After 12th grade, it’s back to middle school

“A large fraction of students are leaving the 12th grade with a high-school diploma, and they’re about to begin a course of studies at the 8th grade level,” says Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, of community college students.

More entry-level jobs require college degree

One third of employers say they’re hiring college graduates for jobs that used to require a high school diploma.

With no degree, recession hits hard

The job market’s tough for new college graduates — and even tougher for would-be workers with only a high school diploma.

27% of recent high school grads work full time

High school graduates are doing miserably in the job market, according to a Rutgers study, Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession. One third of 2006-11 graduates who aren’t full-time college students or graduates are jobless. Only 27 percent work full time at a median hourly wage of $9.25 an hour.

Many have lost hope they can get ahead through hard work, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It’s striking how severe young people’s problems are,” said Carl Van Horn, coauthor of the study and the director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers. “These are folks at the beginning of their work lives already feeling very pessimistic about themselves.”

Young high school graduates are competing for low-level jobs with college graduates who can’t find work that requires a degree, notes the Inquirer.

Employers typically seek more highly educated people, not because they have greater skills but because they are believed to be better workers, since they showed up for college courses and completed them, workforce experts say.

Some 37 percent of recession era graduates are unemployed, compared to 23 percent who graduated before the recession, the study found.

Many surveyed say they had planned to attend college when they started high school. But 40 percent say they could not afford the cost of full-time college; a further 30 percent say they need to work. And 10 percent say children or family members precluded chances at higher education. About 15 percent surveyed said they were not interested in college, and 5 percent said they did not need postsecondary education for what they wanted to do in life.

The Inquirer ‘s anecdotal people are a Penn State drop-out with a toddler, a part-time day care job and an unemployed boyfriend and a part-time Home Depot worker who wants to study computers but needs to work. I wish the paper had asked both if they’d considered taking community college classes to earn a certificate  in paralegal studies (the single mom once wanted to be a lawyer) or computer technology.

California grads can earn ‘seal of biliteracy’

California will affix a “seal of biliteracy” to high school diplomas for graduates who show proficiency in English and another language, including American Sign Language. Just speaking another language won’t be enough to qualify, reports Learning the Language.

Among other requirements, students must demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages other than English in one of four ways: Passing an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam with a passing score of 3 or higher; completing a four-year high school course in the same foreign language with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0; passing a district’s foreign-language exam at a proficient level or higher; or passing a foreign government’s approved language exam.

I like honors diplomas for students who’ve excelled in a particular area. However, I wonder how they test proficiency in English.


2/5 of grads aren’t ready for college or work

Two-fifths of high school graduates are unprepared for college or the workforce, according to a new study. One third of graduates are ready for college and one fourth are ready for job training. The rest, who typically passed  lightweight, faux college-prep classes, make up a “virtual underclass” with a bleak future.

While more Americans are earning college degrees, the U.S. is not on track to meet President Obama’s goal — 60 percent of young adults will earn a degree by 2020 — or College Board’s more modest goal — 55 percent by 2025.

Ready or not: Tracking grads’ outcomes

College and career readiness is all the rage, but only 13 percent of high school educators track their graduates’ academic performance in college, notes Education Sector in announcing Data That Matters: Giving High Schools Useful Feedback on Grads’ Outcomes by Anne Hyslop.

Now over 40 states can collect information about college readiness. Yet fewer—only eight—are using that information in ways that can materially improve college preparation.

High schools brag about how many students go on to college. But how many have to take remedial classes? How many give up in the first year?

Kentucky high schools made changes after discovering how many graduates were struggling in college, reports Education Week.

Kyle Fannin thought he was doing a good job as a teacher of U.S. history and AP American government at Woodford County High School in Versailles, Ky. “By all outward appearances, we were a great school,” said Mr. Fannin, as students scored well on tests and AP exams. But the data told a different story.

Some Woodford students who had received state scholarships based on merit had lost their funding because they weren’t maintaining a 3.0 GPA in college. Other data showed more of the students taking remedial math and English in college than the school had expected. When Mr. Fannin would talk to returning students, they would tell him that finals “killed” them. In high school, final exams counted for only 10 percent of their grades.

Armed with that information, the school made changes. More reading was assigned, including primary sources, and longer periods of sustained reading were included in classes. Finals counted for a bigger part of their grades.

Eastern Kentucky University is working with high school teachers to reduce the number of students needing remedial classes.


Wary of debt, workers give up on college

High school graduates 26 to 34 years old are wary of borrowing for college and may have dropped out for financial reasons, concludes One Degree of Separation, a Public Agenda survey funded by the Gates Foundation. Compared to young people with a certificate or degree, high school graduates are less likely to be on a promising career path. However, most believe they can succeed at work without additional education and say college has been oversold.

Those with only a high school diploma are more fearful of borrowing for college and much less knowledgeable about financial aid options, the survey found.

Here are the survey questions.

Once the bugs are worked out, net price calculators will help prospective students estimate how much they’ll pay for college, writes Bill Gleason on Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Using College Board’s net price calculator (sign in as “guest”) and declaring poverty-level family income, Gleason discovered that a low-income student would have to borrow $11.268 a year to attend University of Minnesota, where he’s a professor.

At the University of North Carolina, a student without financial resources would see a net cost of $2,700.

The U.S. Education Department is trying to make college costs transparent.

Report: Aid to adult students is essential

We’re running low on high school graduates, a new report predicts. College aid for “nontraditional” students  is essential to build a skilled workforce.

The never-seen, all-online student is rare. Most online students are on-site students too.

Graduates still have an edge

The Great Recession has cut earnings and employment rates for recent college graduates, concludes a Brookings Institution study. But college graduates still do significantly better than less-educated workers.

Looking at people aged 23 and 24 and in the workforce,  88 percent of college graduates were employed in 2010; average weekly earnings were $581, including those out of work.  That compares to a 79 percent employment for people with “some college,” 64 percent for high school graduates and 43 percent for high school drop-outs.

Iowahawk is less optimistic about the future for college graduates.