Lower standards devalue education

On April 28, 2014

According to Complete College America, only 30 percent of Arkansans who attempt to go to college are successful in getting a degree.

The organization blames such low pass rates on developmental classes, citing that only around 16 percent of freshmen requiring remedial courses will successfully get a degree.

While Complete College America calls for reform to the college education system, I celebrate these statistics.

The state of Arkansas is slowly changing the way it rewards colleges by providing graduation-based grants.

These grants give money to schools that have high graduation rates rather than having strong academic programs or research departments.

This is a very dangerous concept.This encourages colleges to make classes easier, especially developmental courses, so that no one will have a problem succeeding.

This is especially troubling for those who had no problem succeeding before. By increasing the number of college degrees in the workforce, each individual degree will be worth less because it is less unique.

Also, less qualified people will possess the same degrees as more qualified people so it will be harder to distinguish who is qualified for a job.

This isn’t saying that college should be an exclusive institution that only the rich or well equipped should attend, but that certain requirements should be met in order to graduate.

While it is true that college graduates are good for economy, assuming that giving more degrees will boost the economy is confusing causation with correlation.

The truth is, those that currently have a college degree are either smart enough to get one easily or have the work ethic to get one with perseverance, both qualities in people that positively affect the economy when found in the workforce.

To make the problem worse, colleges have been relaxing admission standards while high schools have been encouraging all students to attend college.

Getting into college almost isn’t even a concern as it was in decades past. Additionally, the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship provides money for nearly every graduating senior.

College is not for everyone. American culture has developed an attitude of “everyone is a winner for trying.”

While every little league player may get a trophy, not everyone is cut out for the MLB.

The economy works in a similar way. Culture can spread the idea that everyone should have an equality outcome, but this simply isn’t obtainable.

Not everyone has the intelligence and/or desire to succeed in college. This doesn’t make them inferior or inept, just not designed or prepared for college.

So how then can we increase college pass rate in a land where equality is stressed?
The solution starts in high school. If high schools encouraged students to learn and succeed on their own terms rather than studying for standardized tests, it would be easier for students to succeed in high school. High schools should also promote trade schools in addition to colleges and universities.

This way, young people who aren’t the college type are not pressured into making a big decision and getting into unnecessary debt.

Giving all Americans a college degree is a noble goal but we need to remember while all men were created equal, not all will end up that way.

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