoming freshmen receive a large shock when faced with such a wide gap that slowly opens up more with the passage of time. As a result of this, many colleges place these freshman in summer courses to polish them up and tie up the loose ends aside from providing a one credit class called Freshman Experience that teaches them such valuable skills as study skills, note-taking, teaching styles, critical thinking, listening and memory skills, test-taking strategies and most important of all, preparing for finals. The fact stands out that if this class were not absolutely necessary, many universities would not require there to take it. Even those people with high S.A.T.
scores and a strong academic background must eventually sign up for it because universities know high schools unfortunately don’t teach these things, or do not teach them well. Courses like this one are in immediate demand. Originally, all the universities I applied to required this course which pretty much justifies that it is in immediate demand. I personally never had a class so comprehensive as to include theses skills vital for college success. Some high schools produce graduates that cannot read or have extremely poor reading and writing skills.
If our high schools were efficient and did look out for the student’s best interests, people would not graduate without these basic skill that most people agree must me present for the college experience. Colleges should not be teaching basic, elementary skills such as reading and elementary writing. College is not meant to be a grueling and terrible time for a person, but over the years, U.S. high schools have lost their focus and misplaced their priorities; producing students that cannot independently develop themselves successfully. In some extreme cases, kids are committing suicide in college early on because they can’t handle the stress produced by their classes and many of the students that quit or do poorly have poor college survival skills.
In conclusion, U.S. high schools are not adequately preparing kids for the college life. These high schools are too lenient, complacent, financially unstable, overcrowded, and simply inefficient. The curriculum must set higher standards and make the transition a smoother one. If these changes were implemented , the gap between high school and college education may one day be a thing of the past and once again the college years will truly be fulfilling and rewarding ones and not arduous or frustrating.