Provide students with opportunities

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recent news that the area’s public high schools lag behind the state average in both preparing students to enter college and then finding success is cause for concern.

Most reasonable people agree that we want our schools to prepare students to face the rigors of life, which includes college. And if local high schools are failing to prepare students to compete at that level, then we must make adjustments.

Perhaps this new information should not just be cause for concern but a reason to reflect on what role a high school, and ultimately a college, education really means for a student.

In our world, one in which we believe every kid should get a trophy for having participated, many have simultaneously developed the belief that every child should be entitled to a college education. Much like giving a trophy to the members of a last-place team, teaching kids that they all deserve a college education may be more than a little misleading and unfair.

Indeed, each child should know that if he applies his best effort to his high school studies, he would be successful in college. Then every societal effort should be made to ensure that these students are given the opportunity to participate at the next level.

Yet the fact remains that not every student has abilities that will translate to success in college. And that’s where we need to make sure that our high schools are stepping up to the plate and preparing students for life after 12th grade.

Many students are better off to learn a trade that will lead to immediate employment.

In fact, students who can learn to rough-in plumbing on a new construction site or rebuild an automatic transmission may find their skills in higher demand than their college educated friends who enter a highly competitive white-collar world with few prospects for jobs and a load of student loan debt.

Not every student is capable of achieving success at the college level. Providing them with the opportunity to find personal success in other ways is more appropriate than trying to convince each child that a college education is the only measure of success.