Question for parents of high school kids or recent grads

My kids have been out of school for too long for me to know – they were pre-Common Core . . . .

Are the local high schools educating kids for life when they graduate?

Are they ready for college?   Do they have other jobs skills for life without college?

Are they prepared for any career path?

Anonymous comments welcome!



14 thoughts on “Question for parents of high school kids or recent grads

  1. It depends. I suspect that the classes have prepared my kids for certain careers, but if the students want to be really prepared, with practical experience, they have to go looking for it – it won’t come from MOST of the classes. NCHS has an entrepreneurship class, where kids learn how to start-up and operate a business. There are also internship opportunities available. The school has some existing relationships, or, if the kid is ambitious as mine was, you can go to a business you want to learn more about and create your own internship program run through the school. My daughter could have gotten a full-time job with the company she interned with, however having learned about the industry, she will go to college with a major that is highly sought after in that industry.

    On the other side, all local schools have access to Bloomington Area Career Center, where students are prepared for jobs in various areas ranging from firefighting, culinary, nursing, automotive, just to name a few. This is an EXCELLENT program. I know of students who have gone through the automotive program who have gone on to specialized automotive tech programs in college, and others who have gone to auto shops and gotten jobs. The culinary students provide refreshments to all the open houses, etc., and the food is very good. The nursing students finish their first year as certified CNAs. For those who take the second year nursing class, that is a competitive admission program where the students rotate through clinical experiences at various medical facilities in the area.

  2. Diane, I don’t have kids, but I did graduate high school within the last 10 years and I can honestly say, even pre-common core education didn’t prepare me for college. I struggled big time my freshman year of college. High school was a complete cake walk. Never had to study for exams, aced all the homework, and had to put forth minimal effort to get great grades. High school was a joke. I can only imagine how bad it must be now.

  3. I think there is a fairly big misunderstanding of common core education. There were definitely challenges with the implementation of it, but the actual idea of common core is actually really helpful. The whole idea of common core is to teach the why. For example, when it comes to math, they teach the why they do something not just how to do it. Kids leave with a greater understanding of how to do something. Some of the strategies taught seem longer to us but when I speak to kids about it, they have a far deeper understanding. There are a lot of educators, who seemed to misunderstand the idea as well, which has not helped with the implementation. Kids who will be entering middle school and high school now, have spent most of their lives under the standard. They far exceed those who were taught one way and then the way they were taught were switched. As previously mentioned the implementation of it was not a great one.

    Education evolves, the strategies that are out there to teach student evolve too, brains are slightly wired differently in the digital age as opposed to other generations. I compare it to this: Years ago, if you had heart attack, you would go to the hospital, have open heart surgery, be in the hospital for days and weeks following it. Now when someone has a heart attack, because of how medicine evolves, people can be discharged the same day or within 24 hours of their procedures. Why, because we learned how to do it better. You wouldn’t your family member being treated how medicine was done 30 years ago. That is the same with common core. Im truly surprised at the depths in which these kids are grasping the why, especially in math. I know you might think I am a educator and actually I am not, I work in medicine (hence my medical analogy).

    In regards to their preparedness, I think local school districts are becoming more burden by the continuous unfunded mandates and bureaucratic requirements placed on schools. A lot of schools spend time, energy and resources addressing the states requirements, rather than focusing on teaching. This does effect kids and their ability to come out prepared. The other common misconception is that its the schools full responsibility how to teach kids to do life. This is where parents come in, teaching them life skills, where teachers teach how to learn. That is a clear distinction. Its a partnership. Educators have a large influence in kids lives, but the one hour a day for 9 months a teach might see a student does not compare to the parents 18 years with them. Preparedness for life is a collaborative effort between families and the schools.

