Friday, January 06, 2006

Education - Parents must rise up, "The Judge Saith So"

The Judge Speaks

I ran in to an old friend last night at a college basketball game. I have not talked with him for about 3-4 years. We occasionally cross paths at sporting events because our boys grew up together playing on local and traveling baseball and basketball teams.

My friend happens to be a judge and our topics of discussion usually start with the families and then on to a good subject. Yesterday it was high school and college test scores, grades and entrance requirements.

It seems our difficulty in trying to help our boys get into the same State University was difficult. The judge’s son went to a tough Catholic Academic High School and mine went to our local public high school. While my son’s grade point was higher by a few points his son’s school required much more work both inside and outside of school. I state this because GPA by itself is a poor means of measuring one’s academic knowledge. In fact, the way a student's GPA is calculated depends on the school he/she attends. Averaging the GPA in my opinion is worthless. Why don't schools assign points per Grade ( A = 4, B =3, C = 2, and D=1). If you want a 5 for Honors or AP classes that is fine. Simply total up the final score 6 As, + 1 B = 27). The more points you have the better. This would also encourage more students to take more classes instead of the minimum in order to graduate. Is a student who takes 5 classes and gets all As (GPA = 4.0) doing more than the student who took 7 classes in the example above who would have a GPA of 3.8 under the current way of calculating GPA (27/7).

What was interesting was the fact that we both had to call numerous times to make sure our sons were on the list and both were told it would take a few more months longer than normal to know if entrance was granted. The judge being more in tune to politics and other avenues realized the wait had to do with the fact that our big “State” University wanted to get as many out of state (BIG BUCKS) students as possible before letting in students from within our state with GPAs that range from 3.3 – 3.5. Eventually, his son went to a Private College because he could not wait because of a baseball scholarship offer and my son did get accepted after being told he was on the bubble for two months.

I also informed him that in California illegal immigrants can attend UCLA for around $7000, but it would cost us about $20,000 for out state fees.

We berated foreign speaking instructors who can’t communicate to students and the fact that most of the professors are doing research instead of teaching our kids. A Teaching Assistant/Grad Student usually does the teaching.

My son who is applying to different grad schools both in and outside of our State. He went and talked to an entrance advisor at the “Big Kahuna University” about his chances for acceptance next fall. While he was given a vote of confidence that his grades and entrance exam scores were good enough the program he wanted is “More geared toward International Students.” In other words, no room at the inn, even if it is in the state where I pay taxes, big taxes.

The Big Kahuna University would cost between $10,000 – 15,000 per year for in state. One of the east coast schools he is applying to will run between $60,00 – 80,000 for out state tuition grad school. Please remember this is for one year.

qualityg says … I’m not mentioning school names because I am not alone; this is a huge problem through out the United States. Why is it more people/parents do not rise up over this educational fiasco that has gone on for too long. Unless you are dirt poor, extremely rich, or a foreign student you have little chance at an equal education. Fairness is not a word in this case, it’s a debacle and a shame that our higher levels of learning are selling our talent pool out as fast as the corporate Wall Street mongrels that do everything for a profit and do not care what it does for our society as a whole.

I will no longer vote to increase taxes or funds for my state colleges. Their administrative and financial policies are as bad or worse than the scandals facing corporate America.

I have stated this before; education should be a given right for all Americans. It should not have to be competed for and paid for by the highest bidder. The systemic good of a well-educated society is known, yet we continue to fragment our schools through “selective” mass government and local funding.

Oh the naysayers will say private and public universities competing will raise standards. I say, how long do we wait for this to happen? After all has it not been at least a hundred years, perhaps the level of mediocrity in our educational system today from Pre-K – 16 is evidence enough we are going about this the wrong way. If you want to compete globally then we need to get on the same page and compete, individually competing against ourselves plays right into the hands of our Global Competitors in China, India, and the Far East (see for your self, research their educational systems).

You want to increase quality and raise everyone’s standards for education? Then provide everyone an avenue for receiving a quality education. “Life-Long Learning” and “Joy of Learning” are essential if we are to truly have globally learning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You are right on the money. As a parent in Wisconsin I have raised heck on the subject of tuition. The problem is that it will take many voices and not just one lone wolf.

Go Badgers!