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Over-Educated Twits

I've often heard New Hampshire described as an "island of sanity in an ocean of crazy," surrounded by Hosers, Maineiacs, Massholes, and Vermonsters. I've focused a lot of attention on the Massholes, but lately I find myself wondering if the Maineiacs might be giving them a run for their money.

Last week, the Pine Tree State garnered national attention when the Portland school district decided that the middle school nurses could provide birth control to students as young as 11 -- without parental consent or even knowledge. (This brought up the interesting question of just who would be responsible for making sure regular doctors of the girls freshly on the pill are informed of this status -- and who would be liable if the doctors inadvertently cause harm through their ignorance if they are NOT informed.)

Now, we find out that the fine folks in Maine are not done meddling with schools. As it stands now, all graduates are encouraged to apply for college. But that isn't good enough -- they want to make it mandatory. No college application, no diploma.

This is, quite frankly, nuts. While a college education is a good thing (despite the best efforts of many of those running colleges now) generally, it's not for everyone. Not everyone is equipped to survive -- let alone thrive -- in the college environment, and there are plenty of jobs and trades that don't require a college degree.

All this will achieve, I fear, is to put a horrible burden on college admissions offices. Not only will they be deluged with applications (many of which would be utterly insincere), but they would find themselves stuck with the burden of telling people that no, you're just not college material.

I spoke with my friend Candy about this -- I figured she'd be a good resource, as she teaches in adult education. She says that they encourage their students to apply to the local community college, just to "break the ice" and show them how easy it is to apply -- and how readily they can be accepted.

She almost got me to reconsider the whole gist of this piece, but she did agree that to make this a requirement for graduation -- "fill out and send in this application, or you don't get your diploma" -- is going too far.

This whole program is emblematic of the "too much of a good thing" concept," and trespassing dangerously close to "everything not forbidden is required" restraint on freedom of choice.

Keep encouraging students to apply for college, Maine. But don't threaten them into doing it.


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Comments (19)

Oh my goodness. I live in ... (Below threshold)

Oh my goodness. I live in Maine and hadn't heard about this latest "brilliant" idea. I really am embarassed to be living here. I used to be very proud of this state but since liberalism has started taking over, I really am ashamed to call this state my home. Our economy is rubbish, our taxes are outrageous, the governor is trying to take control of everything, social values are going down the toilet... now this harebrained college application garbage...

Suzi cant read but suzi can... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Suzi cant read but suzi can get birth control pill with her mothers or fathers concent i mean its time to get the NEA and the unions out of our schools

I understand the thinking b... (Below threshold)

I understand the thinking behind this. Public education has declined so far and been so "dumbed-down" over the years that graduating seniors cannot answer questions which a student had to know to get out of 8th grade a few decades ago. Colleges - even highly-regarded institutions - now typically offer remedial classes to bring freshmen up to the minimum levels of reading and writing needed to have a chance of success.

Going to college today has become the equivalent of earning a high school diploma thirty years ago.

One reason my own poor, rural county habitually lags in SAT scores is that nearly every senior takes the test - even those who have no plans for college, no desire to go to college, and no skills to succeed in college. It's a social phenomenon, though: you take the SATs.

Now, a reasonable public education system might have seen this trend and discouraged those with absolutely no idea or opportunity of going to college from taking the test, but that would be tantamount to admitting their failure to equip the students with the necessary skills to have that option.

More things the Maine legis... (Below threshold)

More things the Maine legislature can make legally mandatory:

o Brushing your teeth three times a day.

o Opening a savings account.

o Rotating your tires.

o Looking both ways before crossing the street.

I mean, really, who could be against these common-sense things? Any legislator who wouldn't vote to withhold public services to anyone who doesn't do these things is obviously a Republican meanie. Isn't that was public education and other public services are for: to club people over the head with so they do the "right" thing?

Well, it will encourage the... (Below threshold)

Well, it will encourage the colleges to do a short first cut on the applications - look at SAT scores and make that cut fast. But as I remember it, not all college applications are free either. And taking the SATs (ACTs for those out west) is not free either. So, the state has added a burden to the finances of the students, which goes against the whole concept of a "FREE" education thru high school.

I'd say instead that it's e... (Below threshold)

I'd say instead that it's emblematic of the trend toward "feel-good" rather than "do-good" legislation.

Think about it. You're required to apply to a college in order to get your high school diploma. OK, which college? Does it have to be a four-year college/university, or will a two-year junior college suffice? Does it have to have a physical location, or will an internet school like Phoenix University suffice? What about diploma mills? How long will it be before there are phony "colleges" set up solely to present the appearance of having complied with this requirement?

It only says you have to apply, not that you have to be accepted. So, what qualifies as "applying?" Fill out the form completely? Just your essential information (name, address, etc.)? How long do you think it will be before there are websites where you can go, enter your name and address and perhaps college name of choice, and get back a perfectly filled out application which you can print and turn in to fulfill this requirement?

Typical liberal lunacy: just another bit of feel-good legislation that will accomplish absolutely nothing.

and of course, no high scho... (Below threshold)

and of course, no high school diploma, no getting into the military....

I hope the State of Maine (... (Below threshold)

I hope the State of Maine (the taxpayers) plan on footing the bill for the costs of the application fees, etc. I feel bad for admissions officers who have to review applications from kids who are just going through the motions.

So who is going to pay for ... (Below threshold)
Piso Mojado:

So who is going to pay for all these application fees for these nit wits who do not wish to go to college?

"and of course, no high ... (Below threshold)

"and of course, no high school diploma, no getting into the military...."

BINGO Steve! Being an old, paranoid G.I., that was the first thing I thought when I read it. Someone in the state hopes that a H.S. student thinking about joining the military would have to apply to college before he/she can get a diploma.

Since evidence of graduation is key to joining the military, maybe this was the way to keep Maine's young adults "safe" from the clutches of the military.

Socratease, please, for god... (Below threshold)

Socratease, please, for godsake please stop giving them more ideas.

No, no, Socratease. Look n... (Below threshold)

No, no, Socratease. Look neither to left nor to right. Obey the lights, and only those. Keep in step and keep up, too. Now.

How about requiring them to... (Below threshold)
Half Canadian:

How about requiring them to get a job for X months in order to get a diploma?
And yes, McDonalds counts.

Perhaps before these dimwit... (Below threshold)

Perhaps before these dimwits come up with more ideas they should be required o take a course in Constitutional law.

steve strum:an... (Below threshold)

steve strum:

and of course, no high school diploma, no getting into the military....

Sorry, a GED will suffice, and even that can be waived if an applicant as a high enough ASVAB score.

That's not to say these mental midgets aren't thinking along the lines you suggest, just that the reality is they are clueless to what the end result will be.

And BTW, I wonder why it has to be an application to a college? Why are 2 year technical schools not part of this purposed program?

Unlike, say, Massachusetts ... (Below threshold)

Unlike, say, Massachusetts (home of Harvard and M.I.T.) or California (home of Caltech, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, etc.), Maine sends two Republicans to the U.S. Senate. Thus, demanding that its population achieve a higher education couldn't hurt.

Your mention of your friend... (Below threshold)

Your mention of your friend Candy reminds me of somethin' mah momma always yewsta say to me:

"Laff is lak a boxa chok-lits. Yew never know jis what yer gonna git..."

Herman is over educated eno... (Below threshold)

Herman is over educated enough to think he is making a point.

I'm getting FAR too much ai... (Below threshold)

I'm getting FAR too much airtime on this network - first the bear, a few other mentions, then the chicken and rabbit video and now this....

ANYHOW - I should tell you all that SAT's became mandatory in Maine for all juniors about two years ago. Students are allowed to take the SAT's for free. Right or wrong, at least the poor kids are able to take the test without scraping up the cash.

Maine has an odd college system. The community colleges intertwine nicely with the high schools and adult eds, and everyone intertwines nicely with the UMaine system. Everything is statewide, and it's very easy to transfer credits.

Because the State and Feds assist both the high schools and the state colleges, my understanding is that the cost of the applications will be waived. These are online apps and they take just a few minutes to complete. We've been assisting students in our adult ed program with them for years.

It's very preliminary, so if a student chooses not to pursue college, no harm done. The application can sit in the system.

Maine is trying HARD to educate our youth, hoping they'll stay after graduation. I still disagree with a mandatory college application, but as I say, we are talking ten minutes tops - not essays and FAFSAs and all the nonsense.

Sue Gendron, the Commissioner of Education, has a big job ahead of her - she is in charge of helping the schools statewide to merge and create MANY fewer districts, saving a ton of cash in administrative costs. I don't envy her. I was at a breakfast meeting last Friday where she spoke to a large group of adult educators explaining the process to us.

If they can get rid of 2/3 of the stuffed shirts and use that money to encourage more kids to attend even one college class??? I've seen that process work wonders in the life of a kid fresh out of jail or a young mom with no hope for the future.






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