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Hollister
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May 25, 2022

Letter: Steering students toward college

After reading your article “Students in class and behaving” I felt compelled to write you. I am not debating the wisdom of the board or superintendent or principal of the high school and their thoughts, but more the continued efforts of education in the state of California to keep trying to put the square peg into a round hole. There are three main points I want to make about trying to force kids to be A to G qualified in order to graduate from high school. First is a practical objection: There are simply not enough spots in the California State Universities and University of California schools to support 100% of every high school kid graduating A to G qualified. My oldest daughter recently started school at San Diego State University and was fortunate that out of 74,000 applicants she was one of 8,000 accepted. Your article stated 42% of the graduating class (roughly 700) were A to G qualified. Let’s say for sake of argument that figure is about average for most public high schools, and let’s say that the average graduating class is 500; that’s 200 kids on average per public high school.  There are well over 1,000 high schools in California so that’s 200,000 kids. If you were to up that to 60% as suggested you’re talking around 350,000 kids which the state college system simply can’t handle. Second, it never ceases to amaze me why people think that everyone can become A to G qualified. We have no problem acknowledging that athletic talent is not evenly distributed, musical talent, painting talent, mechanical ability, etc., but for some reason we keep insisting that academic talent is evenly distributed. The reality of the situation is that some kids achieve at a higher level than others, and will continue to do so throughout their lives. All kids can improve and as a school we should always strive to take each kid to a higher level than they came to us as. However, no matter how much intervention, money, and whatever type of solution we apply to the problem academic talent is not evenly distributed. There are geniuses, above average, average, below average, and way below average people of every race, color, religion, etc. It’s not a racial issue, it’s a human condition issue. Not every human being on the planet is capable of passing the AP calculus test. But my third reason and the one that I think is most important is the idea that by forcing kids to become A to G qualified the human race is missing out on some amazingly talented people. Why not start giving kids aptitude tests and interest tests at an early age. Why don’t we have teachers start identifying strengths in kids at an early age, and then cultivate that talent, cultivate that passion. In essence make every kid A to G qualified in what they are good at and have a passion for. What statement do most great entrepenuers make, “Follow your passion and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t”. There are a lot of kids who have a tremendous amount of intelligence, talent and passion that we are cheating by forcing them to become A to G qualified. I worry that my own children are being forced to be part of a system that may steer them into careers that pay good money, but may not be what their true talent and passion is. We continue to make kids and many successful adults feel that they are “losers” because they didn’t go to a 4 year college, or that they are not “in the top tier”. Here are just a few of the good paying, important to society, and rewarding careers that don’t require a 4 year college degree. Being an auto mechanic, being a policeman, fireman, paramedic, or other public safety officer. Being a cosmetologist, a medical or dental assistant, a skilled craftsman, a welder, electrician, pipe fitter, a soldier, day care provider, and the list goes on and on. But as educators we continue to keep trying to put that square peg into the round hole. We try shaving the edges, we trying hitting it with a bigger hammer, but maybe we should try what a good pipe fitter would and making an adapter so that the talents of the square peg, can be funneled into the round hole.
Randy Logue, Hollister

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