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Colleges Failing to Prepare Students for Career, Citizenship


Many colleges and universities are failing to prepare students for careers and citizenship by not paying heed to teach critically important subjects.

According to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) report “What Will They Learn? 2019-2020,” many post-secondary institutions don’t require all students to take courses in seven priority subject areas.

The subjects are composition, literature, (intermediate-level) foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural science.

To get a job in the competitive marketplace, ACTA believes that courses in traditional arts and science disciplines have a potential to develop high demand skills like intercultural fluency, oral and written communication skills and critical analysis.

Out of 1,123 four-year institutions whose core academic requirements were accessed by ACTA, only 22 institutions earned an “A” for requiring six or seven of the core subjects. These schools include Baylor University, Bluefield College, Christopher Newport University and others.

Some 339 colleges ranked “B” for offering some of the subjects, and another 335 institutions ranked “C,” while 137 schools failed with F grade.

“Amidst all the fanfare about the release of the latest college rankings this week, there is not a peep about ill-informed citizens, often underprepared for the workforce, who are graduating from our colleges and universities with mountains of student debt,” ACTA President said Michael Poliakoff said.

“By focusing on resource inputs, admissions selectivity, and institutional reputation, the major rankings systems drive costs up but show little interest in what students learn—or don’t learn.”

Overall, 97 percent of colleges do not require a course in economics, 88 percent do not require intermediate-level foreign language courses, 82 percent of school have kept taking a foundational course in U.S. government or history optional which is failing to prepare students for informed citizenship.

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