Did you know that according to a two-year study by the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education only 30 percent of young adults in the United States successfully complete a bachelor’s degree, even though there is much emphasis placed in high school on going to a four-year college? Christine Armario wrote an article titled “Study: Students Need More Paths to Career Success”, which is about how students should be more educated about careers after graduating from high school. Throughout high school students are being pushed into going to a four-year college. The study recommends that the U.S. should start looking at other forms of post-secondary education.
First of all the Harvard researchers obviously would rather have career-driven alternatives as opposed to a four-year education for some students. I completely agree that some students should be able to look at other careers after high school that don’t all require a 4-year degree. School just isn’t meant for some people and they shouldn’t be told all throughout school to go off and do something that isn’t going to interest them. My dad is a prime example of someone who wasn’t meant to go to school, he went to his local community college for a few months and then dropped out because it wasn’t working for him, and now he is the owner of a successful construction company.
Researchers say that by the time students are in high school they should have had some kind of career counseling and work-related opportunities. They also say that in high school students should have programs designed by industry leaders and should have internships or hands-on experience. Sandy Baum, an independent higher education policy analyst, said that she doesn’t think that the problem is too many students going to college but that the problem is those people making too many poor academic decisions. She says there should be more counseling for students to learn how to make smart decisions while at college. I also agree with what was said, but I think that the counseling should be done early on so that the students that would be more interested in non-college related options can figure that out.
Next Christine talks about how she believes students are being pushed to go to a four-year college right after high school too much. Robert Schwartz, who heads the project and is academic dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is quoted in the article saying, “Almost everybody can cite some kid who marched off to college because it was the only socially legitimate thing to do but had no real interest.” I completely agree with what Schwartz stated. I feel like that in high school we are basically taught that after graduation you have to go to college. No one really knows what to do after high school besides go to college because it is socially unacceptable anymore to not go to college.
No one thinks about graduating from college and picking up a trade or going straight into the workforce. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but that this approach doesn’t work well for all students as made apparent by the statistic stated that only 30 percent of young adults in the U.S. graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. I just think that students should have a broader look at what jobs are available with or without a college degree by the time they get out of high school.
Finally in her article Armario reports a few suggestions for education system reform in the U.S. She stated that many countries in Europe already have an approach, similar to what she suggested, to prepare students for their future career after school. The youth in Europe that are using this education approach are tending to have an easier transition into adulthood. In Europe the students are provided with a normal education through grades 9 or 10 and then they can choose what post-secondary education they would like to pursue.
I agree with the researchers that changes do need to be made to the U.S. education system so that students are better prepared for the future, but I do think that the mandatory courses should remain mandatory, they just need to allow further decision making and provide better decisions to make.
As you can tell, I agree with most everything Armario reported about the current U.S. education system. Changes definitely need to be made. I do think that students should be more educated about career choices after high school and not just about college. Students should be able to have everything they need to learn about how their decisions after high school effect their future and what decisions are out there to be made. Of course, I would like to see all these changes made right now, but unfortunately it’s a waiting game because all proper change takes time.