Think KERA is doing a bang-up job getting kids ready for what comes next in life?
Well, think again.
The Kentucky Enquirer just ran a highly disturbing article about the serious lack of preparation – including such things as academic accomplishment, career planning, and motivation – that plagues far too many Kentucky high school students.
The article draws on a new report from the ACT, Incorporated, the people who operate the ACT college entrance test. ACT compared data they collect during testing and job projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine if enough students are interested and prepared for the anticipated jobs of the future. The nutshell summary – they aren’t.
For example, the Enquirer says the report shows 16 percent of the new jobs in Kentucky will be in the education area, but only 11 percent of our kids want to enter the field. Management will account for 15 percent of the new jobs in the Bluegrass State, but only six percent of our kids want that sort of career.
Even when enough kids are interested in a field, such as health care, their ACT scores indicate woefully inadequate preparation. Only about one out of ten kids in Kentucky has an adequate science background to enter college programs needed for these technically challenging fields.
An alarming two-thirds of Kentucky’s kids score too low to be ready for credit-bearing college math courses.
The excuse from the Kentucky Department of Education spokesperson Lisa Gross also rings hollow. Gross said the problems are being addressed with such things as individual learning plans in the high schools. Besides the fact that the jury is still out on whether the individual learning plans will really work, there is a much bigger problem with Gross’ response. You see, Gross put out a news release in April that says the individual learning plans were zero-funded in the latest budget. How does she plan to fix anything with a program that isn’t even going forward?