California Educator

June 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 39

It's important for students to make their The last time your "check engine" light came own decisions. But oftentimes, in ninth or on, did you worry about your mechanic's col10th grade, students don't know what they lege degree? And when the pipe burst beneath want. And if they haven't taken classes your kitchen, did you check your plumber's to meet CSU or UC requirements by their high school GPA? Of course not. senior year, they have no choice about goMost folks hire people who perform these ing to college. Requiring all students to pass services through word of mouth and past posithe classes necessary for admission to the state university system tive experience. Honestly, I don't need Jared, a former student gives students a choice when they graduate. who installed my automatic garage door, to have passed physics. Eleven years ago, the San Jose School District aligned graduI need him to arrive on time and do a good job for a good price. ation requirements to closely follow A-G requirements so that I don't need Jason, my mechanic, to be able to analyze Julius students would be able to apply to a four-year college if they Caesar. I need him to make sure my daughter's car will get her passed their classes with a C or higher. Under these requirefrom home to college and home again. I need honesty and comments, all students need to take four years of English and three petence in the fields Jason and Jared have chosen. years of math (Algebra 1 and 2, plus geometry) with an optional I believe the "college for all" approach is misguided. European fourth year of calculus. It encourages student success. It levels countries offer students, based on academic performance and the playing field. It makes college accessible to everybody. career choices, opportunities for either vocational education or Our school has a population that is 60 percent Latino and a university education. This allows each student an appropriate Spanish-speaking students. path to achieve his or her own Many of these students might educational goals. Students P O I N T / C O U N T E R P O I N T not take rigorous classes if it and their parents should wasn't a requirement. Many determine which curriculum are first-generation immigrant will meet their own needs. students who don't have a role Remember, we are here to meet model or other family members our students' needs; it's not the that went off to college. They other way around. don't necessarily have any idea My school, located in Increasing numbers of school districts are making about how to apply to colleges. a farming community, has an college-prep courses the norm for all students as a Requiring students to pass agriculture program, a HOSA way to ensure graduates will be ready to enter state classes necessary for UC or CSU (Health Occupation Students of universities. Here's what two CTA members have to admission avoids letting these America) chapter for students say about the "college for all" movement. students slip through the cracks. going into nursing or dental It gives students a choice about assisting, and a culinary arts their future. academy where students learn The job market is more competitive than ever before. People all aspects of restaurant work. Students from these programs go with a master's degree are applying for jobs that require a bachdirectly into the job market with skills our talented teachers have elor's degree. My students entering this job market need to know taught them. This system works because it values the client — early on about this reality. Continuing their education post-high our student. We also have a strong AP curriculum that prepares school enhances their qualifications for any job opportunity. students for the rigor of university study life. Some say that making students meet A-G requirements for Just as high schools form partnerships with nearby universihigh school graduation can increase the dropout rate. I truly ties to increase university acceptance, school districts that offer believe that if held accountable, all students are capable of meetstudents a focus on vocational training can offer apprenticeships ing these requirements. We need to have high expectations of or school-to-work programs that connect future mechanics with students. Some of my students are very surprised, because they certified mechanics at the local garage. And just as our collegedidn't realize they were capable of passing challenging classes. bound students benefit from SAT prep classes and university field Seeing that success is a beautiful thing. trips, our vocational students can spend class time shadowing an The reality is that not all students who take these classes will air-conditioning repairman or an electrician. be able to go to college. Students can pass these classes with The focus on a college-bound curriculum is a shortsighted, a D, which allows them to graduate high school, without being one-size-fits-all approach to education. It devalues career choices eligible for college. So when you look at it closely, it's not actually that are perfectly valid choices and are necessary for those of us "college for all." But it is college for many by giving students the without the time, talent or physical ability to do them. opportunity to ultimately make their own choice in their senior If high school is the final free education we give to the people year to continue on to college, even those who once thought it who become our next generation — the leaders of our townships was beyond their reach. and the coaches of the Little League team — it behooves us to make our students the best they can be. Offering a curriculum Melanie Anvari, San Jose Teachers Association, is a counselor that values their diverse talents and abilities will help them fulfill at Gunderson High School. their goals. Yes! No! Should 'college for all' be the goal? Catherine Drew, El Centro Secondary Teachers Association, is an English teacher at Southwest High School. June/July 2013 Educator 06 June 2013 v2.0.indd 9 9 6/14/13 9:29 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - June 2013