Why Johnny can't read ... or write or do math
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Graduating from high school, it's all too likely that Johnny can't read, can't do basic math or expect to succeed as even a community college freshman — or in the workplace or in life.
Stunning, isn't it?
A new study from the National Center on Education and the Economy concludes that high schools are failing to teach basic math and English skills needed for first-year community college success. And with community college curricula increasingly geared toward training for specific jobs, that failure has profound implications for the future of these students and U.S. prosperity.
The study found that community college freshmen haven't mastered even the “middle school math” they need to know. Instead, most high schools are teaching math — think Algebra II — that community-college freshmen don't need to know.
The study also found community college freshmen read and write so poorly that their instructors don't expect them to be able to read their textbooks and require little writing. When writing is required, it rarely demands logical, evidence-based argument — or the sort of writing freshmen will need for their chosen careers.
Also, most community college tests require little complex thinking or writing. That makes their grades highly suspect measures of skills for success.
Both high schools and community colleges must get back to basics — in what they teach to, and expect of, students. Otherwise, those institutions will go on failing both their students and the nation as a whole.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Liquor privatization: Now’s the time
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Saturday essay: Deck of dreams
- The IRS mess: Name a special prosecutor