The Viking Post

Settling Is Failing

Skye McNeal, Staff Writer

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College-Bound Since First Grade

AP Classes.

Sports.

Honors.

Clubs.

Leadership skills.

Teamwork.

Scholarships.

Languages.

Internships.

Volunteering.

AVID.

SAT.

ACT.

Good grades.

Graduation.

Girls.

Boys.

Friends.

Family.

Work.

Keep going.

Don’t stop.

Settling is failing.

These are the thoughts that race through the average High School teenager’s mind as of today. Five years ago, similar thoughts ran through the same people’s minds while they were in Middle School. Nowadays, the foundation of such stressful thoughts are being set into the minds of Elementary School aged children by their schools.

More and more elementary schools are having “college week” and school field trips to tour colleges. Teachers are catching on to the college-bound mindset trend and sharing with one another creative tools that can help their prepubescents to see and set their goals for their roadway to college.

For example, there is a worksheet used to demonstrate to the children the steps of going to college that are as easy as 1-2-3. Such a worksheet can cause the kids that do them to be disillusioned because the process is so simplified. Perhaps more people would apply to colleges and universities if it was as simple as “mail application, get accepted, graduate, and move in, go to class, and study hard”.

An article written by teacher Alycia Zimmerman on Scholastic’s official website explains why such a course of action is being taken and put into the curriculum of America’s grade school children:

“As teachers, we’re on the frontlines of a sea-change in our country — an all encompassing push to ensure that our future workforce has the post-secondary education necessary for the high-skilled occupations that will help our country thrive. This is what the increased rigor emphasized by the Common Core State Standards is all about…

When we teach them that college is necessary, expected, and important, we are also telling our students that we have high expectations for them because we believe in them!”

But is it really doing so? Adam Flores, a Senior at Moreno Valley High School that has had a passion for joining the military since he was young, has experienced much frustration with his counselors because they “have high expectations for” and “believe in” him. He explained that said counselors have made it seem like he could not graduate without his A-G requirements, which he doesn’t need because he is joining the military straight out of high school.

Encouraging such a mindset in an even younger generation could be seen as unethical. “We are robbing children of childhood by talking about college and career so early in life,” Marcy Guddemi, executive director of the Gesell Institute of Child Development, said. “Kids being pressured to think college, to pick a college, that everything you do is for college, you miss the here and now.”

It would only be logical to assume that an increase in the emphasis of attending college would result in a significant increase in the amount of people, overall, having an advantage over other applicants when applying to colleges. Unfortunately, it isn’t benefiting those that would need it most: low-income students.

According to research from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, the amount of students that come from low-income households and earn a bachelor’s degree has only increased from 6 to 9 percent since the year 1970. This is in great contrast to those who come from educated, high-income families and have earned a bachelor’s degree. The percentage increase in their behalf has skyrocketed from 40 to 77. At this rate, in approximately only 20 more years, 100% of those who come from educated, high-income families will have earned a bachelor’s degree. That leaves the low-income to increase their bachelor degree intake to only 11% or less.

What these children need to be aware of is college is not the only option. There are trade schools and apprenticeships that can give you opportunities and skills that colleges and universities cannot provide you.

Inculcating the minds of American youth with the idea that college brings you a bright future perpetuates the capitalist ideology, which is beneficial for the economic system of the United States. But such a promising feat can have great downfalls.

Genesis Miranda, another Senior of Moreno Valley High School, describes college as a way to become a productive part of society but also the “perfect way to put yourself in debt”.

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The student news site of Moreno Valley High School
Settling Is Failing