    1. I’m in a unique position to call BS, on Both sides of the argument. I married into a family and assumed all was well with our schools until I discovered Common Core Does Not Teach Kids To Read. It teaches kids to be good guessers. That may be a good reading/learning strategy for the future janitors of the world* but as somebody who has much higher and realistic expectations, the CC approach to reading hamstrings kids with above average potential.
      While I do have some issues with ‘new math’, which is also hinders those with potential by catering to the least common denominator, overall I have been pleased with the math curriculum – it seems to be more accelerated than when I was in school, which is a good thing.
      CC is neither a panacea nor ‘the devil’s work’. It is a different approach vs traditional and has some good points and some bad. It may promote ‘deeper understanding’ in some areas, but it seems to allow total ignorance in others. It Is Teaching To The Test.
      I agree we do need fewer unfunded mandates and we desperately need more parental involvement, but both of those problems are only vaguely related to CC at best.
      The worst aspect of CC is that it is mandated, or at least effectively so. Schools and teachers should be allowed to take the best parts of CC and integrate them into what works best for their students. Or for teachers that don’t know anything else, they should be allowed to deviate for the benefit of their kids. If nothing else, that will provide kids with the critically important insight that there Are different approaches that work (and sometimes better) other than what is dictated by ‘the powers that be’.

      *Nothing against janitors – They are a very necessary part of society, they put up with a lot of crap, sometimes literally, and I don’t doubt a good number of them Are highly intelligent, but as a whole, they aren’t on the level of rocket scientists and the like.

    2. When the math makes no sense and can be completed faster using old methods tell me again what is good about common core. Money being wasted on useless beaurocrats doesn’t help either, let’s not forget unfunded pensions not doing a thing for education.

  4. Personally I have no use for “No Child Left Behind,” “Common Core,” “Race to the Top,” “Every Student Succeed Act, ” and any other incarnation they come up with. The bottom line of all of this, which another person noted is this: “hinders those with potential by catering to the least common denominator. ” Their ultimate intention is functional illiteracy. Dumbing Down. Instead of urging the under achievers to improve, they are bring the curriculum down to a lower level. That way, those who wouldn’t ordinarily be achievers, will suddenly receive accolades for their achievements. For example, years ago they did away with 8th grade graduation. Now, they are no longer issuing grades for work, subjects, assignments. The next thing to go will be Honor Roll, Valedictorians, etc. That EVERYONE IS THE SAME. There will be no way to compare one student to another. Why? So no feelings will be hurt. Another reason is so certain students will be celebrated and noticed for SUBJECTIVE reasons. Not objective grades.

  5. That’s nice, some can do math better, most will not use any math past basic math in their entire LIVES. Forced math is the downfall of many many otherwise bright kids. Their knowledge of history and other social sciences is positively abysmal in general, their “working knowledge” of verbal skills is substandard in most instances. Many can’t spell, most are NOT reading up to even grade- level and reading IS fundamental. It seems they are mostly teaching them to “work the gadgets” and take the tests, and that, is NOT an education comprised of cultivating an ability to think critically and understand underlying contexts of history etc. These are kids who might know Beyonce was born in Houston, but they have no idea who Sam Houston was, and that is pretty sad IMO. Their education seldom teaches them to actually strive for more knowledge, to be curious about things that matter, and to make the connections and connect the dots so to speak.

  6. We missed CC thankfully! My son just completed his first year of college. I asked him mid-year if he felt high school prepared him for college. “NO!” He was in special ed his entire school life. Always on college-track. He knew what his major was since 7th grade. He has a rare learning disability. Above-average intelligence which does not transfer to schoolwork. Thankfully his college sat in on his final IEP meeting so they could learn his needs and carry on with help. Priceless! He busted his butt to get the low GPA he has. He is working the summer at a job which is on track with his major and could lead to a job post-college.

  7. In addition to what I wrote above, there is another reason for the changes downward, deemphasizing scholarship. The more they erase things that emphasize scholarship, like grades, graduation, honor roll, Valedictorians, etc , the easier it will be to get into College. They’ve made the ACT Test easier, and students will now receive points to boost their ACT score which will increase their chances of being accepted. Nevermind the fact that they would never have gotten into College based on grades, academic achievement, ACT scores the old traditional way. Now, they will essentially be cheating their way into college with help from the system. Then, if they stay long enough to graduate, they’ll have credentials to get a job.

  8. My son is 34 and graduated from unit 5 in 03 and I thank God every day that he did graduate back then and not now. I have nieces and nephews in other schools in IL and they cant even read cursive and all they spew is how Obama saved the world.

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