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Literate and College Bound – Choose Wisely

There is a lot of good information on the Internet about future, good paying jobs. For example, “The Best Paying Jobs of the Future: Knowing which jobs will be in high demand and pay the most is a good place to start.”

The jobs listed were: Biomedical Engineers, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Physical Therapists, Dental Hygienists, Audiologists, Medical Scientists (Except Epidemiologists), Veterinarians, Occupational Therapists, and Optometrists.

Of course, this means the young person must be a lifelong learner and literate and that means about twenty-four percent of adult Americans may be locked out of these jobs, because they were poor students, for whatever reason (usually due to environment, lifestyle and parents–not teachers), and are doomed to face a higher risk of unemployment and/or low pay.

Whose fault was that?

A. teachers that are responsible to teach

B. students are responsible to learn by doing the class
and homework and reading daily seven days a week

C. Parents are responsible to make sure his or her student reads daily at home,
studies and does the homework.

For example, when I was still teaching (1975 – 2005), I assigned a half hour of reading (or longer) a night, because if young people do not read outside of school, the odds of achieving an adequate level of literacy are small. For that daily half hour, my students could read anything they wanted: books, magazines, newspapers, but the students had to keep a log and summarize how much time they read and what it was about.  About five percent of my students bothered to do this.

Some never brought the textbook, paper or a pencil and/or pen to class—these students often felt that just showing up and warming a seat was enough to earn a passing grade so he or she could graduate. I don’t know how they thought the teachers were going to get those skills and knowledge in their brains—maybe with a toilet plunger placed over the nose, eyes and mouth?

However, an old friend of mine believes college is a waste of time and feels that if an adult cannot read, it was a teacher’s fault. I do not agree. Instead, I believe it is all about the choices young people make such as avoiding reading and studying while in school as a child and teen. No matter how great a teacher is, he or she cannot force students to learn.

The equation is simple: teachers teach + students learn + parents support both = education and literacy.

This is a bit off topic, but I attended a meeting once where we learned that sixty-percent of college freshman (all high school graduates) did not read and write at the level needed to start college and had to take remedial English/writing classes (this university had five levels of what is known as bone-head English) before being allowed to take real college classes. This may explain why half of students that start college drop out before earning a degree.  It gets frustrating when you cannot understand what you are reading and professors keep writing FAIL grades on essays/papers.

Over the last few years, this old friend and I have argued about this topic often via e-mail. For proof that I am right about making choices, I refer you to these two articles from Kiplinger (click on the links for details).

WORST College Majors for Your Career: Anthropology, Fine Arts, Film and Photography, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Graphic Design, Studio Arts, Liberal Arts, Drama and Theater Arts, Sociology, and English (my BA was in journalism but I ended up teaching English and reading for thirty years).

BEST College Majors for Your Career: Medical Assisting Services, Managing Information Systems, Construction Services, Medical Technologies, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Treatment Therapy Professions, Transportation Sciences and Technology, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Pharmacology.


Why doesn’t anyone ever tell us how many people fail when chasing frivolous dead-end dreams?

In conclusion, if you learned how to be a life-long learner and you are literate because you did the reading and work your teachers assigned K – 12, then you may be in college or a college graduate with a BA in one of those WORST college majors. If so, you may remember that your parents, friends and some teachers/school counselors encouraged you to follow your dreams and do what you wanted to do—this usually means having fun and chasing after a dream. When chasing dreams, a few succeed but many do not.

If your dreams did not materialize, are you still having fun? I want to know.

Discover The results of parenting gone wrong

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Eager to Learn or Not – Part 7/10

It is a fact that my “old” friend the neoconservative, libertarian, born-again Christian (NLBC) and the authors of the No Child Left Behind ACT (NCLB) along with tens of millions of other Americans, would reject with ignorant laughter the opinion and argument that I am offering.

My old NLBC friend will claim that I have been brainwashed by the liberal media and am singing the same old arguments, which are based on my personal experience, reliable sources and facts.

However To “old” NLBC, that does not count.

In fact, instead, people such as NLBC will turn to totally biased and often-misleading conservative talk-radio hosts such Rush Limbaugh and conservative politicians that have judged public school teachers guilty, while ignoring the responsibility of students and parents in the learning process.

In addition, the authors of the NCLB Act from both major political parties had to believe that “all” children are eager to learn without any consideration that there will be students who will not cooperate or do the cass work a teacher assigns.

Eager to Learn or Not – Part 10

leading to the average American child of today spending more than 10 hours of his her daily time either watching TV, listening to music with an iPod bud plugged into ear holes, playing video games, spending time on Social Networking sites such as Facebook, and sending endless and mindless text message from one cell phone to another.

The same lack of parenting has led to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes among today’s children, which also affects the brain’s ability to function and learn.

No matter what the facts are, my “old” NLCB friend, and the elected officials that authored the NCLB Act will continue to believe that the public schools in America have failed. They will believe public education is a fraud and teachers are not teaching because that is what they keep hearing from conservative talk radio and/or conservative Blogs and Forums.  These people will never admit that too many students are like my brother Richard who refused to cooperate with his teachers to learn what the teachers taught.

To my “old’ NLCB friend, school choice and a voucher that pays private schools run by the private sector is the “magic pill” that will fix all of America’s problems and he isn’t alone. Millions agree with him such as the Walton family, the wealthiest and one of the most powerful families in America today.

Continued on July 19, 2011 in Eager to Learn or Not – Part 8 or return to Part 6

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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