"Three weeks ago, the school system in Alexandria, Va., announced that 80% of the students who were about to graduate from T.C. Williams High School would be going on to college. That's an impressive statistic for a school that is 79% minority, with more than half its kids on a free or reduced-cost lunch program. But when one looks at just what "going on to college" means nowadays — and what it will mean a couple of years from now — we might do well to restrain our applause."
Is college overrated? Personally, I don't think so. It opened doors for its completers. I use Farm Management 410 I took in 1970 every single day. The problem is every decent parent and teacher want more children to set it as a goal when the child isn't sure if that is what they want to do or not.
I think the key here is building a thirst in a child to strive for what they really enjoy doing. I have always said the hardest thing for me as a parent, teacher and school board member was helping children find their way in life. Three things make me happy, spiritual, career, and spouse. Any one of those choices can make you or break you. For those who find all three, you see people that life just seems a breeze for. This was recently discussed in Women in Agriculture in a thread called Perfect Lives.
The way boys and girls mature and learn has always been a challenge. Too often I think we force children to do what we did at a time they are not ready or maybe they are that much different from us. Just think how hard it is to find that right thing at the right time in the life of someone else you care about and guide them and nurture them through that process.
LuAnn and I work with a lot of good people who are stuck financially, legally, emotionally and every other kind of problem at a spot that limits their ability. Does it all come down to good parenting and helping a child find what they are best at and happy with? So many many people, maybe all of us are limited by past choices and trying to fulfill the obligations we created for ourselves.
We finished cleaning out my 2009 soybean crop out of the bin yesterday. LuAnn found 4 young men from Second Chance who really need that second chance. They earned a little cash and met people and industry they have never worked with. It turned out really well and just involved a few hours of their life. I could see where there choices had put them in a place they don't really want to be in and I think they saw how I had a seemingly better way of life doing what I am doing.
I don't think any of them ever wanted to hit the books hard enough to do what I do yet their lack of education has left them in a spot where they need assistance. I don't think college would have been the best choice for them but now we live in an information age where education is valued at a premium.
Higher education is not the answer for every one. I don't think every school needs an 80% acceptance rate into college though it is admirable. Has our country lost too many skilled trade opportunities as companies shipped jobs overseas to people who are willing to work for less because they don't have near what we have?
It is a complicated issue but I think we all agree we need to do a better job guiding children from conception through the end of their lives.
Does it all start with birth, school days, relationships, maturity?
Sports are a great tool kids need but every child can't be an NFL starting player.
I think we need to make it a lot more simple than that.
What do you think?