Are our colleges leaving our kids ill-prepared?

Are our colleges leaving our kids ill-prepared?

October 12, 2019 75 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Tucker: HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA IS CRUSHINGLY EXPENSIVE. COLLEGE TUITION RATES ARE RISING FAR HIGHER THAN FAMILY INCOME IS. COLLEGES ARE ALSO MONTHLY CHROMATIC. WHEN THEY COME HOME, THEY MAY LEARN TO HATE THE VALUES HE RACE THEM WITH, THE ONES YOU BELIEVE IN AND THEY WILL ALSO BE ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. THE COST OF COLLEGE ARE EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH. IT’S WORTH IT WE TELL OURSELVES FOR THE EDUCATION. EDUCATION IS KEY. OUR KIDS NEED TO LEARN. THE QUESTION IS, ARE THEY LEARNING? SEVERAL YEARS AGO, A PAIR OF ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS DECIDED TO FIND OUT. THEY STUDY DATA FROM A GROUP OF MORE THAN 2,000 STUDENTS ENROLLED IN FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES WHO HAVE BEEN TRACKED OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. THE BOOK OF RESULTS FROM ALL THIS RESEARCH WAS CALLED ACADEMICALLY ADDRESSED. LIMITED LEARNING ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES. AMONG ITS MANY FINDINGS, 45% OF STUDENTS “DID NOT DEMONSTRATE ANY SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING OVER THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF COLLEGE” CLOSE TO 40 PERCENT DIDN’T LEARN ANYTHING AT ALL OVER FOUR YEARS. HOW DO STUDENTS LEARN SO LITTLE? MANY OF THEM NEVER ACTUALLY STUDIED. 35% OF STUDENTS REPORTED SPENDING NO MORE THAN FIVE HOURS A WEEK IN ACADEMIC PREPARATION. OVERALL, THE STUDY FOUNDED 50% DECLINED — THE AVERAGE FULL-TIME COLLEGE STUDENT NOW SPENDS ONLY 2.76 HOURS A DAY ON ALL EDUCATION RELATED TO ACTIVIT ALL EDUCATION RELATED TO ACTIVIE ALL EDUCATION RELATED TO ACTIVIS ALL EDUCATION RELATED TO ACTIVI ACTIVITIES. MULTIPLY THIS BY AN ENTIRE COUNTRY AND YOU WIND UP WITH A DEEPLY IGNORANT POPULATION. THERE HAS BEEN A CONSISTENT DECLINE IN ADULT LITERACY IN AMERICA OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS DESPITE THE FACT THAT MORE KIDS THAN EVER ARE GOING TO COLLEGE. TWO SEPARATE STUDIES FOR THE NATIONAL ADULT LITERACY FIND THAT GRADUATES FALL BELOW PROFICIENCY. THE MAJORITY COULD NOT COMPETE DOMESTIC COMPLETE SIMPLE COGNITIVE TASKS. 31% OF GRADUATES COULD READ AND UNDERSTAND A COMPLEX BOOK. COLLEGE GRADUATES SHOW THEY ARE FAR MORE IGNORANT THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER NATION. IN SOME CASES, COLLEGE GRADUATES IN THIS COUNTRY GOT THE SAME TEST SCORES AS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES IN OTHER COUNTRIES. THE EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE PUT — THIS IS A CRISIS. YOU WOULD THINK THAT COLLEGES WOULD RESPOND BY INCREASING ACADEMIC RECORDS. THE OPPOSITE HAS HAPPENED. THE TOP PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN AMERICA FOUND THAT ONLY NINE SCHOOLS FUNDED IN ECONOMICS COURSE. ONLY FIVE REQUIRED A SURVEYS COURSE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. AS ONE RESEARCHER NOTED, DESPITE LIP SERVICE GIVEN TO ALL TOURISM, FEWER THAN HALF REQUIRED INTERMEDIATE STUDY OF A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. THE NUMBER OF DEGREES AWARDED IN WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES INCREASED BY MORE THAN 300% SINCE 1990. COLLEGE CLASSES ARE GETTING FLIMSY YEAR. COLLEGE GRADUATES ARE GETTING DUMBER, BUT YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW IT FROM THEIR GRADES WHAT YOU’RE GETTING HIGHER. IN 1983, THE COLLEGE GPA AVERAGE WAS 2.8, IT’S NOT OVER 3.1. IT’S MOSTLY FOUND IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS. IN WAKE FOREST NORTH CAROLINA, THE CUMULATIVE GPA FOR GRADUATING SENIORS IN 1988 WAS 2.84. NATIONALLY, THE MOST COMMON GRADE GIVEN IN COLLEGE COURSES RIGHT NOW IS AN A. ACCORDING TO “THE NEW YORK TIMES,” A QUARTER OF ALL GRADES GIVEN ARE As. IN OTHER WORDS, MORE STUDENTS ARE FEELING, YET NOBODY FAILS. KIDS NO LESS, BUT THEIR TEACHERS ASSURE THEM THEY KNOW MORE. YEAR THEY INCREASE THEIR FEES. TRY THAT AND A PRIVATE BUSINESS, YOU MIGHT GET INDICTED FOR FRAUD. WOULD AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, AND YOU COULD BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES. MARK ROOSEVELT AS THE PRESIDENT OF ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE IN SANTA FE. IT’S ONE OF THE ONLY COLLEGES IN NORTH AMERICA WHO IS PROVIDING A TRADITIONAL LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION. MARK ROOSEVELT JOINS US TODAY. THANKS FOR COMING ON. APPRECIATE IT.