It seems to me that there is an obvious and probably unresolvable tension at work here. Tie a high school diploma to a high and meaningful standard and you will have boxcar numbers of children who will not measure up now or in the foreseeable future. Keep it low and you're essentially misleading a similar number to believe they have achieved a level of preparedness they have not. Advocate for a two-tier system, and you risk (as others have noted) a return to the bad old days.
At present, "college ready" is little more than a bumper sticker. The fact that only one in four kids (as based on the most recent ACT results) are prepared to do c-level college work in all tested subjects is ample proof that it's not an operative goal for high schools anywhere. Given the range of colleges, it's a slippery concept. Harvard ready is not the same as Hostos ready. The only possible solution of which I can conceive is for state assessments to give families meaningful feedback not on the equally ephemeral concept of "on grade level" but whether or not a child is on track for acceptance within that state's university system--and guarantee a seat if so. New York can't say I'm Harvard material. But they certainly should be able to say if I'm SUNY material.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Robert Pondiscio on college readiness
at the Irvington Parents Forum: