Every year, American schools get their annual report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP), and like all depressing report cards, it is whisked out of sight as quickly as possible.
The nation’s public schools are a mess. Only 37 percent of 12th graders tested proficient in reading and only 25 percent in math. Yet the inability to read or do math seems to be no barrier to college. Unprepared students are flooding into college in record numbers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 70 percent of white high-school graduates and 58 percent of black graduates in 2016 enrolled in college. In his syndicated column, veteran columnist Walter E. Williams asks, “If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 70 percent of them? And if roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 58 percent of them? It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level. “
Do college leaders know that they are welcoming high school graduates who have no ability to do college work? Of course. That’s why more than 200 colleges put more than half of incoming freshmen in one or more remedial classes. Colleges keep searching for unchallenging courses that barely literate students can pass.
Williams says one clue to badly watered-down classes is the word “studies,” as in ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies and American studies. And what major is most selected by ill-prepared students? Education, Williams says. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended majors, education ranks 26th on a list of 38. I’m not sure about what can be done about education,” Williams writes. “But the first step toward any solution is for the American people to be aware of academic fraud at every level of education.”