Politics and our Kids

Today in the NY Times, Paul Krugman provided an OpEd piece that framed nicely a new debate on whether kids should be going to college and the high price of college tuitions. Again, it is easy for those of us who are classroom and school practitioners to get distracted by the policy and political debates.  Our primary job is to focus and in the case of this debate, apply that focus to preparing every child for the choice of college or a robust career, or where most will end up-pursuing both.

In encouraging colleagues to remain focused on preparing all kids for college and career, here are some research-substantiated themes to use:

1.  Lexile reading levels of newer technical and military manuals aims at what we used to know as blue-collar jobs now consistently surpass the Lexile reading levels of typical undergraduate liberal arts textbooks.  You have a high schooler who wants to focus on vehicle mechanics or computer technology-her reading demands will be more severe than her classmate who wants to pursue political science at a college.

2.  If you encounter a colleague who asserts, “well not all kids are meant for college” you might say, “care to be the one to decide who goes and who does not”?

3.  You’ve heard the stat that China and India both have more kids performing at honors level than we do total kids.  Our civil rights agenda rooted in reading and college prep has all of a sudden become an economic survival imperative for our Nation.

4.  Other themes… you probably have some to add.

When in India last year speaking to a college of aspiring teachers in Hyderabad one young woman asked me why the USA is so focused on kids going to college.  My answer to her was: In India you have a record population of 1.2 billion and many suspect that if those unaccounted for were added you’d have nearly 1.6 billion.  In the USA we only have 300 million-so we must get every kid ready for the choice of college or high wage important job.  Our economy and way of life depends on it.

Politics and the thrill of an election year should not distract our work!  Every kids-college and career ready!

Have a great weekend.

JW

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