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"Your future begins here" ; Estero High School

This grade determines whether or not I pass my comp class so I was wondering if anybody would critique it for grammer and such maybe give me some clues on how to spice it up anything.. I'm most concerned with grammer though thats what I've done poorly on in the past.. well any way heres my essay, if anyone could help me out I'd greatly appreciate it.

"Your future begins here." This was the saying painted on the wall I passed every day for four enduring years of my life, as I made the walk from the parking lot into Estero High School. I didn't know until recently however, how true and dreadful that statement would become. I spent 12 years of my life going to school every day. Often times I ask myself if the education that I received was even really worthwhile. I mean, 12 years of school, and all I have to show for it is that one powerful piece of paper known as a high school diploma. Is the diploma the only thing I have to show for 12 years of school? The education I received was insufficient to prepare me for the standardized tests given to high school students across the nation. Preparation for higher education is deficient; mandatory information about college is not given to students. For most of the teenagers entering colleges in the U.S. today, they find out the hard way that they didn't get the education they rightfully deserved after 4 years of hard work in high school. High schools in America today are providing students with poor and insufficient educations and as a result, students that try to further their education in college are rendered helpless when they do not have the knowledge and skills required of them.

A recent study, taken in 2001 by researchers at the Council for Aid to Education, says that more than 50% of students entering a 4 year college will not leave with a degree (Associated Press). Wes Habley, the director of ACT's office of educational practices says that this is percentage should have been expected. "It's the lowest it's been and it's been going down by increments," says Habley on the percentage of college students that actually graduate (Associated Press). Although the facts are there, that half of students that enter college don't succeed, there is still little being done to push for reform and improve public high schools throughout the country.

According to John MacBeath educators once saw educational reform as cyclical. Every ten years or so one could expect a public outburst followed by frantic efforts to mend a broken system. However, in the last twenty years or so there seems to have been a perpetual reform. Looking to the past it seems as though the curriculum has become somewhat diluted. Schools used to offer many electives, but now offer much fewer. There are even some electives that are required to graduate in some states, such as a foreign language. Schools have now even watered down the curriculum hoping to keep students, which obviously only compounds the problem of insufficient education in today's public schools. (MacBeath and Mortimore 12). Curriculum now resembles a lawn sprinkler covering a lot of area yet having very little force.

There are numerous factors that influence the curriculum taught within schools, most of which are decided by the school board of the county the school is located. In every state there are requirements on what classes a high school student must take in order to graduate. Throughout most of the nation, the core curriculum, or curriculum required to graduate from high school consists of 4 years of english, 3 years of math, 3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies. Of all the students that receive this core curriculum, only 15 percent score better than an 1100 on their SAT's, while nearly half score below an 800 (Horn et al. 10). Students in the U.S. are no longer adequately educated to pass the standardized tests that determine whether or not they will even be able to go to college.

Low standardized test scores is just one ingredient of the problem that needs to be fixed. For many students the concept of completing high school and moving on to a 4 year college just doesn't sound very appealing. This leads many students to drop out before they even graduate from high school. According to a study in Monitoring the Future: questionnaire responses from the nation's high school seniors roughly 58 percent of high school seniors had no desire to even graduate from a two year college program (Bachman et al. 25). A person with a college degree is said to make a million dollars more throughout their lifetime than a high school graduate will make. However, some youths do not feel it is necessary to go to college; rather they go straight into the work force or choose to do something else with their life. Out of a population of approximately 26 million 18 to 24 year olds, about nine million (roughly one third) decided to attend college.

So what happens to the students that do make it past high school and into a 4 year university? According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, after their first year at a university level, a student that received only the core curriculum that was required of them, maintained an average GPA of 2.53 (Horn et al. 16). The economic level of the high schools that educated students using the basic core curriculum was normally a lot lower than high schools that provided rigorous curriculum. Students that do beat the odds and advance into colleges from these inferior high schools are more than likely going to need scholarships in order to cover the financial expenditures that college brings with it. This presents a problem because almost any scholarship available requires the student to maintain a steady 3.0 GPA. Most students that come from these high schools that only taught a core curriculum find it nearly impossible to maintain a 3.0 GPA. This is in all probability one of the main reasons the percentage of freshmen that will actually graduate from college has now fallen below 50 percent.

So it is now a seemingly never-ending cycle that is getting worse and worse every year. Public high schools throughout the U.S. are becoming more concerned with the number of students enrolled at their school than they are concerned with the curriculum they teach, depriving students that spend 4 years of their life going to school of the education they rightfully deserve. How long will this problem go unnoticed before somebody takes stand? It is clearly getting worse every year. So what is it going to take for the United States government to finally do something productive amongst public schools and require a little more demanding curriculum? It is unmistakable that high schools today have insufficiently prepared students for the real world. So I ask you, how much longer will it take for somebody to finally step up and do something about this seemingly never-ending cycle of depriving students the educations that they technically deserve?

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