College Readiness - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

2/26/08 - Nacogdoches

College Readiness

by Donna McCollum

Holly Whitaker is mentoring elementary children. You could say the Central Heights senior is bridging the gap between primary school and secondary school. State educators have discovered the same sort of bridge is needed between high school and college.  

" Businesses are complaining about the preparedness of college students, "  said one college administrator at the newly formed P- 16 Council. The name refers to preschool to the fourth year of college. Its goal is to better align the curriculum at every grade to create a more educated workforce.

Dr. John Jacobson, Dean of SFA College of Education said,  " We're not looking for a silver bullet in this council, we're looking for an arsenal of tools that we have to have to work with our children and families and others to develop that college going culture."  Jacobson quoted from the superintendent of schools of Lufkin Independent School District who also serves on the council.

More than half of all entering freshmen at Texas colleges need remedial work. Holly is at the top of her class, but she has friends who are struggling.    " They're just worried that people will make fun of them if they take the easier classes. Or they're not going to be able to handle the pressures."

Council members are realizing you can't necessarily blame the student? Patricia McKenzie,Dean of Angelina College Instruction & Admissions said,    " We saw we were not making a difference. Our students are not ready for college. Well, why? Hudson ISD Superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker asked," Where is the missing link? What we're teaching in high school and what we're testing in high school, is that the same curriculum that they're using to test children to see if they are college bound? "

In January a 104 page packet defining the necessary skills to do college level work was prepared by the state. Attempts will be made to better align the courses, but upcoming graduates like Holly know students must accept responsibility too. She advises students to set their sights on college when they're very young, place academics as your priority and don't goof off your high school senior year.

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