We have all heard about the desire of all students to attend university. In fact, colleges are now offering specific days in the spring for students to register for free! High schools require all students to apply to at least one college or university before they can graduate, apply for financial aid, and all students are required to take their SAT college entrance exam. first year of high school. How many of you went to college? For those who haven’t, have you had a successful life? Were you able to support your families? I would risk guessing for most of you, yes …

I am an educated woman. I am also a first generation student and two of my children will have a bachelor’s degree by the end of 2021. However, that does not make me more successful than my brother, who did not go to college. Without a diploma behind his name, he has owned and managed his own business successfully for over 15 years! It employs 3-5 people at all times and even keeps them on the job during its slower seasons. He has no student loan debt, and I would classify him as a successful person… with only a high school diploma.

In 2016, Idaho legislated that all public schools serving students in grades 8 to 12 would establish a college and career counseling program (Idaho State Department of Education). Despite the efforts of districts, schools, administrators, and teachers, Idaho’s college attendance rate remained stagnant at 45% in 2016 and 2017 (IdahoEdNews.org). College and career preparation programs were meant to be the solution to getting our students to live successful lives after high school. Based on these statistics, I would dare say that this did not happen.

Why are we advocating post-secondary education for all students when the results are likely to be a remarkable increase in student debt and an influx of job seekers in a market that cannot support a significant increase in the number of graduate workers? university? Don’t we understand the need for welders, construction workers, cooks, waitresses, etc.? What college graduate citizen wants to spend an average of $ 23,000 on a degree only to end up earning slightly above the minimum wage as a secretary due to a lack of jobs in their specialist field?

As Idahoans, we have to stand up for certain things. First, OR should replace AND in the expression College and Career Readiness. Second, Idaho should fully fund the programs all elementary, middle and secondary public schools across the state which, starting in kindergarten, present students with many options for their future careers. These options should include careers such as bodywork, welding, and cooking, as well as education, engineering, pharmacy, and others. Third, students should be required to take an inventory of interests at least once throughout the school year. The results should guide their learning in a way that allows them to explore the things that interest them and learn about the possibilities of their future. Finally, districts should receive funding to hire at least one teacher in each school to oversee these programs and ensure that university teachers are not put on more responsibility.

Let’s go to Idaho… are we really going to measure fast-paced success, or are we going to stand up for our students and enable them to succeed by being viable and active citizens in our beautiful state? If we want to see change, we have to champion it. Contact your senators and representatives and let us fight for our children and their future.

About

Jennifer A. Walters is a doctoral candidate at Northwest Nazarene University with 15 years of experience in education.

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