ERIC Number: EJ935377
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun-6
In Maine, Postsecondary Success Starts before College
LePage, Paul R.
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jun 2011
A 2008 report from the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Culture Affairs of the Maine Legislature indicates a quarter of those who enrolled at a public university in Maine required a remedial course to catch them up to the level where they should have been when they completed high school. Regardless of how hard Maine has tried and how much money Maine has spent, its public schools simply haven't managed to equip many of its students with the skills they need to succeed in college. The result? Studies show, by 2018, nearly 60% of jobs in Maine will require at least some amount of college education. If Maine can't get more of its students to complete high school and earn degrees, it won't have the workforce required to meet the needs of a 21st-century technology- and knowledge-driven economy. If Maine doesn't have the educated workforce it needs, hopes of creating high-quality jobs in Maine and enticing them to come will be greatly diminished. For many of Maine's residents, that means the higher wages and healthier lifestyles that come with higher-skill jobs will be out of reach. There's no simple solution to this dilemma, but much of it depends on reforming the public education system so Maine can be sure the students it is graduating are ready not only to enter college, but to succeed in college. Part of the problem is that, as it's designed, the public education system favors essentially one learning style--one that involves sitting in a classroom and absorbing information from lectures and books. That's a format that doesn't work well for the majority of students. What is needed in Maine is an education system that holds students to rigorous standards, encourages students to take charge of their own learning and has flexibility and relevance at its core. In other words, the education system needs to offer all students--especially those at-risk of falling behind--more opportunities to be successful in school. Just as public schools and teachers are expected to meet the needs and learning styles of all students, colleges and universities have the same obligation. The author urges those in charge of both K-12 and postsecondary systems of education to get to work on improving. The success of one system depends on the other. And the success of the most important asset--the students--depends on them both.
Descriptors: Cognitive Style, Public Schools, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Change, Remedial Instruction, Public Education, Teaching Methods, Enrollment, College Attendance, Education Work Relationship, Labor Needs, Academic Standards, State Standards, Academic Achievement, College Readiness
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine