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HS Reform: Myths that Need to Be Debunked

I read with interest the intervention Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had at the College Board AP Conference. He does a great layout of what is happening, what is expected to be done, and his perception of the three myths affecting a national high school reform. 

 Secretary Duncan refers to a model of education high school is giving to its students, which is based on the 40's industrial model. He speaks about changes and gains in the major cities like New York, Nashville, Indianapolis, Newark, and Philadelphia. There is, however something it is not new to us, the fact the intentions of the government are to prepare students for college as the last and definitive goal.

Why is it taking so long to move some of these students into the 21st century? 

 Duncan believes the reason for this, is based on these three myths: 

 » The belief that setting higher standards and expectations for students will only lead more students to fail, driving up the already high, dropout rate. 

 » Accept that poverty is destiny. And that in the face of poverty, a school or a teacher cannot just make that much difference.

 » The false idea that high school educators and counselors cannot really prepare students for careers or college because the concept of college and career-readiness is itself too elusive to evaluate meaningfully with assessments or to track with longitudinal data systems. 

 The current school structure still allows us to reproduce information without critical thinking, many still claim to. And as in the discourse Duncan put it, there is a top 20% that is expected to go to college, and there is another 20% that makes statistics for drop out. What remains is 60 % of high school population that we don't know what they are going to do with their lives. 

  Obama's government wants to work with these students and get them to College, fighting the three myth referred. The fact is that 40% of those students do not make that 20 & 20% between college entries and dropouts, still need remedial classes in community colleges.

 This tells us something of interest. Per years we wanted to blame one another about failings in the education structure. We forget that each level has a particular work to do and society expects each institution performs as its best. Obviously, this is not happening and we need urgently an education reform. 

 But Mr. Secretary, whatever the government does, there will be a percentage of high school graduates that do not know want to do with their lives. And there is also a group which decides to no to go into college because, they became parents --nothing about this have been mentioned, or simply because Wall Street has left them in extreme poverty that they can even qualify to apply for a credit if they are really serious about a college education. 

 The school has never been and will never be the motor over which a society is developed. Is the family. And until we have families living on poverty, the expectancy for the young people is nothing foreseeable. And that is not a myth, is reality!

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