52 - College and Career Ready?

Episode: 52-college-and-career-ready?


Every parent and educator in America wants to make students “college and career ready.” But does that phrase mean what we think it means? Stay tuned to find out.


Ep 52 show:

Hi, I’m your host, Mark Perna—welcome to the Perna Syndicate! Today I want to examine a common phrase we hear in education: “college and career ready.” It’s a great promise. It inspires confidence. But are we actually living up to what it really means?  


There’s an “and” in “college and career ready,” but no one seems to read it. We read it like college is always the first step on your journey to get to a career. And it’s not.


Unfortunately, many of us in America rate our schools largely based on their college placement rates. You’re a good high school if you send as many of your graduates as possible off to college—regardless of how they are going to perform – how they are going to pay for it – and whether or not it’s the right pathway based on their own unique interests, talents, and abilities. We are doing a disservice to our young people. 


We must acknowledge the value of all viable postsecondary training pathways, rather than exalting one at the expense of all the others. It’s terrible hearing stories of young people whose college experiences have been stressful, expensive, and ultimately unproductive for the life and career they want to enjoy. These students would be much better served if someone had told them that college is just one of many valuable opportunities out there.


 Also, we shouldn’t forget that many will find unconventional ways to get where they want to go, often starting with a non-degree program and eventually completing a four-year degree or beyond. College doesn’t have to be the first step—and that’s okay.


Tomorrow, we’ll talk about what “college and career ready” really means—and how we can help young people achieve it. See you then!

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