My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Good News From The Schools

This, from today’s Rocky Mountain News:

Colorado’s public and private schools have made big strides when it comes to the percentage of students earning top scores on Advanced Placement exams that provide high school students with the opportunity to earn credits or be placed in higher-level courses at many colleges and universities. . .

More than a quarter of Colorado high school students [25.3%] took AP exams last year—up from 18.6 percent in 2000 [compared to 20.9 percent nationally]

Moreover, 16.2% of Colorado students scored a 3 or better, where only 13.2% earned that score nationally. A score of a 3 or better means the student will receive either college credit in that area of study, or will be allowed to register for higher-level college coursework earlier.

There is substantial evidence out there that one of the greatest indicators of college success is the rigor of the high school curriculum, with a particular correlation to AP coursework. This study provides the numbers.

I would have to say this is good news. Colorado is, supposedly, one of the best educated states in the union, and this is why—we start them early.

This also relates to one of my answers to the persistent question: What’s wrong with today’s youth? The answer, to my mind and based on long experience working with them, is absolutely nothing—depending on who you look at. If you take a look at the top 5% of students now and compare them to the top 5% of students 20 years ago, I think you would be stunned to see just how involved, how busy, how ambitious, and how excellent this generation is. I have worked with high school seniors who were not only in advanced placement classes, they were in the top music groups, the student government, were working as interns for local politicians, were involved in their church youth group, and, on top of it, were taking classes at the local community college and holding down a job. Now, I was a pretty good kid, but the schedule some of these kids keep makes me tired just to hear them talk about it.

But if you look beyond the top students, the problems are substantial. To use a sports analogy, this generation is lacking a bench. It’s as if someone has told them if you can’t be the superstar, don’t try it or work very hard at it—destined for middle management, as it were.

But if these test results give you some comfort about this generation, they are merely one indicator of a generation of children that will change the world if they’re given a chance and a little direction.

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