Teens Say High School Doesn't Prepare Them For College, Jobs

Kids today aren't especially satisfied with their high schools, especially when it comes to preparing them for the real world. They're more enthusiastic about college — but a lot of them need help getting there.

According to an AP-Viacom poll, just 40% of high school students are very satisfied with their schools, while a fifth are unsatisfied. College students are a lot happier — 6 in 10 say they're "very" or "extremely" satisfied with their institution. But high schools aren't necessarily helping kids reach this point — while 56% say their high school prepare them well for more school, many still had complaints. Writes the AP's Connie Cass, "a majority say their school wasn't good at helping them choose a field of study, aiding them in finding the right college or vocational school or assisting them in coming up with ways to pay for more schooling." And many students felt high school didn't prepare them for the workforce, either: they said their schools failed at "exposing them to the latest technology in their field and helping them get work experience."

On one level, it's not surprising that kids don't love high school. Being a teenager can be frustrating and difficult, and few 14-18-year-olds feel warmly towards authority figures. And college often involves an element of choice — where you attend, what you study, when you go to class — that's largely absent in high school. Still, it's troubling that kids feel their secondary schools aren't preparing them for what comes next. Nearly two-thirds of high school students want to go to a four-year college, but that's expensive — and while reducing college costs is a problem we need to tackle at all levels of American society, high schools could do a better job assisting kids with scholarship and loan applications. They could also help students figure out if a four-year college is right for them — and if not, help them prepare for other options. There's been a lot of talk in the past few years about an overemphasis on college degrees in careers that really don't require them. But in order to change this, high schools are going to have to step up and get their students ready for the job market. They could start by listening to what the kids have to say.

Poll: Students Grade High School Down, College Up [AP, via Yahoo News]

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