The fall semester has begun across the nation, which means that high school counselors will soon advise nearly all their charges to apply to college. I believe that essentially amounts to malpractice (“Accuracy in Academia,” the Alex Nitzberg Show, Aug. 21).
When nearly half of college freshmen require remedial courses despite possessing a high school diploma, something is terribly wrong. The truth is that too many students are simply not college material. Either they lack the necessary IQ to handle college-level work or they lack the necessary study habits. In either case, professors have had to severely dumb down their instruction or face criticism for their pedagogy.
When Charles Murray made similar points in “Real Education,” he was blasted for being a racist. But race has nothing to do with the situation. It has everything to do with the wherewithal that individuals of any race possess. The problem is that a high school diploma is now considered a right – not a reward. There is enormous pressure to guarantee that every student receives a diploma regardless of attendance or ability. The result is a travesty.
I’ll go a step further and submit that a bachelor’s degree is heading in the same direction. There was a time when a sheepskin meant something. Today, it is virtually meaningless. In “Academically adrift,” Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that critical-thinking skills of college seniors showed little difference from those of college freshmen. The situation is only going to get worse.
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