Preparing for life

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An editorial by the CKNJ Editorial Board

There's no worse surprise for a college freshman than to not be ready for college, especially if they have gotten good grades in high school.

But it's happening quite often today.

More and more college students are finding they must enroll in remedial classes before they can even start their credit courses.

We're glad the state Department of Education is revamping the Kentucky Education Reform Act. The fact that certain test scores are being tied to student - and school - achievement often results in inaccurate projections.

The most recent Kentucky College and Career Readiness High School Feedback Report looked at 2008 graduates after their first year of college. In the report, an average of more than 40 percent of local students tested as "not ready for college" in one or more subjects. To be deemed not ready for college, a student must have scored less than an 18 on the ACT test.

But good test scores don't always mean that students will be successful - and having poor scores doesn't mean they won't.

Too many of our teachers today end up having to teach what the tests will measure rather than what students really need to master.

For instance, how many high schoolers today study grammar? What about spelling? Sentence structure? Penmanship?

Remember the horrid lessons in diagramming sentences from years past? We might have hated them, but they taught us proper sentence structure. These are skills that students must have in today's world.

And of those who aren't going to college, how many are graduating prepared for life? Have they even learned how to balance a checkbook?

In years past, those who had high school diplomas were nearly always able to find some sort of job. Today, that's not always the case. There are college graduates fighting for entry-level positions. Let's face it: children today have to be more educated than their parents were.

But this certainly isn't an issue only for schools.

Adults can provide support and encouragement, set good examples and be role models.

Students themselves need to seek out challenging courses and be open to new ideas.

Ultimately, their future success lies in their hands.