Starting with the class of 2014, all California students would have to take the college-prep classes required by the state’s public universities, according to a bill just introduced. The A-G classes, as they’re called, include advanced algebra and trigonometry. Yet the state had to postpone its graduation exam because so many students lack basic math skills. Many students enter high school with elementary reading and math skills. They can’t pass real algebra, geometry and trig or real college-prep English classes. I don’t think that’s going to change in 10 years. Not for every student.
It would be more honest to let students choose between a real college-prep track and a vocational track with real-world standards. The latter would prepare students to take community college courses to improve their job skills. Many students who aren’t motivated by college would work to qualify for a decent job.
I met a nice young man at the car rental place today, after I left my car at the repair shop. He mentioned that he’d met his wife in college. His job requires the ability to drive and to fill out car rental forms. Too bad he didn’t study a trade in high school.