Surprising survey: students bored

By Laura Van De Pette
September 16, 2005

KRT

The electronic responses of 10,378 teenagers who participated in an online nationwide survey painted a grave picture of how students rate the effectiveness of their schools in preparing them for the future.

A large majority of the high school students surveyed say their class work is not very difficult, and almost two-thirds say they would work harder if courses were more demanding or interesting, according to the survey which was conducted by the National Governors Association.

Politicians were expecting responses that centered on the teenagers complaining about the workload and were stunned to find that fewer than two-thirds believe that their school had done a good job challenging them academically or preparing them for college. According to the New York Times, “About the same number of students said their senior year would be more meaningful if they could take courses related to the jobs they wanted or if some of their courses could be counted toward college credit.”

“High school was a joke. Aside from taking physics class my senior year, I breezed through high school. I never felt challenged and never had to exert much energy or time into my work. I wasted a lot of time senior year that could have been spent preparing me for college. I wish my high school had offered an intro to elementary education class or something to introduce me to the major I was hoping to study in college,” said Megan O’Brien, a junior early childhood education major.

The results of the survey prove that high school students across the nation are willing to do the homework and tests if they feel the class will benefit them in their future. Classes that are of little or no interest to them bore them and subsequently the students do not take anything away from such classes.

“In high school I took an introductory class in psychology and it really helped me to choose a major in college. I had a few challenging classes but I feel I have to work much harder in college. There is a totally different set of expectations in college than there is in high school,” said Cristina D’Amelio, a junior psychology major.

According to the New York Times, “A vast majority of respondents in the survey, 89 percent, said they intended to graduate, fewer than two-thirds of those said they felt their schools did an excellent or good job teaching them how to think critically and analyze problems.”

“Even among the remaining 11 percent, a group of 1,122 that includes teenagers who say they dropped out of high school or are considering dropping out, only about one in nine cited “school work too hard” as a reason for not remaining through graduation. The greatest percentage of those who are leaving, 36 percent, said they were ‘not learning anything,’ while 24 percent said, ‘I hate my school,'” according to the New York Times.

John Meidt, 21 of Las Vegas, Nev., dropped out of a Catholic high school in South Jersey during the middle of his senior year. “Everyday I was wasting eight hours sitting in a desk listening to lectures on subjects that didn’t pertain to my interests. Being a 17-year-old boy in school is hard enough, I need to be engaged and interested to learn. I was simply bored. I dropped out of school not because it was too hard, actually it was just the opposite.” said Meidt.

According to the New York Times, “Marc Tucker, president of the National Council on Education and the Economy, an organization that helps states and school districts create programs that are more tailored to contemporary student needs, said he did not believe that American high schools could adequately prepare students without a fundamental change in how they operated.”

Director of Admissions Charlie Spencer said, “I find the seniors that enter the admissions office are not concerned with challenging themselves during high school. Rather they are more worried about being accepted to a college, passing their classes, adjusting to living on campus and meeting new people.”

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Laura Van De Pette

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