Raise the age of compulsory education to 19 proposes Harold Levy, former New York City schools chanellor, in a New York Times op-ed.
Simply completing high school no longer provides students with an education sufficient for them to compete in the 21st-century economy. So every child should receive a year of post-secondary education.
The benefits of an extra year of schooling are beyond question: high school graduates can earn more than dropouts, have better health, more stable lives and a longer life expectancy. College graduates do even better.
Levey’s other school fixes include an anti-truancy PR campaign, a pro-college PR campaign and improving K-12 education so students can handle college classes. In other words, many students aren’t developing the work ethic and academic skills to benefit from any form of higher education.
The old chicken-and-egg issue arises. Do the educated do better because they spent more years in a classroom? Or because they’re more motivated, hard-working and/or smart than those who drop out of high school or fail to take advantage of community college?
Core Knowledge’s Robert Pondiscio writes:
Levy’s piece is a good example of what might be termed credentialism –favoring the prize over the accomplishment it represents. While high school graduates may earn more and enjoy better health than dropouts, the diploma does not magically confer these benefits. The person who has reached this level of achievement is also more likely to live a productive, stable life. People with health club memberships might be in better shape than those without. But it doesn’t follow that the key to health and longevity is to give every American a health club membership. You have to be inclined to work out. . . .
It’s hard to see how flooding colleges with unprepared and unwilling students will do anything other than damage a productive higher ed system.
There are people for whom K-12 schooling isn’t working. More of the same isn’t likely to work any better.