Reading disconnect

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There is an alarming trend among high school graduates entering Missouri's public colleges and universities. More than one-third of them are having to take remedial course work in English, math and reading, which means they must pay to learn what they should have been taught before they left high school.

But many high school's appear to place a premium on higher graduation rates than on making sure those graduates comprehend basic skills needed both for advanced educations and the real-life world of work.

Sadly, many high school graduates can't read well enough to fill out basic forms required for getting jobs, entering college or even enlisting in the military. Without reading skills, most other areas suffer as well.

A few years ago some high schools started giving graduating seniors a guarantee with their diplomas. The guarantee was that those new graduates had achieved a level of proficiency in reading, writing and math to meet the expectations of future employers. The guarantee also promised to provide remedial help, at no cost, if needed.

How unfortunate -- and unbelievable -- it is that the American education system can routinely turn out high school graduates who can't read. Reading is the foundation of all education. Students who cannot read cannot perform well in other classes. Or in life.

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