Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

College Admissions...for some ?

Over on a super blog, Elementry History Teacher, she has a post featuring questions about growing up in a privileged household. This got me to thinking about this. According to the questions on ELEMHISTTEACHERS Blog, I sure did not grow up "privileged". I have a goal for myself, to be able to do better for my son's than my folks were able to do for me (and my siblings...there were four of us). And according to ELEMHISTTEACHER's privileged home blog, I am, so far, meeting my goal....at about the "above proficient level".

Further jumbled thoughts led me to blog about an article in Saturday's San Diego Union-Tribune about the number of "local" college freshmen who must take remedial coursework. According to this article, "Students Deficient at being Proficient", 37% of the incoming freshmen in the CSU (California State University) system are not proficient in math, 46% are not proficient in English. Locally, 48% of incoming freshmen at Cal State San Marcos are not proficient in math, 53% not proficient in English. At San Diego State, it was 25% deficient in math, 32% in English.

I always thought that it was only the superstars, the really bright, the real "go-getters" who were able to be admitted at freshmen at most universities. Maybe those are the students who get in to the "higher" level Universities; Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT, exclusive private schools, etc. Not the state schools. Anyhow, I know it cost the university system millions of dollars a year trying to prep high schoolers for college and then, when they get to a state university, to provide remedial coursework for freshmen students. The article states, "The CSU system pours millions of dollars into outreach efforts aimed at making high schoolers more prepared for college, and it often bails them out with remedial classes when they're not. But the past seven years have produced only modest improvements in math among Cal States 23 campuses, and there have been no changes in English." So, are high school class expectations being watered down to get students through high school? One student quoted in the article said, "They don't make you think critically."

Do most students who think they want to go to college really do what they must do to be prepared for college ? For most, I doubt it. I know I didn't. I didn't take any challenging classes in high school. Unfortunately, in my home growing up, it wasn't expected. We were told to try, don't flunk anything, stay out of trouble, graduate and during senior year, also work. And I had to work harder in college to make the grade. Of my buddies from high school, of the gang of six of us, there are only two of us who are college graduates. Are things really much different today, than they were back in the late 1970's ?

My next question is, how are these students getting into these universities as freshmen with such deficiencies? Are these not the students with 4.0+ gpa's, lots of community involvement and perhaps some true athletic talent ? The statistics indicate otherwise. Is their admission the result of affirmative action? Years ago, a student, Backke or something like that, sued for admission to Cal Berkeley because affirmative action excluded his admission, even though his test scores made him much more qualified than many of those who were admitted because of their "ethnic background". Here in 2008, do this current statistics mean acceptance to a California State University still depend upon "who you are," not if you are qualified ?

Something to think about and pay attention to as my son's progress towards high school.

Thanks for staying with this rambling post. Yer comments is welcome!