California High School Students Ill-Prepared For State’s Colleges

Only 4 in 10 California high school students have the qualifications they need to be accepted at an in-state school.  The credentials necessary are 15 courses including foreign language, lab science, intermediate algebra, and visual or performing arts, and a grade average of “C” or above, according to Lisa Leff writing for the Associated Press.

Public Policy Institute of California Senior Fellow Hans Johnson is afraid that there will be 1 million fewer college graduates than will be necessary in the work force in 2025.  Even if high school dropouts are not taken into consideration when calculating this number, those who stay in school are not experiencing the rigorous prerequisites that will enable them to be accepted to a college.

In order for a California high school student to be prepared for California college admissions,he or she must choose individually to take courses that fulfill the strenuous college admittance litmus test.  There are seven standards that must be met in California that enable a student to be considered for college admission.  They are called the A-G requirements.

For families without previous higher education experience or living in communities without enough guidance counselors, chemistry sections or money for private tutors, “that’s a big hurdle,” said Michele Siqueiros, executive director of Campaign for College Opportunity. She said she often meets parents and students who are devastated to learn, in the child’s junior or senior year, that they do not meet the entrance requirements for the state’s public universities.

Many California high schools are only interested in having a student graduate.  Latino students are now the majority in California schools.  Some are saying that the issue is a civil rights problem.  School administrators are warning parents and students that there are other components involved in being accepted by a college.  The SAT, the ACT, and GPA all are included in the vetting.  The question is not whether or not a student should go to college, say some educators, but who should decide who should go to college.

An ACT report put out in Marc tated that a majority of Native American students, 86 %, were not prepared to be admitted to college.  The Cherokee Phoenix site reports that  only 62% of American Indian students had completed the core-curriculum requirements  recommended by the ACT.  This percentage is the lowest of any racial/ethnic group.  Enrollment in post-secondary schools was lower for American Indians, as well.

“The disconnect we see between postsecondary aspirations on the one hand and preparation and enrollment on the other is particularly pronounced in our research on American Indian students,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT vice president of policy, advocacy and government relations. “While these results paint a stark picture, they can help us all identify appropriate ways to improve success for these students.”

Even bleaker is the ACT report that states that only 10% of African-American students who took the ACT had met at least three of the ACT’s four College Readiness Benchmarks in 2013, say Joanne Jacobs on her site, Linking and Thinking on Education.  Ed Week’s College Bound observes that “While 81 percent of Asian-American students and 71 percent of white students had access to a full range of math and sciences courses, only 57 percent of African American students had full access.”

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