Disrespect in High Schools

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Recently, the American educational establishment has lost respect for career technical education. At one time there were multiple shops in every high school as well as home economics and business classes. There were also similar introductory career technical education courses offered in every junior high school in America. Today, many of these programs and their teachers are gone. High school principals, vice principals, and counselors used to understand that many students have limited academic ability and require career technical education programs to work and live independently after high school.

It is time to recognize that half of the students of all races in America are below average intelligence. I understand intelligence tests have cultural issues. However, this very real cultural issue, which certainly is important, does not alter reality. It has become heresy to even mention that kids have different ability levels. Add to this group, disabled students and students who don’t speak English and you have a supermajority of high school students who don’t do well in high school. The cold reality is that students of lower ability cannot master college prep curricula. It is because of a refusal to accept this unvarnished truth that career technical education has lost respect in American high schools. And to a large extent, non-college required jobs and workers have lost respect in America. This condescension hurts education and its students.

Somewhere along the line, American high schools passed from common sense to elitist unreality. This loss of reality was actually in believing that if lower achieving kids would just study harder, they could master college prep material. Because of this fantasy, some school districts have mandated college entrance courses for all students. This is fantasy unsupported by any educational research. They invented the concept that the problem was not the inherent limitation of students, but it was just a lack of their effort. And following this theory, the high schools blame parents for students not achieving at higher levels. This new, elitist educational philosophy has no magic curricula or teaching technique. The whole concept is a lie manufactured from whole cloth.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of people inside education who understand the research to call the lie what it is. Lay school boards are ignorant and do what they please. The real failure to communicate the absurdness of this concept is America’s schools of education. They also disrespect the obvious alternative to the college prep curriculum – career technical education. American schools of education have bought this elitist concept of education to the detriment of public education and the country. They deserve derision for their lack of leadership in supporting educational research, common sense, and career technical education programs and their teachers.

This lack of respect for career technical education has left no one to advocate for the seventy percent of kids who do not go on graduate from college. This disrespect by the American high school system has the effect of not allowing these kids to take a multi-year sequence of career technical education courses in high school that make them employable. The college prep courses crowd out the career technical education courses in student schedules. American students are left with a smattering of college prep courses, many of which they failed, and have no training for post high school employment.

The ultimate disrespect is for America’s youth. They are left to scrap on the streets where they join gangs, commit crime, prostitute themselves, and end up in prison or dead. Seventy percent of the two and a half million in prison and additional four and a half million on parole and probation are high school dropouts. A new hoax is currently being perpetrated on the American public. In order to make the dropout rate appear lower, school districts are creating gimmick programs and redefining the dropout rate to leave out significant populations. Instead of facing the disaster of their elitist policy, they obfuscate the data to pretend there isn’t a huge underlying problem in American high schools. The reality is that the supermajority of American youth is not being provided with an appropriate high school education. Because of this inappropriate education, millions of good kids lives are being lost to the streets. And there is no one to speak for them to demand utilizing our high schools to create a better lives for our youth.


James C. Wilson, Ed.D.
Author

Dr. Wilson is the author of Disposable Youth: Education or Incarceration? available on Amazon.com

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Dr. Wilson is the author of Disposable Youth: Eucation or Incarceration? on Amazon.com
 
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