Why Are Students Being Pushed Toward College? Follow the money! The Associated Press reported that over 53% of people with degrees are jobless or underemployed while Texas legislators and the Texas Education Agency push college readiness standards. “About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields. Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.”
Why are our students being required to take Algebra II, more science classes and fewer fine arts and vocational programs and being made to feel that they must go to college? There are arguments out there that point the blame at the College Board, one of the most profitable nonprofits. The more high school students are required to take SAT tests, the more the College Board makes off profits from administering the SAT. In fact, a report issued by Wired Academic on May 16, 2012 shows the “College Board’s net revenues, which hit $65.6 million in 2010—the last year for which the figure was available from tax filings—up from $53 million the year before. The test supplier paid at least two dozen employees over $230,000 in 2010. Its president, Gaston Caperton, earns more than $1 million annually—almost double what he made in 2005—and has a $125,000 expense account.” Many Colleges, as well as the College Board spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on lobbyists to promote requirements for college readiness developing arguments of fear tactics to keep U.S. students on an even keel with the rest of the world with little thought to job placement or how parents are supposed to pay for rising college tuition fees. Additionally, the pressure for teachers and school systems to perform on high stakes testing continues to plague education.
This year alone, Texas schools will spend 45 days of the 180 day school year testing and the rest of those days preparing students for the tests. Millions of tax dollars will be spent on educating students to pass tests to be prepared for college that most students can’t pay for and upon graduation cannot get jobs. Forbes reported in 2011 that the Forbes 400 Richest People List all had one thing in common: they either dropped out of college or never went to college. Is this an argument for not attending college? Certainly college plays a critical role in preparing some people for some careers. However, the intense focus on college prep has been to blame for the critical programs that use to be available in public high school to be dropped. Cosmetology, Auto Body, Carpentry, all practical skills can no longer be found for free in high schools across the country. Now those courses can be found for a fee. Again, follow the money.