It's about the quality of preparation for learning, really. It takes skill, intelligence, and a great attitude to excel in school and in life. It requires being willing to put heart and mind to the task, consider the well being of others, and look beyond the obvious to the larger context of things.
What's the problem?
America is not sufficiently educating our young people for the adult world they will face. Employers are desperate for high school and college graduates who are ready for work. Most are not.
What do they lack?
Interpersonal skills. Professionalism/Work Ethic. Excellence in Speaking and Writing. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving. Adaptability. Cross-cultural Competence.
Colleges and high schools must do a better job at preparing students for work and life challenges.
Easier said than done.
Contrary to popular hope, many schools do not nurture critical thinking and independent decision making in students. They cannot prioritize social and cultural skills. Instead, the education system is too often devised to control behavior and teach students to depend on the thinking of adults and to follow the rules. Rather than encourage young people to think critically and creatively about their lives - and designing their futures - some adults suppress their questioning, resent their challenges, and intimidate them with a system that ignores or threatens daring independence. As a result, by 12th grade, most students say they are bored with school.
Students are often tired, stressed, or bored in high school. They lack exciting and engaging challenges. This leads to poor college and career preparation. Seventy percent of 2016 high school graduates enrolled in college. Still, fewer than one-third of adults in the US have a bachelor's degree or higher. That's a lot of people dropping out. And it doesn't matter whether you are male or female. Dropping out leaves many young adults burdened with disappointment, debt, and doubtful opportunities.
Prepare socially conscious students in the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that poise them to be effective, self-aware governors of their own education and leaders in career and community life. Success favors those who take charge of their thinking and make up their own minds.
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