>>THANKS FOR HAVING ME.>>Tucker: I WANT TO TALK TO YOU SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I THINK THIS IS NOT TO PROMOTE YOUR SCHOOL, BUT I THINK ST. JOHN’S IS DIFFERENT FROM MOST UNIVERSITIES. YOU’VE GOT AN ADVANTAGE. LOOKING AT THE COUNTRY, HOW DOES IT HAPPEN THAT WHEN MORE PEOPLE ARE COMING TO COLLEGE THAN EVER BEFORE, THERE IS A CONSISTENT DECLINE IN ADULT LITERACY? HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?>>FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ST. JOHN’S TO JOIN THIS CONVERSATION. WE BELIEVE IN CONVERSATIONS AND CIVIL DISCOURSE AND THAT’S ANOTHER THING AS YOU POINTED OUT THAT UNFORTUNATELY HAPPENS.>>Tucker: I AGREE.>>YOU NOTED WE WERE DIFFERENT, WE ARE SO DIFFERENT. WE MAY BE THE MOST RIGOROUS COLLEGE IN AMERICA. OUR FRESHMAN LEARN ANCIENT GREEK, OUR SENIORS STRUGGLE WITH QUANTUM PHYSICS. ALONG THE WAY, THEY HAVE TO TAKE CALCULUS, THEY HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO DO DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS AND THEY HAVE TO STUDY KARL MARX AND ADAM SMITH. WE ARE FAILING AGAINST ALMOST PREVAILING AT — I AGREE WITH WHAT YOU SOW IN THE BEGINNING IS THAT THERE HAS BEEN SLIPPAGE AND RIGOR, SLIPPAGE AND DEMANDS ACADEMICALLY MADE OF STUDENTS. WE THINK THAT IS A MISTAKE. WE HAVE NO INTENTIONS OF DOING THAT PARTICULAR PARADE IN HIGHER EDUCATION.>>Tucker: GOOD FOR YOU, MAYBE I’M MISREADING THIS, BUT AS THE OUTCOMES DECLINE, BECOME LESS THEY GRADUATE, YOU WOULD THINK COLLEGES WERE TURNING OUT PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T KNOW VERY MUCH, ONLY 30%. A COMPLEX BOOK. MAYBE WE SHOULD TEACH THEM MORE. THE OPPOSITE SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING. WHY?>>I’M NOT SURE I KNOW THE ANSWER TO WHY. THE MOVEMENT TOWARDS ALLOWING STUDENTS TO SHAPE THEIR OWN CURRICULUM AND TO BE ABLE TO DETERMINE THEIR OWN EDUCATION IS PART OF IT. A LACK OF EXPECTATIONS IS ANOTHER PART OF IT. AGAIN, NOT TO RETURN TO ST. JOHN’S, BUT THAT’S WHAT I KNOW BEST, OUR STUDENTS READ 200 BOOKS AND I MEAN 200 SERIOUS BOOKS OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR EDUCATION. IN ALL HONESTY, WE HAVE ABOUT 800 STUDENTS. OUR STUDENTS ARE VERY — THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE GETTING INTO AND THEY KNOW HOW HARD IT’S GOING TO BE. THAT IS A VERY, VERY SERIOUS CHALLENGE.>>Tucker: MAYBE YOU PUT YOUR FINGER ON IT. WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING IS A TRADITIONAL EDUCATION WHICH WOULD BE FAMILIAR TO A LOT OF WELL EDUCATED AMERICANS. THE QUESTION IS WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION IS REALLY SUITED FOR, INTERESTED IN, SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN A LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION?>>I BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE A LOT OF DIVERSITY. YOU TALKED PREVIOUSLY ABOUT CAREER PREPARATION AND THERE IS A PLACE FOR THAT. THERE’S A PLACE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET TRAINED TO DO A JOB. WE KNOW FROM COLLEGES THAT ONLY ABOUT 20% OF STUDENTS WHO WORK ON SOMETHING THAT THEY MAJORED IN AND YOU MAY KNOW, WE DON’T HAVE MAJORS AT ST. JOHN’S. WE DON’T THINK THAT LIFE BREAKS DOWN INTO MAJORS. AGAIN, WE ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT. THE LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION CAN BE DESCRIBED AS VERY DIFFERENT THINGS IN VERY DIFFERENT PLACES. AT ST. JOHN’S, IT’S NOT REQUIRED. EVERYONE IS TAKING ALL THE SAME COURSES AND THEY ARE ALL EQUAL RIGOR AND DEMANDS. THEY ARE VERY SMALL CLASSES. AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT 15 STUDENTS, THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THEM TO