This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage.
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page

Perceptions differ on quality of high school grads
In judging the readiness of high school seniors to enter college or begin working, employers and professors differ from teachers, parents, and students, according to a recent report published in Education Week. The report, prepared by the nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, Public Agenda, shows that while parents, students, and teachers have a generally positive view of students' preparation for life after high school, employers and professors take a less encouraging stand.

Several key differences are outlined in the report.

  • Seventy-one percent of students say they definitely plan to go to college, but 52 percent of professors say their students lack the necessary skills for college.

  • Sixty-six percent of the high school teachers surveyed believe that most or all of their students have the skills necessary to succeed at work, while a nearly identical number of employers - 68 percent - say graduates are not ready to succeed.

  • Seventy-six percent of professors and 63 percent of employers say a high school diploma does not guarantee that the recipient has learned what is necessary for college or work, while only 26 percent of teachers, 32 percent of parents, and 22 percent of students have serious doubts about the value of a high school diploma.

(Sources: Education Week's Quality Counts '98, 1/8/98; Academe Today, 1/8/9.

Welfare law forcing many out of college
Thousands of college students nationwide who receive federal welfare benefits are having to leave school in order to meet the work requirements of the new welfare law passed by Congress in 1996, The Washington Post reports. The law requires that welfare recipients work in order to receive benefits. While college courses identified as leading directly to a job count as work, most classes do not meet the law's requirements.

Supporters of the new law say that federal funds are too often wasted on training that does not lead to employment. But critics charge that pushing welfare recipients out of school forces them into low-paying jobs that threaten their ability to support their families and damage their chances of self-sufficiency.

While most institutions do not keep track of the number of students on welfare who leave school to work, the statistics that do exist show dramatic declines in numbers of students on welfare, the Post says. Baltimore City Community College reportedly lost one-third of its 900 welfare students last year; City University of New York saw a drop of students on welfare from 27,000 to 14,000; and the number of students on welfare at Milwaukee Area Technical College fell from 1,600 to 250.

(Source: The Washington Post, 12/29/98.

Teaching loads
Between 1987 and 1992, the percentage of time that full-time professors spent teaching decreased from 57 to 54 percent, but professors' average number of classroom and student contact hours per week increase.

(Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 11/9.

Faculty salaries
Since 1970, the average salary for post-secondary faculty members has declined relative to inflation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average salaries of full professors and assistant professors declined by 8 percent between 1970 and 1995, while the average salary for associate professors fell by 9 percent.

(Source: Higher Education & National Affairs, 12/15/97)

Reprinted, with permission, from CASE Flash Points