Sunday, June 14, 2015

Students group investigates college transitions, uncovers “tripwires”

Prichard Committee Student Voice Team members identify three major categories of obstacles in report
This from the Lane Report:
Members of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team released a report outlining results of their year-long investigation into the challenges facing students as they make college transitions after high school. 
prichardReleased at the Hugh O’brien Youth Leadership Summit, the report “Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary Success” includes research and insights from interviews conducted with over 200 Kentucky students, parents, teachers, business leaders, policymakers, politicians and researchers.  The investigation focuses on the theme of inequity in the postsecondary transition process.  (Click here to read the full report.)

“As students on the cusp of postsecondary transitions ourselves, we are especially interested in learning what it takes to move successfully from high school to college,” said Gentry Fitch, a recent West Jessamine High School graduate and chair of the investigative team. “Our goals are to raise the level of informed discussion among students and adults and to make sure that those who make policy around postsecondary transitions are hearing from students about how related policies directly affect us.”

In their report, the students identify the three major categories of obstacles, or “tripwires,” to make the point that students often stumble over them before realizing that they even exist. They characterized these categories as: “The Birthright Lottery,” “Veiled College Costs,” and “College and Career Unreadiness.”

The student investigators say they aim to promote a more honest conversation about postsecondary transitions among their peers and their families. Andrew Brennen, a recent graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington and current undergraduate at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said that after a year of research, members of the project team are eager to dispel what they call the “meritocracy myth.”

“When it comes to supporting students to make it to and through college, critical resources like college-advising, financial aid and the availability of programs that help students develop the softer, non-academic skills to succeed are either not adequate or not available to many of the students who need them most.” Brennen said. “While Kentucky does do great things to support some of its students, much more needs to be done to support all of us.”

Members of the Student Voice Team will be traveling the state this summer to promote their work to students and the general public.  They are also communicating via social media and are using the hashtag #CollegeTripwires.

The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team was founded in the fall of 2012 to integrate student voice into education policy making. The initiative is an extension of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an independent citizens’ advocacy group that works to improve Kentucky schools.
 Members of the Student Voice Team will be using the hashtag #CollegeTripwires to communicate via social media.

1 comment:

Bringyoursaddlehome said...

I know this is going to sound insensitive but I just don't ever recall anyone or any program during high school working to assist me with transitioning to college life back in the 80's. I am pretty sure that universities and colleges were much less accommodating or worried about recruiting me to their institutions via fancy dorms, start of the art rec centers, free wifi, diverse dinning options, content specific study support systems, freshman retention initiatives, etc. Now post secondary is much more focused on attracting, supporting and retaining students than they ever were. So transitions and support should be easier on that end.

Could it be that we have created conditions at the K-12 level which are simply not aligned with the realities of life after high school? Have we become so focused on the state accountability mandate, the depths of liability and the need to avoid offending anyone that we simply side step elements we don't have time to do or a specific state/vendor program to follow?

Equally, not that long ago many of the "soft skills" or "non academic skills" were learned through parents and engagement in the community and were not the sole responsibility of the school. It seems like we have allowed media sensationalization of the outlandish, absence of responsible use of technology and indifference of some parents to take on the less palatable/inconvenient aspects of raising children to guide student development beyond the classroom. Now we want to continue down the same cowpath of blaming teachers for ______________ (fill in the blank).

Further, I really don't care for the implication that K-12 schools are responsible for teaching "non-academic skills" when many of those where pushed out of the K-12 schools years ago with the depersonalization of instruction and top down standardization of curriculum.

Just call me Mr. Insensative, but welcome to the adult world kiddos.