College Con: Most High School Grads Not College-Ready

It's another damning indictment of our education system. High schools are producing poorly-qualified college students who then become poorly-prepared college graduates. A new piece entitled Fraud in Higher Education lays out some of the ugly numbers on what is happening with higher education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016 only 37% of white high school graduates and 17% of black high school graduates tested as college-ready, but the majority of those students got in to college anyway.

Author and education critic Marty Nemko says these under-qualified students often struggle when they get to college. "A lot of students don't grow at all (during their college years)," he tells KTRH. "About 36-45% grow little or nothing in the critical areas of critical thinking and writing from freshman to senior year."

These students are not only wasting time in college, but they (and their parents) are wasting a lot of money. For instance, a 2018 report shows more than 40% of college students end up taking remedial math or English classes, at an annual cost of some $7 billion. Nemko argues the schools don't care as long as they're raking in tuition dollars. "They can charge pretty much what they want, and they can play Robin Hood and redistribute from the people who are middle class or upper middle class, to the poor," he says.

All the while schools and society continue to perpetuate the myth that college is for everyone, despite evidence to the contrary. "These days the message really is, especially to low-income parents, your kid should go to college," says Nemko. "But it's really much more nuanced than depends on the kid. People who did badly in high school and didn't enjoy it are more likely to drop out (of college) and have their self-esteem destroyed."

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