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Topic: Re: Many in Massachusetts are unprepared for college
Replies: 1   Last Post: Sep 25, 2012 10:42 AM

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Paul A. Tanner III

Posts: 5,920
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Many in Massachusetts are unprepared for college
Posted: Sep 24, 2012 1:58 PM
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On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 1:05 PM, Wayne Bishop <> wrote:
> US does not have a high school system such that at least of the high
> school system is simply vocational training and not college prep.
> Two flaws in your statement, "simply" and the implication that all (or even
> most) US high schools are college prep. The remediation rate already at the
> beginning of high school and the remediation rate of graduates from them
> shows the flaw in your 2nd. The problem with your "simply vocational
> training" is that some of these are anything but "simply". Competent
> machinists require competent arithmetic through decimals and I have known
> two very successful such, one from Germany and the other from Austria, who
> would take on lots more work if they could hire competent beginning
> machinists. The wife of one of my colleagues was certified and practiced
> physical therapy in her native Germany and has worked on me several times
> (beyond my 4 months in a rehab hospital and 5 years of outpatient since).
> She is among the top 3 of the therapists with whom I have worked and cannot
> begin to practice (for money) here in the US. Although she's taken care of
> some of it, she lacked high school diploma, a college degree, and a masters
> in physical therapy. Moreover, she is no intellectual slouch. Our "system"
> is stupid. Really, really stupid.

First: My above statement should read "at least half of the high school system" - that's right, at least half.

Second: To address these machinist and massage therapy examples: We would have more arithmetically competent machinists and more intellectual massage therapists if we had a vocational high school system such that at least half of our population of that age go into vocational high schools each year. As it stands now in the US with its anti-vocational-high-school way, in terms of social status, being a machinist or any other "blue collar" worker works out to be essentially only for those who are in the lower parts of the academic ability spectrum. This would change some and perhaps quite a lot if we had a vocational high school system that could take in at least of the population of that age each year. That is, we should expect to see some and perhaps quite a few people who are more academically capable actually choosing vocational training that they might find more interesting than academic work in the usual academic high school.

Third: When I said that our high school system is college prep I did not mean to say that it was being successful at it for all or even a majority of our students. (See my below remarks.) I meant that that is the intended design of the system. That is, what is the point of trying to force everyone to take all those academic courses in all those different academic areas in high school (at least until it is legal to drop out) if the intent is not to be a stepping stone for at least some lower level community college or now some online college? (These online colleges can have very low standards even though fully accredited. I tutored someone who was taking a college algebra course at one of these online colleges and almost all of the proprietary written material [no standard text] was essentially as low level as our present Algebra I level material in high school.) To address your examples: High school in the US is certainly not intended to be a stepping stone for being a machinist or a massage therapist. And I note that the first two years of these college courses outside of one's major is essentially those "liberal arts" high school courses in all those different academic areas all over again.

You are right when you wrote, "Our 'system' is stupid. Really, really stupid." And in my above and below remarks I am explaining how.

> At 03:49 PM 9/23/2012, Paul Tanner wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM, Wayne Bishop <>
> wrote:

>> No problem. These students are all part of that 0.01% of top students
>> that
>> Paul readily admits we lag behind some international counterparts.

> The sky is falling! The US is not the best in the world at everything!
> But seriously folks:
> Let's see now: Every country in Europe (and now more and more even
> East Asian countries like Japan are approaching this) have at least
> roughly half of their entire population go into vocational *high
> schools*. This means that they do not try to send their entire
> populations into college as the US does because of the fact that the
> US does not have a high school system such that at least of the high
> school system is simply vocational training and not college prep.
> And the sky is falling because of the inevitable result (as evidenced
> by the article) of the US trying (and not really succeeding at) that
> which no other country on Earth tries because of the fact they they
> are wise enough to see that what is not doable is not doable?
> Is there any grey matter at all between those conservative ears?
> ------- End of Forwarded Message

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